January 2018

By Andie King

One of the highlights of this year’s Villa Park Dry Land Boat Parade was not a decorated boat, but a stunning 1910 Packard Touring Car. Grand Marshal Pam Dunn and husband Art were chauffeured in its plush leather seats by owners Lance and Joan Hultgren.

The Hultgrens have owned the car for approximately 22 years – or, as Lance said, “we pay for the privilege of caring for it.” The original owner’s manual had an extensive checklist of daily, weekly and monthly tasks needed to care for the car, usually tended to -- back then --  by a wealthy owner’s chauffeur.

The Packard, a Model 30, is one of only about 60 left of the original 12,500 made. It was made at time when automakers were transitioning to modern day technology. It has acetylene headlights, kerosene lanterns, and small six-volt bulbs.  It is started with a hand-crank, has a gravity-feed fuel system, and may reach a top speed of 45 to 50 mph. With narrow tires only about four inches wide and a simple brake system on the rear axle, the Hultgrens motor at a more moderate speed of 20 mph.

The family first became interested in antique vehicles when their son married into a family active in a horseless carriage club. They occasionally dress in period clothing to take the car on club excursions. 

In addition to the Villa Park parade, the auto has made two Rose Bowl appearances. In 1996, the Packard (and Lance) were asked to motor the Rose Queen into the Rose Bowl. With the cacophony of cheering, parade band and overhead flight tributes, Lance couldn’t hear if the motor was running, and spent the entire time muttering “please don’t die, please don’t die,” afraid that he would have to get out and hand-crank the vehicle in front of the crowd. Another year, the Packard was used to motor the president of the Rose Bowl in the parade, and spewed a cloud of blue smoke at the end, as the manual oil setting was too high.

​​Antique Packard is highlight of parade