Howard Schaevitz decided it was best to keep his prized possession, a beautiful sleek 1912 Packard Model 18 Landaulet, housed in its trailer in the Packard Music Hall parking lot, visible only to those who happened to wander by during Saturday’s nonstop rainfall.
“I only brought it out long enough for the judges to look at it,” said Schaevitz, a New Jersey resident, as he wiped the raindrops from his shiny black classic. “I think it’s the oldest one here.”
Perhaps the car’s most notable feature is the hand crank on the front for starting the engine. “This was the last year for the hand crank before Packard made the electric start in 1913,” Schaevitz said.
The Landaulet was one of 48 competing for awards in this week’s Packard Automobile Club 49th Annual National Meet. It marked the first time the national gathering has taken place in Warren, the company’s birthplace, since 1999.
Packards from the dawn of the 20th century to 1958, the year of the company’s demise, formed a colorful, parking-lot mosaic glistening with raindrops of early boxy sedans, limousines, convertibles, town cars and even a hearse, as their owners awaited judging.
Mike Rigsby, the chief judge, said vehicles competed in 14 different categories. “We look at the engine, chassis, interior and exterior,” said Rigsby who is from Houston, Texas. “Restored cars can qualify for best of show awards, but they must be using Packard parts.”
Read more about the event in Sunday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.