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Seeking Confirmation: The last living Packard Dealer?

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:17 am
by BobPalma
July 12, 2014: My 97-year-old father, Lumir S. Palma, is doing well, and we are trying to determine if he is the last living Packard Automobile dealer. "Dealer" would be defined as a man (or woman!) who actually signed a Franchise Agreement with either Packard Motor Car Company or Studebaker-Packard Corporation, to sell and service Packard automobiles.

I have the original copy of my Father and his brother Milton's 1953 Franchise Agreement with Packard Motor Car Company, to sell and service Packard automobiles in Illinois' Edgar and Clark Counties from their dealership in Paris IL, the seat of Edgar County. They went out of business August 1, 1956. Uncle Milton passed away December 30, 1994, leaving Dad as the Survivor of the Brothers' Partnership.

Dad was the topic of a Personality Profile in the May 2010 edition of Hemmings Classic Car magazine. (I did not author the article, but supplied the pictures for it and put Writer Dave LaChance in touch with Dad for the interview.)

I've been checking and asking around, and no one can confirm another living Packard dealer, as defined by having signed a Franchise Agreement. If anyone is aware of, and can confirm, another such person, please post the particulars.

Here is a photo of Dad taken with his 2012 Christmas Present, an engraved piece of the East Grand Blvd Administration Building reception area marble floor, which, if you have been there, you know consists of many broken tiles due to the vandalism to which the property has been repeatedly subjected.


Thank you.
Bob Palma, son
Quarterly Columnist: Hemmings Classic Car

Re: Seeking Confirmation: The last living Packard Dealer?

Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:16 am
by JWLawrence
I believe a Packard dealer in the Houston area may still be alive. Perhaps someone with better information on him will come forward. I am the son of a long-time Packard dealer. My father had a franchise from 1929 to 1954 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Your father must have a wealth of memories about Packards. It would be nice if these stories could be shared with us who are not Hemmings subscribers. Wish him the best.


Re: Seeking Confirmation: The last living Packard Dealer?

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:17 pm
by BobPalma
Thanks, JW.

You are probably thinking of Houston Packard Dealer Wendell Hawkins. He was several years younger than my father and would have been the #1 challenger to the title of Last Packard Dealer. However, he passed away several years ago at the age of 88, I believe. (I mean I am sure he has passed away, but am uncertain of his age.)

Boy, I'll bet your Dad ordered Oil Bath Air Cleaners and Oil Filters for every Packard on which they were optional, what with the dusty southwest being what it was during the years he was in business. What was the name of his dealership?

You might just order a back copy of Hemmings Classic Car's May 2010 issue. You would enjoy the article on my Dad. BP