Packard to celebrate 90th anniversary with auto show


1912 Packard Model 1-48 Custom Runabout, sold for $370,000 + buyer’s premium at RM Auctions’ March 12, 2011 sale. Image courtesy of RM Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) – An array of classic cars will be flocking to the historic Packard proving grounds in suburban Detroit for a car show and gala celebrating the facility’s 90th anniversary.

Packard Motor Car Company built some of the world’s finest cars for decades, but the proving grounds in Shelby Township also tested tanks in World War II and built jet engines in the 1950s. The proving grounds will be celebrating 90 years by hosting a car show June 10 and an evening gala June 14.

The auto show expects to showcase more than 300 classic vehicles, including the Miller Special race car.

Show Chairman Tom Mitchell said the race car wasn’t built by Packard, but it’s significant because it set records at the proving grounds and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Miller Special clocked 148 mph (238 kph) on the proving grounds’ test track when the facility opened in 1928, setting a record that stood for more than 25 years.

“It’s a beautiful, perfectly restored vehicle,” Mitchell said. “It’s really a sight to see.”

The auto show will feature some of the most notable cars in Packard’s history from the 1900s to 1950s, and welcomes all kinds of collectible vehicles.

“Our field has included everything from two-wheeled to four-wheeled, Brass Era and prewar, post-war, hot rods, muscle cars, trucks, racers, customs, military vehicles and even bikes,” said show founder Don Sommer.

The auto show offers an opportunity for classic car owners to display their vehicles for fun or an award. Car owners can register in advance by paying $15 for non-judged vehicles and $20 for judged vehicles.

Proceeds from the auto show or the gala will go toward upgrades and expansion projects at the proving grounds, which is now a popular site for weddings and other events.

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