PACKARDS AT WARBIRDS OVER WANAKA
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