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Hilton Head - Classic Packard Rolls into Pond


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What a shame.  That appears to have been a world class car.

 

It's just a guess on my part, but it appears that the car rolled into a water hazard from a golf course fairway; however, that's really not the magnitude of the potential problem here.  Hilton Head is a barrier island, and most, it not all, surface bodies of water on such an island are either salt or brackish water.  Once a car is immersed in salt or brackish water, the conservation efforts become both time consuming and very expensive and generally require work the equivalent of a full body-off restoration.  Unless a car that has suffered salt water immersion is stripped down to its basic components, problems, be they cosmetic or electrical, continue to crop up over the passage of time.  A fresh water immersion is not quite as bad, but still requires extensive repair efforts.

 

I hope the owner of the car had some good insurance coverage and will have the dedication to have the car repaired properly.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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That's a 1938 Packard Super Eight convertible sedan with special custom built hardtop.  Car was at Hershey.   I never understood Concours shows where they park the cars around a body of water and the land around the water slopes down towards it.   Pretty dumb set up on the part of the show organizers if you ask me.       

Edited by K8096 (see edit history)
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The car was at Pebble this year, its first time out. Thus it was just out of the restoration shop, a one off one hundred point car. The owner of the car is one of the best known collectors of Packards in the world. A very nice guy and very active in the hobby along with his entire family. Fortunately no one was hurt. The car will require another total restoration. I have seen another Packard that suffered a similar fate about ten years ago. That  car had much more damage than one would expect, and my guess is this car will be the same. Water pushing against the body as it slides in deforms the panels and can distort the entire body tub from front to rear. Add in the engine and all the accessories, transmission, the entire chassis filled with mud, dash, etc..."....it's a total restoration to fix. The chrome will probably be ok if the car is disassembled right away, but all the dirt and mud turn to rock and sticks to everything as soon as it dries out. I am sure the owner will have it re restored and back on the show field in short order.

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That's just heartbreaking. I can't imagine the sense of helplessness and rage at watching the car slide away out of your control. I admired the car and enjoyed speaking to the owners at Hershey. I hope they're able to get it back into shape quickly, although, as Ed says, it will need a complete restoration. Water inside a car is incredibly destructive.

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Craig, you beat me to it with your observation about the use of wheel chocks.  The parking ("emergency") brakes on most vintage cars that I've encountered are of dubious effectiveness at best, and a set of wheel chocks could save the day.  I'm from the flatlands of Florida, but I'll bet that most of out members (AACA) from the "Hills" already recognize the value of wheel chocks.

 

Chock 'em,

Grog

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That is very sad, Packards are one of the best cars ever made. But I do have a question, if you have a new car and some thing like that happens. You will have a branded\salvage title. I find it strange that if a new car gets banged up it is a salvage vehicle. To me all old cars are rebuilt\reconstructed\salvage. How come you just can't restore your Honda that was in a flood. Is there a cut off in the law, where they say this car is old enough that any thing done to it is a restoration?

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It all has to do with the insurance company declaring the vehicle a total loss. If your Honda is flooded and you decide to fix it, on your own, you're fine. Once the insurance company gets involved, all bets are off. The Packard won't be totaled, since it's repair cost won't exceed it's value. The owner and the repair shop will see to that.

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Agree about chocks. People today are just used to "Park" & a drum brake is least efficient when turning backwards.

 

ps in a pinch a jack handle through a wheel spoke works well also.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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what's the big deal...it was only an 8 cyl.  Packard - wasn't a Packard V-12....

 

Seriously, guys,   I agree it is unfair to judge this particular situation - I personally don't dare buy pencils unless they have erasers (if you "get my drift"...!).

 

Fact remains that this sad incident MAY fit into my personal prejudice of how the old car "hobby" has changed down thru the years.  Of COURSE those of us who love, drive, fix, and exhibit our cars on a personal basis love em enough to be sure they are left IN GEAR with the hand-brake on.  Sure, at some of these prestigious car shows,  the grounds are uneven - my own circle of friends...well...EVERY one of us carries wheel "chocks" for just that reason.

 

Again, I have no idea if my personal prejudice about these "costume-jewelery" restorations is correct IN THIS PARTICULAR sad situation.   Humor me by letting me tell a story.

 

My favorite story about how things have changed....at a VERY prestigious car show I once attended, I was exhibiting my own Rolls Royce Phantom 1.  It was pretty nice, but parked alongside it was another P-1 that put mine to shame.  The judges came around, looking for the owner to ask him to start it.  They found him eventually, at the bar, where he was telling the other exhibitors of costume jewelry about HIS Rolls Royce.  When asked to start it, he looked around, asking where his "helpers" were.  Asked to start it himself...?  He had a puzzled look on his face..." WHY"....he asked.  Of course he had NO clue how to start that georgeous car!

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17 minutes ago, shinyhubcap said:

what's the big deal...it was only an 8 cyl.  Packard - wasn't a Packard V-12....

 

Seriously, guys,   I agree it is unfair to judge this particular situation - I personally don't dare buy pencils unless they have erasers (if you "get my drift"...!).

 

Fact remains that this sad incident MAY fit into my personal prejudice of how the old car "hobby" has changed down thru the years.  Of COURSE those of us who love, drive, fix, and exhibit our cars on a personal basis love em enough to be sure they are left IN GEAR with the hand-brake on.  Sure, at some of these prestigious car shows,  the grounds are uneven - my own circle of friends...well...EVERY one of us carries wheel "chocks" for just that reason.

 

Again, I have no idea if my personal prejudice about these "costume-jewelery" restorations is correct IN THIS PARTICULAR sad situation.   Humor me by letting me tell a story.

 

My favorite story about how things have changed....at a VERY prestigious car show I once attended, I was exhibiting my own Rolls Royce Phantom 1.  It was pretty nice, but parked alongside it was another P-1 that put mine to shame.  The judges came around, looking for the owner to ask him to start it.  They found him eventually, at the bar, where he was telling the other exhibitors of costume jewelry about HIS Rolls Royce.  When asked to start it, he looked around, asking where his "helpers" were.  Asked to start it himself...?  He had a puzzled look on his face..." WHY"....he asked.  Of course he had NO clue how to start that georgeous car!

 

Well, the important thing is that at least you've found a way to feel superior to everyone involved.

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At the St Johns concours a few years back the best of show car stalled and died on the way to it's award. The exquisitely attired owner and wife never exited the vehicle. In about two minutes a golf cart screeched to a halt and three guys in identical sparkling white coveralls jumped out and swarmed over the car like a trio of monkeys. Soon enough they had it started and the owner drove off to his richly deserved award with the merest of nods to his crew...............Bob

 

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34 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

Well, the important thing is that at least you've found a way to feel superior to everyone involved.

I think that's the often-banned Peter Hartmann. Or at least the ghost of, a few days late for Halloween.

Do a search, he's a major proponent of babbitt bearings, in a manner of speaking.

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

Well, the important thing is that at least you've found a way to feel superior to everyone involved.

 

wont work - no way can I feel superior when I go to a prestigious fancy auto show at some ultra expensive facility with acres of rolling green lawns.......not when I see so many "costume-jewelry perfect" cars that probably cost more than I have spent on my airplane.

 

Of course it is unfair of me to judge a situation I am thousands of miles away from, and have no clue as to the personalities involved. 

 

But a review of the posts in here confirm I am not the only one who is puzzled at the evolution of the old car hobby. C'mon...man..admit it  - of course you have seen "the type".....folks to whom a car is simply a status symbol - who has little or no interest in its technology.

 

In my circle of friends,  I don't know of ANYONE who fails to INSTINCTIVELY shove their car into "reverse"  when leaving a manual transmission car of ANY type.   ANY big-engine pre-war car of ANY make, even with a heavy body, isn't going ANYWHERE if you leave it in "reverse".

 

And again... I strongly recommend if there is the slightest HINT of a slope...get out that wooden chock-block and CHOCK at least one wheel.  C'mon, guys, you do all carry wood chock-blocks in your cars ?

 

 

 

 

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35 minutes ago, BillP said:

 

Do a search, he's a major proponent of babbitt bearings, in a manner of speaking.

 

YES -- I UNDERSTAND...you are unhappy with those of us who do not like poured babbit connecting rod bearings. 

 

Some of us think it is unforgiveable to re-do ANY motor  that orginally came with poured babbit connecting rod bearings, without converting the rods to "insert" type.  ( or having new connecting rods made that will accept a modern off-the-shelf" 'insert").

 

But you do have a point.   A restoration shop who knows the customer has no intention of ever actually driving his "costume jewelry" level restoration,  couldn't care less about the motor, so long as it can drag the carcass from the trailer to the show field.  So it would be an inappropriate waste of the customer's money to do a sound mechanical restoration along with the pretty stuff.  Makes sense.... ( well...to some....! )

 

 

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The owner of the Packard knows cars and knows them well. I suspect he has had more grease under his fingernails than a lot of people on this forum.  I am not sure I have seen many cars past the brass era being chocked at a car show!  I have been too one or two in my life!  What happened here?  Don't know but I am anxious to find out. 

 

Hilton had not had a problem in that area in the past nor have other shows that I know of had a similar problem.  The Elegance has some cars on a slope and certainly in AACA we have had many shows with less than flat terrain. Something unusual happened here is my guess or it may have just been human error which can happen!

 

As to the need to "fault" someone who loves cars but has no mechanical knowledge...just can't understand it nor can I understand why wealthy car owners or for that matter any car owner who has a perfectly restored car will be castigated as less the hobbyist as others are.  This is a big hobby and there is room for everyone in it.  Not all of us (me included) have the wherewithal or the expertise to restore some of these amazing creations.  Thankfully there are some that can and have saved a great part of the story of the automobile.

 

I made a little bet with myself that this thread would head in this direction and I am sad I was right.  Simple issue here, it was a sad day for the owner who I am understood to say "I''ll fix the car, just glad no one was hurt".

 

 

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1 hour ago, shinyhubcap said:

In my circle of friends,  I don't know of ANYONE who fails to INSTINCTIVELY shove their car into "reverse"  when leaving a manual transmission car of ANY type.   ANY big-engine pre-war car of ANY make, even with a heavy body, isn't going ANYWHERE if you leave it in "reverse".

Shiny/Peter, clearly your circle of friends does not include owners of Pierce-Arrows from mid-1924 through 1938.  Pierce reversing lights are hot all the time, ignition on or off. We look for that in judging.

 

On the other hand, in sparse support of your comments about certain show cars, I participated in the 2011 Amelia Island Concours where cars are judged strictly on elegance and with no technical judging. First and Seconds drove up to receive their hardware.  I personally counted SEVEN of those winners which had to be tow-started by the Ritz-Carlton's garden tractors in order to pick up their hardware.  I haven't been back. 

Edited by Grimy (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

That is very sad, Packards are one of the best cars ever made. But I do have a question, if you have a new car and some thing like that happens. You will have a branded\salvage title. I find it strange that if a new car gets banged up it is a salvage vehicle. To me all old cars are rebuilt\reconstructed\salvage. How come you just can't restore your Honda that was in a flood. Is there a cut off in the law, where they say this car is old enough that any thing done to it is a restoration?

There is far more to a new car, than a vintage car, and is like comparing apples and oranges.  In a newer car, there are sophisticated electronics under the seats, (amongst other locations within the vehicle) which are easily damaged by flooding.  Air bags, engine management, and other safety devices are compromised once the ECM and the CPU and the individual components themselves get inundated with floodwaters.  In a worst case scenario, an air bag could unexpectedly deploy at random from a water-induced short circuit.

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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I was looking at the video in 60FlatTop's Post #13 and thought I saw a familiar face/profile.  Is that Jay Leno looking into the passenger side front seat area at 0.16 - 0.28 sec. of the video?

 

As a comment on Steve Moskowitz' Post #21, I also don't  understand the disdain some folks in our hobby have for others who enjoy the hobby from a different aspect.  At one end of the spectrum, is the guy who attends car shows, but doesn't have a collector car and knows little to nothing about them.  At the other end is the high end collector who may have a million dollar collection and extensive knowledge about his cars.  Then there are the guys who "build" or "restore" their cars from a pile of rust with their own hands and have total disdain for the enthusiast who buys a restored car or pays to have one restored.  Without someone willing to cough up the buck$ for a restored car, that car is just an old, used car and not worth much on the open market.  As to the collector who doesn't even know how to start his rare collector vehicle, I think that he is missing much of the fun of the hobby; however, that guy, albeit short on knowledge, is a genuine enthusiast and usually has sunk a lot of money into his car (thereby propping up the collector car market).  Sheesh, we're all car guys, so let's lighten up on each other a little bit.

 

Of course, I've heard that there are guys who buy cars as an investment and never physically take possession of the car but leave it in the care of a broker or some such person.  These guys don't even park their collector cars in their garage to be admired on an evening when T.V. or other diversions pale.  I don't know what to say about those guys except that they are missing out on a whole lot of fun.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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Just a question. Could some one have reached in and popped it out of gear? No joke, I have had cars damaged and lug nuts loosened up on show cars before. Some people will go out of their way to win. Or to make some one else look bad. ( and yes matt it does happen) just ask a figure skater.

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3 hours ago, Steve Moskowitz said:

 

3 hours ago, Steve Moskowitz said:

Simple issue here, it was a sad day for the owner who I am understood to say "I''ll fix the car, just glad no one was hurt".

 

That's a true gentleman.  Lesser men would have been cussing and blaming everyone from the show organization to the groundskeeper.

 

Sad event, but come on guys, we've all done silly or stupid things with our cars, and to beat up on a well known collector of high end Packards is just uncalled for....

 

Man, I want to be neutral, but Peter (Shiny), your high horse is at an incredible height....but since you know so much about babbitt, then you might explain to us about the one property that babbitt has, it's self destructive at a certain thickness......the inability to transfer heat well is what makes babbitt fail, when it's too thick .  That's what us poor losers are trying to do when we decide on inserts.  Babbitt is a wonderful material for a bearing surface, under certain limitations, but once you start cutting a lot of material off the crankshaft, and adding babbitt to make up for it, trouble is heading your way.

 

Shame about the Packard, the owner I'm sure had good insurance, it will need another more or less full restoration, but let's quit hammering the money guys who let us enjoy the high end cars, and are willing to get them out in the sunshine.  Sheesh...

 

 

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it is/was a truly beautiful car with a fabulous restoration.  Unfortunately it was also getting wet when we saw it at Hershey last month.

 

My condolences to the owner though I agree about using wheel chocks on any incline AND leaving the car in reverse. 

 

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There is more to this story.  I just spoke with the owner and although I do not have permission to say everything I can tell you that everyone in the class had the rear wheels chocked with their fire extinguishers due to being on an incline.  Also, the owner was not with his car when this happened but someone was seen to reach in it before the event occurred.  That is all I will say at the moment.  The owner reiterated his appreciation that no one was injured or that the divers did not encounter the alligators that were in the pond.  He actually made the crack about a new "submarine class"!  Ralph is an amazing car guy and is handling this so much better than most people would.  Total class act.  I wish I could say more because the rest of the story is a bit mind boggling.  After waiting for 13 years to finish this car it will now go through restoration again. 

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8 minutes ago, Steve Moskowitz said:

There is more to this story.  I just spoke with the owner and although I do not have permission to say everything I can tell you that everyone in the class had the rear wheels chocked with their fire extinguishers due to being on an incline.  Also, the owner was not with his car when this happened but someone was seen to reach in it before the event occurred.  That is all I will say at the moment.  The owner reiterated his appreciation that no one was injured or that the divers did not encounter the alligators that were in the pond.  He actually made the crack about a new "submarine class"!  Ralph is an amazing car and is handling this so much better than most people would.  Total class act.  I wish I could say more because the rest of the story is a bit mind boggling.  After waiting for 13 years to finish this car it will now go through restoration again. 

Obviously I know next to nothing about this but I do know that a fire extinguisher makes a poor wheel chock and on wet grass even more so..........Bob

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On a lighter side (perhaps), back to my Post #24: "I was looking at the video in 60FlatTop's Post #13 and thought I saw a familiar face/profile.  Is that Jay Leno looking into the passenger side front seat area at 0.16 - 0.28 sec. of the video?"   Was Jay Leno at this event?  Does anyone know?

 

I just gotta know,

Grog

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Growing up I really appreciated those who had bought the Jags new, them pawned them off to a deserving kid for pennies when the ashtrays became full. Almost as much as those who wanted theirs exercised and appreciated being shown how to get a Moss gearbox into first at 25 mph.  

 

Or (horrors) how much faster an XK-1xx was to shift if you took a torch to the gear lever and straightened it out. Or how to repair a leaking XKE power brake booster with a 6.00x16 inner tube and some hose clamps.

 

And then there were those who didn't believe you could open the hood on a Rolls, move one fuse, and drive off (but rides were limited, you needed the key to open the gas cap).

 

Those were fun daze in south Florida.

 

Point I am making is that normal people did not buy any of these cars when new but we can be very glad they did.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, capngrog said:

On a lighter side (perhaps), back to my Post #24: "I was looking at the video in 60FlatTop's Post #13 and thought I saw a familiar face/profile.  Is that Jay Leno looking into the passenger side front seat area at 0.16 - 0.28 sec. of the video?"   Was Jay Leno at this event?  Does anyone know?

 

I just gotta know,

Grog

 

Nope - this man has a beard and is laying his hands all over the car.  I don't think Jay would do that to someone else's car, especially after what it has been through.

 

So glad no one was hurt, but it's sad to see what happened.  I'm really hoping no one messed with the car.  I've never had anyone touch my trucks without me being there and my permission (as far as I know) but things can happen.

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16 hours ago, AnniesSS said:

 

Nope - this man has a beard and is laying his hands all over the car.  I don't think Jay would do that to someone else's car, especially after what it has been through.

 

So glad no one was hurt, but it's sad to see what happened.  I'm really hoping no one messed with the car.  I've never had anyone touch my trucks without me being there and my permission (as far as I know) but things can happen.

 

Annie, I can't quite make out a beard on the guy, but I'll grant it's possible he's sporting one.  I agree that Jay Leno would not touch a car under these circumstances unless requested to do so by the owner.  Having taken a closer look at the "mystery man" while looking for his beard, I no longer think that he was/is Jay Leno.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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