1987 Chicago Meet ~ James Nance
Award Winner ~ 1934 Model 1102 Limousine
After attending several car shows with my 1937 Chevrolet, I fell in love!!! That love was directed toward classic autos of the 1930's, specifically Packards. I began a search for such a car and as fate would have it I found the car in my proverbial "back yard", Muskego, Wisconsin. The car was a 1934 Packard Eight Limousine. The previous owners had begun a partial amateur restoration which I continued for the next year. During this time my wife and I attended the 1980 National Packard Meet in Kansas. It was at this meet we had the opportunity to view Ted Bunnell's 1934 1108 Sedan. In our opinion, the car was just outstanding. Apparently, the judges shared our opinion for the car was awarded the James Nance Award. On our return trip to Wisconsin our conversations would seem to revert to recollections of details of this beautiful car. By the time we reached Milwaukee I was contemplating a body-off restoration of my car. During the ensuing months my friends, Gil and Bruce Girdauskas, convinced me on the total restoration. So, on a nice fall day in October, 1980, I drove the Packard to Vintage Vehicles Company, the restoration facility owned by the Girdauskas' in Wautoma, Wisconsin. For the next two and one-half years many, many weekends were spent in Wautoma.
As the restoration began it became evident that there were to be many trials and tribulations to be endured. One of these instances pertained to the brite work of the car. The previous owners had completed the reconditioning of the chrome in many areas. Herein lies the problem, the work performed was unacceptable for a car being prepared for major competition. Specifically, both headlite shells along with the radiator shell were warped beyond repair. Many months were spent advertising and searching swap meets for these parts along with the handheld dictograph which was used to communicate with the chauffeur.
There were also lighter moments
encountered during the restoration, one of which occurred while
researching an aspect of the automatic shock absorber system. As
research uncovered the system was introduced in 1931 on the Ninth
Series automobiles and came under immediate scrutiny of the customer
for inscription on the activator knob. To activate the system the
knob read "IN-HARD", "OUT-SOFT". Shortly after production had
begun the company hastily changed the inscription on the knob to read
"Ride Control", thereby eliminating any reference to the mechanical
function of the system. Could it be the customers read more into
the original inscription that what was intended?
The motto used throughout the restoration of the car was "authenticity and detail". To adhere to the motto numerous contacts were made with Packard part vendors, Packard experts, and owners of 1934 Packards. In every contact the person was extremely helpful and contributed significantly to the success the car has achieved. Since the car was completed in Spring of 1983 it has won the following honors in National competition:
I felt very fortunate and honored to be considered for the Nance Award; but to have won the award in light of all the other beautiful cars is UNBELIEVABLE!!!
Vintage Vehicles Inc.
N-1940 20th Drive
Wautoma, Wisconsin 54982
Weekdays: 9 AM to 4 PM