MADISON, Ind. (May 2004) Former Trimble County Sheriff Howard
Long likes old things. I live in the oldest house in Trimble
County, said Long, 73, whose penchant for antiques runs the
gamut from houses to cars.
Recently, Long ventured out in his newest old thing a
restored 1935 Packard sedan. Parked alongside the river in Madison,
Ind., on a sunny Friday morning in April, the rare vintage American
automobile drew lots of stares and questions from passersby.
by Ruth Wright
Long has spent lots of money
and time restoring this Packard.
"What kind of car is that? and What year is it?
several asked, some snapping pictures.
Long happily obliged with information about the car, which under an
antique body now sports a new 502 Cadillac engine and a 400 turbo
transmission. Long will be even busier answering questions about his
prized possession on Saturday, May 29, when he brings the car to the
Choice Automobiles of Madison (CAM) River Run IX car show. The one-day
event will be held along Vaughn Drive and around the Lanier Mansion
on the streets of downtown Madison.
Longs Packard has many modern features, such as air conditioning,
power steering and a stereo system complete a package that, while
standard on cars today, was unheard of when the Packard rolled off
the assembly line nearly 70 years ago.
Its been restored now to drive anywhere you want to drive
it, said Long. He added that the car cruises comfortably on
the highway at 65 mph.
Long purchased the Packard in less than mint condition from Jim Whicker
of Bedford, Ky. Long has owned the vehicle for about five years but
just recently had the pleasure of taking it for a spin.
"Its been four years and two months in the making,
said Long, who soon after buying the vehicle put it in the hands of
autobody restoration expert Tommy Day of Hanover, Ind.
I started out with two frame rails and a body shell, said
Day, a retired autobody teacher who now operates a collision repair
shop from his home. Although the Packard didnt have a lot of
dents and wasnt badly rusted, it still required a great deal
of TLC. It was a huge job because every body part had to be
modified or repaired, he said.
Day also replaced a few parts, including a cloth top, which is now
metal with a sunroof. He was assisted by Harry Husby in wiring the
cars electrical system. Finishing touches included shiny new
burgundy paint and refinished chrome.
Harry Hawkins of Transmission Warehouse did the work on the transmission
Back in the days, it was a luxury car, said Long, adding
that the car cost $4,000 in 1935 when it was manufactured in Detroit
by the Packard Motor Car Co. (1899-1958). It is now worth $105,000,
Because of its value, Longs Packard wont be an everyday
driver; instead it will be reserved for sunny days, parades and car
shows, he said.
Those who want a closer look at the Packard can see it at the CAM
car show, along with hundreds of other vehicles parked along the riverfront.
Last year more than 400 entries were judged in 14 categories and more
than 150 awards were presented. This year, even more awards will be
presented in 15 categories, including the newly introduced Top
5 Sport Compact, class. Madison Mayor Al Huntington will be
on hand at 5 p.m. to present the awards, including the Mayors
Prior to the car show on Friday night, May 28, will be a poker run
cruise and variety show beginning at 6 p.m. at the Crystal Beach Pool
House on Vaughn Drive. Cost of the event is $5 and includes a picture
of your vehicle on the poker run.
Once again a River Run T-shirt will be sold at the show. Madison artist
Larry Rudolech has created the design, which features last years
best of show, a 32 white Ford coupe, as well as CAM club members
Kevin Hudsons 1971 blue Ford Torino and Terry Consleys
1968 red Ford Mustang. T-shirts will be available for $15 on the day
of the show. Mugs featuring the design also will be available.
Registration for River Run IX is $15 and will be from 8 a.m. to noon
(EST-slow time). All entries must be driven to the show. Food will
be available at the show provided by Southwestern and Madison high
school band boosters and Grace Baptist Church.
For more information visit www.camclub.itgo.com
or call (812) 265-3640, ext. 4004, or 1-800-559-2956.