CAM Car Show

Trimble's Long to display prized Packard
at 9th annual River Run car show

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

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.

Howard Long-Packard

Photo by Ruth Wright

Howard 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.
Long’s 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.
“It’s 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.

Howard Long

Howard Long

"It’s 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 didn’t have a lot of dents and wasn’t 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 car’s electrical system. Finishing touches included shiny new burgundy paint and refinished chrome.
Harry Hawkins of Transmission Warehouse did the work on the transmission for Long.
“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, he said.
Because of its value, Long’s Packard won’t 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 “Mayor’s Choice.”
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 year’s best of show, a ‘32 white Ford coupe, as well as CAM club members Kevin Hudson’s 1971 blue Ford Torino and Terry Consley’s 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.

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