PACKARDS AT WARBIRDS OVER WANAKA

New Zealand Classic Car - - CONTENTS - Words and pho­tos: Quin­ton Tay­lor

It wasn’t just all about the V12 en­gines roar­ing over­head at the 30th An­nual Warbirds Over Wanaka cel­e­bra­tion at Easter this year — also en­ter­tain­ing the record crowds were some 50 Amer­i­can Packards on dis­play, mark­ing the com­ple­tion of the South Pa­cific Packard Club Desti­na­tion Warbirds 2018 tour.

The club’s scenic tour started in Blen­heim and trav­elled down the West Coast, fin­ish­ing in Wanaka.

Packard was the com­pany of choice dur­ing World War II when Rolls-royce sought a se­cure pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity, out of the range of Ger­man bomb­ing, to sup­ple­ment the sup­ply of their V12 Mer­lin air­craft en­gines.

The Packard com­pany’s ex­pe­ri­ence with mul­ti­ple cylin­der V-en­gines was leg­endary, as was the qual­ity of en­gi­neer­ing for which it was renowned. De­spite the De­pres­sion years, Packard man­aged to sur­vive into the 1950s.

A high­light of the Packard dis­play was avi­a­tor Amelia Earhart’s 1935 Packard Su­per 8 Coupe, which took pride of place at the start of the line-up. The car, now owned by Ross Mar­shall, was re­cently re­stored to a very high stan­dard in Aus­tralia fol­low­ing a lengthy-but-un­fin­ished 50-year pe­riod of restora­tion in the US where Ross ac­quired it.

In­ter­est­ingly, one of the cars tak­ing part in the tour was a 1937 Cord Bev­er­ley 812, a car rarely seen in New Zea­land. Another un­usual car — again the prod­uct of British and US co­op­er­a­tion — was a 1934 Hud­son straight- eight-pow­ered Rail­ton.

Amelia Earhart’s re­cently re­stored 1935 Packard Su­per 8

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