Seminar on 1903 Packard road trip

Staff report


The National Packard Museum’s Coffee & Donut seminar series will return Sept. 15 at noon with “The Legend of Old Pacific: America’s Pioneer Road Trip.”

Admission is free with a paid admission to the museum.

The seminar will discuss a bold publicity stunt that the Warren-based automaker pulled off.

In the summer of 1903, the Packard Motor Car Co. embarked on a cross-country trip, which was no mean feat in those days.

With plant foreman and test driver Tom Fetch behind the wheel and The Automobile magazine editor Marius Krarup riding shotgun, a single-cylinder Model F Packard nicknamed “Old Pacific” departed San Francisco for New York City on June 20.

With no maps and few roads east of the Mississippi, Old Pacific conquered mountains, desert and swamps in an epic 63-day journey across America.

The seminar will include photos from the road trip and stories about the adventures Fetch and Kraus encountered along the way, including a murder in Carson City, Nev.

Old Pacific’s triumph was a publicity coup, demonstrating Packard’s durability and reliability, and establishing a reputation for automotive quality that would endure for 50 more years.

The National Packard Museum is open from noon to 5 p.m. (1-5 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday).

Admission is $8 ($5 for seniors and children age 7-12). Cameras and flash photography are welcome. For group rates or information, go to or call 330-394-1899.

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