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Boss of the Road, Beauty of the Boulevard



Published: Sun, July 20, 2008 @ 12:01 a.m.
  Boss of the Road, Beauty of the Boulevard

19th Annual National Packard Museum car show

19th Annual National Packard Museum car show

WARREN – Among the celebration of Packard automobiles at the 19th Annual National Packard Museum car show on Saturday was the arrival of twins.

Twin Packard Caribbeans, that is.

The 1956 hardtop and convertible were bequeathed to the National Packard Museum last week by Stephen Williams of Napa Valley, California.

Mike Yost, president of the National Packard Museum’s board of directors, said they learned about the donation of the vehicles last fall.

“He was a lover of Packards and felt that he wanted them to be preserved as part of his legacy,” Yost said of Williams.

The hardtop is rare because it was the only year that the Packard Caribbean was available with the hardtop instead of the convertible roof. Both cars are painted in a three-tone paint scheme: Dover white, Naples orange and Corsican black.

Yost said Williams drove the cars frequently, and the museum plans to leave them “as is” for now, without further restoration. He said they will be included in shows, parades and exhibits.

“The museum’s collection consists of owned vehicles, and those on permanent and short-term loans,” Yost said.

Saturday was the all-Packard show, with 60 cars registered. The vehicles sat on Packard Music Hall’s south lawn, with music provided by the Stephen Foster Chorus and the Big Band Sound of Packard. There was also a review and promenade, in which drivers drove their entries past a crowd, as an announcer told the car’s history.

Museum Executive Director Mary Ann Porinchak said the theme of this year’s show (which includes a week of events) is “Boss of the Road, Beauty of the Boulevard.”

“The city of Warren is the birthplace of the Packard automobile. We’re very well-known for Packard Electric, which was the Packard brothers’ first business. It started in 1890. But in 1899, they developed the Packard automobile. From 1899 to1905, Packards were built here in Warren,” she said. “Plus, the fact the Packard brothers lived here; their parents lived here. This is kind of a Packard town.”

She described show attendees as “like a family,” saying the event brings the collectors together every year.

“We expect great things from this weekend. We expect the community as a whole to have a wonderful time. Our volunteers are here; they’re having a great time. This is the single largest fund-raiser for this museum, it raises about one-fifth of our annual operating revenue. It’s really a fun time for Packard collectors to come back and meet up with each other. Once a year these collectors meet in Warren, Ohio, and have a great time.”

One returning collector was Dennis Heitzenruter, from Punxsutawney, Pa., who trailered-in a replica of a 1957 prototype chassis.

Heitzenruter said he brought another Packard he owned to the 1999 National Packard Museum car show, which is when he first started to find out about the 1957 prototype. He said the car is being built from scratch from photographs other collectors shared with him.

“I liked the design from the photos, but they never built it,” he said.

So far, Heitzenruter has put three years into building the car-that-never-was. He said other Packard collectors at this year’s show told him they had better photographs for him to use to build the car. He’ll be in touch with them after the show to gather more information about the 1957 prototype, he said.

Also at the show was Guy Shively of Austintown. The automotive artist pinstriped a 1933 Packard for a customer in Boston. He said the car is being restored in Perryopolis, and the owner asked whether he’d be available to pinstripe the car at the show. Shivley obliged, and he pinstriped the car in the shade of trees as owners and other show attendees watched him work.

The winner of the 19th annual Packard car show was Bob Erasquin’s 1920 Packard Phaeton, which also won the best in the Terry Martin Brass Era class.

Other winners include:

• Best 1951-55: Don Hanlon, 1954 Caribbean; Honorable mention: Randy Berger, 1956 400.

• Best 1946-50: Mark Terashawty, 1950 Convertible

• Best Jr.: Charles Duffield, 1937 180; Honorable mention: Ed Stifer, 1940 Sedan.

• Best 30-42: Nick and Mert Crea, 1931 Roadster; Honorable mention: Frank Beard, 1934 Convertible Sedan.

• Best 20-29: Bill Sheets, 1929 Dual Cowl Phaeton.

• Best Professional [Service Vehicle]: Bruce Taylor, 1954 Ambulance.

• Ted Hirt Memorial Award: Tom Wilcox, 1934 Roadster Coupe.

The award given to the driver who traveled the longest distance in their show car was Wilcox, who resides in both Austin, Texas, and Minnesota.

An expansion groundbreaking will be held today at 10 a.m., while an all-makes car and motorcycle cruise-in will be held on the south lawn again, starting at 11 a.m. Awards will be presented at 3:30 p.m. The W.D. Packard Concert Band will perform at 7 p.m. The show and band concert are free and open to the public.


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