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|Lone Star Packards was formed in the
Houston area in 1964 and it is the third oldest region of the Packard
Club 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. Having an award winning
quarterly publication, THE OWNER'S MANUAL, as well as having an
informative website also contribute to our success.
|Featured Member Car|
Tommy and Chris Baccaro Extend the Lone Star Packards History of a 1956 Patrician
I still remember the day back in the early 90's that Walter and Pat Trimmer drove their newly acquired 1956 Patrician to a Lone Star Packards meeting at a long gone diner in Richmond. It had full power including dual electric antennas in the rear and factory air. They bought it in New Mexico and I think they actually drove it home. It was finished in Scottish Heather (my granddaughters say it is pink) and Dover white. It was misting that day and the finish really sparkled. As we were all gathered around it in the parking lot literally drooling over the shiny Patrician, Walter said I am going to do a complete restoration. I expressed that it was in better condition than our two Packards and I would just drive and enjoy as is until something needed to be fixed. Walter was very knowledgeable and was a perfectionist. He took it apart! Being retired I think he just enjoyed tinkering with the Packard. Over the years the engine and transmission were rebuilt, the interior was renewed, all the power window motors were replaced etc,etc. Long story short, that Patrician never made another Packard Club meeting unless it was one of several that Walter and Pat hosted at their home in Sugarland. It often seemed near completion to most of us but he always found something else to do. Though it did not get driven much, it brought a lot of enjoyment to a really nice guy who we all miss.
Jump forward to 2016. We had lost both Walter and Pat and the car floated around to various family members until it and their 1940 Packard 110 ended up with Walter and Pat's son, Paul. Upon his acquisition of the two cars, Paul sent them and all Walter's spare parts to a restoration shop in Spring. Paul made the decision to restore the 1940 first and decide what to do with the '56 later. In the mean time, restoration began on the 1940 and the Patrician was moved around the shop but eventually it was stored outside for about three years. The shop felt like more harm was being done to the paint by letting it sit in all the dust generated inside than if it was outside. About 6 months ago, Paul contacted me and asked if I could help him sell the car. I put it out on our group email several times but the months passed and there were no takers. I even called a couple of people that I knew were in the market for a Packard but there were no takers. In the meantime, Ben Carter and Rich Trokey visited the shop to see if in Walter's spare parts there might be something Ben needed for his '40. Ben reported to me that the Patrician was really in better shape than expected after three years outside. (when we eventually got it got it home I did buff it out with Maguire's products and the paint looked much better than I expected!) I needed a 5th Packard like I needed a hole in the head, even though I had lusted after the senior V8 Packards since one of my mom's customers had come to her shop driving a brand new Patrician right off the floor from Wendall Hawkins Packard. (I was 13 at the time) I called Paul and realized he was really a motivated seller. I talked to my son Chris about the car and he encouraged me to go see it. From the description, everything we could not do such as interior and paint had already been done. Chris was a Ford tech for nearly 20 years and is now a shop foreman and assistant service manager at a Ford dealer. I am no dummy I raised my own mechanic! We agreed if we bought it he would store it at his new house and work on it as time allowed so the partnership was formed. I advised Paul we were preparing to go to the Packard national in South Bend and would check out the Patrician and maybe make an offer for it and the parts upon my return. I did and Paul accepted the offer. We met in Salado where I was attending a meeting of the Packard Club regional directors planning a return to Salado for the 2019 Texas Packard Meet. Paul lives in the Austin area. Money and title were exchanged and we now have a 1956 Packard Patrician.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and my good friend John Lortz and I went to pick up the Packard with his truck and trailer. With the exception of the condition of the mixed matched tires, the car looked pretty nice. When I had inspected it earlier, the gasoline smelled like kerosene so I paid the shop to drain all the gas and put in 10 gallons of fresh which they did. Unfortunately, much of the electrical system was disconnected except what was needed to start the car. Another friend told me Walter did not think the wipers worked smooth enough so he removed a lot of stuff, including A/C so he could get to the cable. None of the lights were connected, the heater core was missing, the a/c compressor and condenser were off the car, wiper motor missing, radio removed, all the interior door handles missing except for the driver's door, air cleaner was off etc. etc. There were no brakes and the push button tranny would not go into reverse. John had to use his winch to get it on the trailer. When we got to Chris', we had to push it off the trailer into the street because there was no reverse. At this point, I am going to turn this article over to Chris to detail what progress he has made. I am proud to say that he and his family were able to drive it to the LSP Christmas party last month in Friendswood. That's my boy!
Well dad summed it up pretty good. The first priority was to fix the push button issue so we could shift to reverse. After studying the push button system and talking to several people on the internet about it I believed the shift motor was out of position. I adjusted the "actuator motor" and got lucky the first time. It was running rough and I was convinced the carb. was bad. Dad had a spare Rochester 4 barrel so he brought it over. Solved the problem! The master cylinder was dry so fluid took care of the brake problem. So now I got brave and decided I would run it around the block. It ran great in first gear. So then I started looking at the wiring and realized only the bare minimum was hooked up to start the car. I worked on the headlights and horn. Then I noticed it wasn’t charging. After checking over the wiring I finally decided I needed a voltage regulator. I installed one and had it charging again. Brake lights did not work but Dad had a spare 3 prong switch which the '55 and '56 Packards used so we got brake lights. I now decided to get even braver and pushed the Patrician to about 45 mph. It had a loud noise going into lockup at a low speed but if I let it shift later it was OK. Now the whole time the load leveling system has been working without a problem but all of a sudden it quit. The load leveling system will have to wait though because the transmission needs to be addressed first. I changed the fluid in the transmission the other day and found a lot of metal in the pan. Since the transmission was rebuilt, I suspect the torque converter and luckily Dad has a spare one of those. It is a good thing we have a stash of parts and a lot of experience with the red and white '55 Clipper our family has enjoyed over the years because much of it also applies to this '56 patrician. So that’s where we are with the Patrician. The kids have been excited about the car and Maya has helped me a lot with detailing and handing me tools.