I purchased my 1948 Packard Sedan at the last spring Hershey, in April of 1999. I was torn between the Packard and a Cadillac. My then wife, Fran, nudged me toward the Packard. It had been owned by a physician in Kennett Square and was being sold by his nephew to settle the doctor’s estate. It was being stored in a garage in York where I was able to leave it until fall. Fran and I drove from our home in Bowmansville to York to pick up the Packard. I put a small amount of fuel in the carburetor and it started right up. We were able to drive it back to Bowmansville. I was surprised how well it rode and handled. She cruised home like a dream. I drove her around the neighborhood a while before I started working on her. She was dark blue originally and not in bad condition. I then started taking her apart. I purchased the material for the interior from Bill Hirsch Automotive Products of Newark, New Jersey, where I found the perfect match of color and pattern. I then took the seats and panels to Zimmerman Coach Trimming in New Holland where John Zimmerman installed the upholstery.
I started to strip the paint down to bare metal when my wife became ill. This put everything on hold for a few years. Then my wife, Fran, passed away and I thought about selling the car “as is” because I didn’t have the desire to finish her. Then a year later I met the woman who would become my new wife, Barbara, who persuaded me not to sell but instead to finishing the restoration. So I got back to work preparing the body prior to painting. I had her painted in our shop at Ludwig’s Custom Auto in Denver, Pennsylvania, where Jeff Ludwig did the painting in late summer of 2009. The roof and trunk lid are painted Egyptian Sand and the bottom is Grenadier Maroon (metallic) which are original 1948 colors and color combination. During the winter of 2009-2010, I completed the Packard wire harness. I finished the trunk rebuilding, cleaning and painting and reinstalled it. I was hoping to get her out on the road in spring 2010.
Well, spring 2010 and 2011 came and went and I still didn’t get her out on the road because there was still a lot of work to do. I started to reinstall the interior. I was glad to have the seat and headliner finished at a shop near home so that they available from a long storage to go back where they belonged. After the seat and headliner were reinstalled, it was time for all the fine details such as putting the glass back and touching up some paint under the car. I then worked on the leaking brakes for a month when in January 2012 I solved the leak problem. I had a friend come in to help me fire up the car for the first time in 12 years. I was very unsure at this point but she fired up just great and with a little fine tuning she purred like a kitten.
On February 25, 2012, a Saturday, I worked up the courage to take her on the road around the neighborhood without my wife knowing. She was a little upset when I came in and told her what I had done without her. I explained that I didn’t want to get stuck and have her walk home. An hour later I took her on same ride that I took without her.
The Packard showed many times. She debuted at the Packard Banquet on April 14, 2012, at Weavers Market – the first public showing since she was finished. After that she made her way to the Reading Expo on May 19, 2012 where she earned her First Junior in the AACA. Thereafter, she was shown at New Holland and Das Awkscht Fescht in Macungie where she attracted a lot of interest. We attended the Eastern National Meet at Hershey in fall of 2012 where the Packard received an AACA Senior award. We have been to two National Packard Meets where we placed first in our class: one in Warren, Ohio, and the other in Reading, Pennsylvania in 2015. We participated in the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance in 2015 where we took “Peoples’ Choice” and “Second Place” in the Packard class. We participated in the Henry Joy Tour with 48 other Packards beginning in Altoona, Pennsylvania, September 11-15, 2017.
Most recently, we attended two AACA Grand National shows: the first in 2016 at Williamsport, Pennsylvania and the other in 2018 at Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where we earned First and Senior Awards. At both of these Grand Nationals, our car was the point setter in its class. We looked forward to Das Awkscht Fescht in 2018 to show in the Packard display. Ill health kept us away but we are hoping all goes well so that we can attend Das Awkscht Fescht in 2019. Generosity of Ontelaunee organizers resulted in us receiving a Packard dash plaque. All in all it has been quite a journey with this car and one that we enjoyed!