Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Visit to America's Packard Museum, Dayton, Ohio

For a while now, I've been planning to attend the Trans Am Nationals in Ohio. But "life"—as they say—would always get in the way, so the "There's always next year" answer, was my way of justifying my decision not to attend.

Well, that changed this year and, as a matter of fact, I started planning months ahead to be there (as a spectator), for the 30th Anniversary of the event.

I am glad I did.

The new venue was great, with plenty of parking for what it seemed to be 400-plus Firebirds of all years. And the weather, although rainy for days before the event started, actually turned out okay, albeit VERY hot and muggy, even for this Florida guy.

However, the rainy Thursday morning gave us a good reason to find something else to do. Ideally indoors. And so, after a quick web search, we decided to take the short drive to the Packard Museum in Dayton.

The museum is housed in—what used to be—the original Dayton Packard dealership. The building was built in 1917, which is the perfect setting for the cars and memorabilia displayed. You can tell that Packard was all about class and quality, not only by looking at the cars, but also by the way they decorated their showrooms. By the way, the old Packard dealership in Dayton, still has the original flooring, wall panels, light fixtures, and decor, as it did back in the day.

As a side note, the museum curator mentioned that the average price of a home in the early 1900s was around three thousand dollars, while the cost of a new Packard was twice that amount.

Quality has never been cheap.


Needless to say, photos cannot do justice to the cars, and the only way to properly admire these beauties, is to visit the museum.

Check their website for more information and hours of operation.

If—like me—you happen to be a gearhead, you owe it to yourself to check this place out.

There are so many cars, plus other stuff on display, that you will need several hours to experience it all. They even have a Merlin engine, built by Packard as part of the World War II effort, along with at least one PT boat engine and a jet turbine, that clearly show the level of detail and craftsmanship Packard engineers and workers were capable of.

In addition to all the early Packards, they also have many fine examples of cars they built until the company folded in the late 1950s, after a poorly-executed merger with Studebaker.

For more information about the Packard Automobile Company, visit Wikipedia.