If you find yourself in Dayton, Ohio and have a few hours to kill, I highly recommend America’s Packard Museum. It’s open daily from noon to 5 and you can easily spend every minute here with the massive collection of Packards and memorabilia. The (volunteer) docents are highly knowledgeable and a joy to talk to, especially on a slower day. Cost for the museum is cheap and easy to find online- it’s also free for under 18s and students with ID.
The museum itself is in a restored Packard dealership and showroom near the downtown area. Clearly marked with the original restored porcelain and neon sign, the reinforced concrete structure still stands over one hundred years since its opening. Many of the old buildings in Dayton have been demolished or fallen into disuse over the years, so the success of the restoration efforts here are welcome. The museum itself is divided between two buildings, the multi-level showroom housing cars from the 1900s to the 1940s on the ground floor (the only area currently publicly accessible), and another showroom of the former Citizens Motorcar Company, where post-40s Packards, commonly called “Senior” Packards, are displayed.
These are the first cars you see as you walk through the door. Two 30s vehicles, the red and black remains in unrestored condition apart from fender repaint, while the cream features a restoration
One of the many unique and intriguing vehicles is the dual fuel prototype shown below. Commissioned pre-WWII by the US government, this example has been modified to run on standard gasoline as well as propane. The propane tank sits where the cargo area would normally have been located.
Nearby sat a one-off made for Packard’s most prominent engine designer and later vice president, the personal vehicle of Jesse Vincent, at one point featuring a supercharged mill.
Another car featured a Boyce Moto-Meter, a radiator thermometer.
The second showroom is filled with postwar Packards. So many whitewalls!
Facing towards Ludlow street, a quartet of Caribbeans peer out of the glass. Some featured single scoops, others double. All were beautiful.
I lost a number of photos, including one of the Grey Wolf, a 1903 4-cylinder land speed record attempt car, as well as a LeBaron coachbuilt 180 from the 1940s with hydraulic power windows and an interior I could swear was as modern as the 90s. There are many, many interesting vehicles at the museum, and I’d highly recommend anyone interested in slightly offbeat American iron.
Oh, and also there was a Reliant Robin.