Evelyn at the 2006 Back to the 50's Weekend
You might wonder why a guy with a penchant for Hot Rods and Musclecars has such a soft spot for a mild mannered old Packard. It's a long story, a story of dreams, faith and honor...
It all started about twenty six years ago when my brother in law purchased a small collection of old cars that were sitting in the machine shed of a small Midwestern farm. Among them were a couple of old Packard's, a '48 sedan and a '37 115c 4 door touring sedan. Since my mother in law Evelyn had always dreamed of having a "fancy" old car, a deal was made and she became the proud owner of a '37 Packard. We changed the fluids and got it running for her, but the brake system needed repair to make the ol' Packard roadworthy. I used a kit from Kanter to completely overhaul the brake system. Next we pulled the chrome for replating while "Bondo" Jimmy repainted it in a '70's Cadillac color that closely matched the original. While it wasn't perfect, the Packard turned out to be a pretty neat old car.
Evelyn treasured her Packard, occasionally driving it and entering it in the local 4th of July parade in northern Minnesota. Eventually, failing health prevented her from driving it anymore. She still loved the old Packard and wanted to make sure it would go to a good home.
One night she called and asked if "I would like to have her Packard". Without hesitation I answered "YES", I've always loved the car and really hoped that it would somehow stay in the family.UF and I journeyed North to Baudette, Minnesota on Mothers day weekend with a borrowed car hauler in tow. Despite sitting for over a year, it only needed a jump and a little gas through the carb to coax the flathead 6 into firing up. After a short test drive, I drove it onto the trailer and lashed it down for the 300 mile trip home
With the help of friends it took a month of evenings and weekends to make the ol' gal safe and reliable again. Once it was roadworthy all the ol' gal need was a little tlc to make her presentable. Sometime during the course of the month, the topic of what to call the car was discussed. Naming it "Evelyn" was the only logical choice, assuming it was OK with my mother-in-law. When I called to ask her approval, she laughed and said "that would be wonderful". In June of '06 "Evelyn" made her first public appearance in several years at the MSRA Back to the 50's in St. Paul, MN. Local cruise nights, car shows and sunday drives accounted for an another 800 miles of easy cruisin' that Summer.
I tried to call my mother in law whenever we took "Evelyn" out and relay the kind remarks from people that enjoyed seeing "her" car.
Before heading south for Winter in the fall of '06, my mother in-law and I climbed into the Packard and cruised around for awhile before going home. She laughed and smiled the entire time, what a wonderful memory. It was the last time I'd see her alive, Evelyn passed away on February 14, 2007...