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Star Packards was formed in the
Houston area in 1964 and it is the third oldest region of the Packard
Automobile Classics (PAC) in the country. Since we were the first
Packard club in
Texas we laid claim to the Lone Star name and had members
from all over the state. Today we have three other regions in
Texas so most of the Lone Star Packards members reside in the
Houston Gulf Coast area. Our club welcomes anyone with an
interest in Packards whether they own a Packard or not. We are a family
oriented club and many of our children have grown up in the club and
now bring their children to the meetings and activities. One of
the reasons for the success of Lone Star Packards has to
be related to the many activities we offer through out the
year. Every month we have a meeting held in rotating areas
of the greater Houston area. We have a Christmas party at an
upscale facility, we have an annual fall tour, and we have a
huge contingent of our membership that makes the annual trek to the
Texas Packard Meet in April. In addition, our club does
at least two public service activities each year. We have a
rich history of which we are very proud. We are not only one of
the oldest regions, we were the co-founders of the Texas Packard
Meet. We have hosted two national meets, one in 1984 and the
other in 1998 and we were able to have James J. Nance (the last
president of Packard) to attend and speak at our national meet in
1984. We have been successful in establishing several national
projects and we, along with the other Texas Packard
regions, secured a WWII Packard PT boat engine for the
Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg. Our award winning monthly
publication, The Owner's Manual, as well as having an
informative website also contribute to our success.
|Featured Member Car
From a Year of Change: Mary and Ed's 1929 Convertible Coupe
The year of 1929 was a year of change. A change in the United States and the world economy and a change in Packard automobiles. The Sixth Series was introduced and with it the six cylinder engine was gone, replaced by an all eight cylinder line of the 319 CID Standard Eight and the 348 CID Custom Eight, Deluxe Eight and the rare Speedster Eight. Among the sportier of the 1929 Packards was the Convertible Coupe on the 626 chassis having a 126.5 inch wheelbase. The 319 CID engine provides 90 hp. The 1929 626 Convertible Coupe was priced at $2400 1929 dollars, that is a little more than $36,000 todays dollars.
Lone Star Packards members Mary and Ed brought a beautiful 1929 626 Convertible Coupe into the Lone Star Packards fleet. Every Packard automobile has a story and every Packard automobile owner has a story. Ed tells us his:
“In April of 2019 my wife Mary and I bought a ’29 Packard 626 Convertible Coupe. We have other collectibles but this is our first Packard. We’re very excited about getting to drive around the Heights with the top down and friends in the rumble seat. Our gangster and flapper hats with a genuine, authentic replica Thompson sub machine gun would complete the look.
As always when I get something new to me, I took it right away to the shop that has worked on my other cars for a mechanical once over. The shop boss said he could do it. Of course, there were going to be things wrong! Hey, it’s 90 years old! I’m not that old and I’ve got stuff wrong with me. But still, I wanted to get it going reliably. I wanted to make sure it would start & stop, the lights and Aaoooga horn should work, not overheat and generally be fun for Sunday afternoon top down fun. The convertible top rear glass needed to be replaced as well.
A year later I got to drive it the 8 miles home from the shop, where it’s not been driven but 3 miles since. Let’s back up just a bit to fill in the time gap. The shop had a mechanic who had worked with the John O’Quinn collection so I felt pretty good about him knowing what our Packard was all about. The shop itself however, was a high-end super car shop that worked on my ‘89 Ferrari Testarossa with reasonable results. So, good luck.
We decided that the radiator needed to be replaced but ended up being re-cored since new/used replacements weren’t available. The electrical needed re-doing, the brakes needed some help also. The foot starter needed replacing and the water pump needed a good going over. Normal stuff.
Months go by……Along the way, they discovered that the gigantic aluminum oil pan was cracked in more than just a couple places. The shop sent it out to several places to try to weld the cracks shut. Again, new/used replacement 3 foot-long oil pans apparently don’t exist. I know it’s not an easy fix but there had to be someone in a city the size of Houston that could fix it. Eventually a place was found but the pan still “weeps” oil.
More months go by……After about 9 months the convertible top rear glass frame was finally sent out to be painted and have new glass installed. Why did it take that long before sending them out? In the meantime, The shop misplaced the canvas panel it fits into. They never did find it. I now have a gaping hole in my convertible top that I’ll have to find a solution to. The shop said they’d have a new one made. I called the upholstery shop they wanted to use, to see how long it would be to get it back if it was indeed eventually sent in. Unfortunately, the guy sounded like Goober from Mayberry so I made the decision right then to make sure it didn’t go there. Now, Goober was a nice guy but I don’t think I want somebody from Wally’s Filling Station working on my car.
On the first drive after finally getting it home, the horn Aaoooga-ed twice then quit. The headlights just flicker. The foot starter works. Go figure. About a mile into our maiden drive, the beautiful Packard straight 8 just stopped running. At the side of Heights Blvd I discovered that there were bits of debris in the glass gasoline reservoir that gravity feeds the carburetor. I disconnected the reservoir, emptied the junk and managed to get back to the home garage. On Monday the shop said, “Oh yeah, we thought that might be a problem.” Apparently, the gas tank needs to be cleaned. Not only didn’t they tell me about it, I didn’t even get the opportunity to have them solve that issue so the car could be driven reliably! Come to think about it, I’m probably better off doing it myself. I’ve never dropped a gas tank before. Drain it. Disconnect a couple things. 3 bolts. Send off for cleaning. How hard can it be? Guess I’ll find out. At this point I’m willing, anyway. Note – any of you guys know what to do call him.
Another 6 weeks go by with absolutely no action or solution, I shrugged my shoulders and just went by and picked up the frame and glass from the shop. Still have a gaping hole. Still looking for a proper upholstery shop. Sheeesh.
That’s the saga to this point. There’s lots more to it but going further would just be complaining. At least I’ve got a great story out of it. However, I am truly enjoying sprucing up the shiny bits – actually a lot of shiny bits. The tires and wheels look like new; I can see myself in the chrome and the engine will be detailed soon. Looking forward to pulling out the speedometer and fuel gauge to get them re-done as well. Even with all this silliness, the engine is as smooth as can be. It starts right up every time and just purrs. Can’t wait to get this ’29 reliable so I can start looking for our next Packard.
If you “Ask THIS man who owns one”, I say – “What a car!” … Ed Fleming”