HERSHEY, PA – The Elegance is quickly approaching. Soon the Gardens at the Hotel Hershey will host seventy-five spectacular automobiles that embody the theme of this year’s event – Artistry in Motion. None more typify this theme then the great Packards. Twelve of the cars on display on June 14 will be this hallowed marque. They range from a 1909 Model 18 Roadster to a 1954 Packard Caribbean Convertible. Those in between these years represent the epitome of the Golden Age of motor cars – the 1930s. From the tip of the mascots to the tail-pipe diffusers, these automobiles exude class. The beautiful cathedral-shaped radiator flanked by two huge headlights let the unsuspecting know this is a very special marque.
Although chrome is everywhere on these cars it is never overdone. The brightwork compliments the fantastic body lines in every way. Subtle details are apparent after the cars are carefully studied. Color choices accentuate the beautiful lines, whether it be the straight-lined louvered hood or the swooping fenders. All the design elements come together in that great Art Deco styling of the ’30s. Look closely at the belt-line detail on these cars. Typically, this feature is painted in a contrasting color to the overall body. Look even closer. Chances are the belt line is striped with a very thin accent line that is a shade or two lighter than the color of the belt line. The detail is so subtle it may go unnoticed until the car is carefully scrutinized. Details like this abound wherever you look on these cars.
Set among the Duesenbergs, Auburns, Imperials and Talbot Lagos, these Packards look right at home in what could have been a county club setting of eighty-plus years ago. Our poster car for this year’s Elegance at Hershey is the spectacular 1934 Packard Roadster owned by Joe Cassini. Elegant with its top up, it is even more so with its top stowed. This beautiful example epitomizes the grace and grandeur of the Packard era in automotive production.
Known for their quiet elegance and their undeniable quality, this marque typifies American know-how and craftsmanship in the automotive realm. Packard was quite an innovator during its sixty year history. They are credited with the first H-pattern gear shift arrangement in 1900, as well as automatic ignition spark advance. They pioneered the use of a steering wheel instead of a tiller in 1901. Packard developed the first mass-produced V-12 engine in 1915. A Packard race car equipped with a Liberty aircraft engine developed and produced by Packard set a land speed record of 150 mph in 1919. Packard was the first volume producer of autos to provide four-wheel brakes on their products, this in 1923. In 1940, Packard developed and installed auto air conditioning as a factory option.
In addition to their accomplishments on the roads of the world, Packard was an innovator and inventor in aircraft. The Liberty engine mentioned above was designed and built by Packard to power American fighter planes in the First World War. Between the wars, Packard designed and perfected a diesel radial engine that was used in some high-end private aircraft, a sort of Packard of the sky. The Rolls-Royce V-12 Merlin engine was license-built in the United States known as the Packard V-1650 and powered the great P-51 Mustang and many other World War II aircraft.
Packard also had a presence at sea. The company designed and manufactured the supercharged V-12 gasoline engines that powered America’s PT boats during World War II.
Please join us on June 14 to experience this great American marque’s contribution to the legacy of the automobile. For more information and to purchase your tickets online, visit The Elegance Page.