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Smokey Mountain Tours - Asheville NC area

Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:11 am
by Dave Czirr
Forwarded by Jerry Ashley and from the Steve Bryson Collection (whose father drove for Smokey Mtn. Tours) come some vintage photos of Packard tour buses. Thanks to Jerry & Steve for these great vintage photos! Left-click to enlarge, as always. I owned a summer home in the Smokies for 20 years - just spectacular scenery and a lovely part of the country.

On the tandem rear axle cars, I'm just guessing that the rearmost axle was just a bogey. It sure would be nice to know who did the conversions of these unique vehicles - anyone know or willing to take a guess?

Re: Smokey Mountain Tours - Asheville NC area

Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:09 am
by GTO
Great pictures.You rarely see pictures of these vehicles especially when they were in service.

Re: Smokey Mountain Tours - Asheville NC area

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:14 pm
by bill murray
Hi Dave and GTO:

I have been researching a couple of these busses for 3 days now and ran across this thread and joined the Club.

One photo is a different view of photo #4, the 1934 V-12 bustle back 6 wheeler and the other is a different 1934 V-12 taken in Tapoco, NC. in front of the Tapoco Lodge. The name Tapoco was derived from the Tallassee Power Company name.
The Lodge was constructed by Alcoa as a retreat for their employees in the aluminum plants that sprang up in the 1916-1918 time frame that supplied our military of the day.

It later was taken over as a sort of community center and still exists today. This information I got from a chap who runs the local county historical organization and he is trying to get more information but the Smoky Mountain Tours Company was based in Ashville, NC which is 90 miles from Tapoco.

I also found Jerry Ashley's email address on another thread and I am going to contact him after this email to see if he has any other information from Steve Bryson about his photo collection and his dad's service with the tour company.

My goal is to try to catalog each and every Packard bus used by Smoky Mountain Tours and to find out who built the different bodies which seem very specific to that company.

I have 2 fields of research interest, btw, US civilian wheeled vehicles used outside the US 1930-1945 and military wheeled vehicles of all nations 1930-1945.
Been doing it for over 55 years and have tens of thousands of images in my documents files and loads of books/magazines/loose photos and brochures on the subjects.

Every once in a while I get sidetracked as I did here when I stumble across something that just grabs my interest and I use the same research methodology to try to solve the puzzle.

Thanks for your indulgence and if anyone here can help it would be very appreciated.

Bill Murray

Re: Smokey Mountain Tours - Asheville NC area

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:22 pm
by Don Shields
Hi Bill,
Welcome to the club and to our forum, and thanks for sharing the photos. In the interest of accuracy, your "different 1934 V-12" in front of the lodge building has unskirted front fenders which indicates that if it is a V12 it has to be a Ninth Series or 1932 model year vehicle. Packard skirted the fenders for the 1933 model year and after; the skirting hid from view the sidemount well outer surface and also all the slop that the front wheels would throw onto the underside of the fenders.

Please keep us posted on what you might find about our favorite marque. Thanks again.

Re: Smokey Mountain Tours - Asheville NC area

Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:33 pm
by bill murray
Hi Don:

Thanks very much for the kind words and interest in the subject at hand.

Thanks also for the year/model correction on the two photos I posted.

Not to write another book, but my poor knowledge of Packard years and model is sort of a function of how my research hobby developed.

The further I got into the field of wheeled military vehicles worldwide the more it became apparent that in the US prior to 1941, a great deal of their wheeled fleet were slightly militarized civilian cars and trucks. As I got more into the worldwide arena, this was multiplied many times over, particularly as regards the Axis powers. In the case of Germany, probably 80% of the wheeled vehicles the military used were civilian vehicles captured, interned (in Germany) or confiscated in conquered countries. Outside of Germany, France, Italy and the UK, American marques dominated the markets of Europe and formed the backbone of many countries fleets. The same was true of Japan and the countries it conquered.

The vast majority of the vehicles exported to these countries were "entry level" and "mid level" vehicles. Chevrolet/Ford/Plymouth, Oldsmobile/Dodge/Mercury and the like. Also many other marques from the same ranges. Packards/Cadillacs/Lincolns and the like were rather rare and I just did not take the time to educate myself properly on the exact year and model of the photos I collected as I did the volume marques. I knew what each of the luxury cars looked like and just cataloged them by marque, user and location if I knew it and let it go at that.

My interest in primarily civilian cars and trucks exported to, assembled in or manufactured in countries outside the US was first sparked by my spending two year tours in Sweden, Peru and Canada in the mid 1970's when I worked for AB Volvo. I was blown away by the penetration of US vehicles in Scandinavian countries and South America, particularly in the 1930-1950 time period. I collected lots of automotive and other type magazine collections in those countries as well as photos from that era.

My research interests in purely military wheeled vehicles became a bit jaded about 5 years ago and I have since spent most of my time concentrating on just US vehicles in the two above mentioned fields since then as well as jumping on specific US variants such as the Smoky Mountain Tour Bus Packards from time to time.

I have Kime's Packard book in my library and I promise you I will refer to it from now on to try to properly identify anything I find.

May I also ask if it would be worthwhile to start a thread on Packards used outside the US on this Forum. I have perhaps 200 photos of Packards used in maybe 20 or so countries in my Dropbox file that I could post here.

In the meantime, I am putting together emails to Jerry and Steve to see if they have more information on the busses.


Re: Smokey Mountain Tours - Asheville NC area

Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 1:10 pm
by Dave Czirr
Hi Bill, nice to hear from you again and looking forward to more commentary from you.

Yes, Packard was a very prolific exporter, probably as a percentage of production they exported more than any of their peers. Mostly their markets were countries with clientele who could afford high-end cars and Scandanavia was a large market for them. There are still a large number of Packards in Scandanavia, you might want to look into the Nordic Packard Owner's Club where many of them are registered. I'm very fortunate to have a copy of the original records of Packard's Finnish agent, Autola OY, for about the 6years prior to WW II. As one gets into the later 30s more and more were the "junior" models, but still quite a few Super Eights and the occasional Twelve. If the history of a particular Finnish Packard with a war history interests you, you might want to read the story about the rediscovery and restoration of Mannerheim's staff car. The article with some period photos was written by a couple of Swedish historians of Packard and translated into English here where it was published in The Packard Club's quarterly magazine - I could photocopy and mail to you.

Another interesting Packard with a WW II history is a 39 Super Eight town car bodied by Franay of France. The car is currently in the Marano collection and you'll find pictures of it elsewhere on this website. It was usurped by the Nazis and used as a staff car in Paris during the war, and before being returned to it's owner was taken over by the US army and used by them as a staff vehicle for some years. If only it could speak.....


Re: Smokey Mountain Tours - Asheville NC area

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:06 pm
by loveoflife66
Is there a way to upload my Smoky Mountain Tours Co Packard file to the group to let everyone have access to it? Steve Bryson

Re: Smokey Mountain Tours - Asheville NC area

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:05 am
by genehouse
Steve, welcome to the club first! Second, to attempt to give you some sort of answer to your question, you should be able to upload the file by going to the "Upload Attachment" tab you see directly below the Text Box when you are entering your text for posting to the site. A lot of it depends on the size of your file. You may have to break it down into multiple files to meet the size limitations. If you need help with any of this I will be happy to help you. Just send me a PM and I will give you my private e-mail. I can either try to walk you through the process or you can send me the file and I will do it for you. All of us here will enjoy seeing your pictures and other information from the Packard past.

Re: Smokey Mountain Tours - Asheville NC area

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:10 am
by loveoflife66
Thanks Gene. I appreciate the welcome. I have loved Packards ever since I was a kid and I don't think that will ever change. Here's a picture of my Dad's retirement project (I did all the work , he did all the driving!) a 1951 200 Deluxe. I found this for him in Maggie Valley in 1992 while picking up a car. Had been in a barn in Burnsville and only had 23000 miles but interior and chrome were shot. This pic is at a Blue Ridge Parkway overlook on the way to Mount Mitchell during the June 1993 Packard meet here in Asheville. I sent you a private message about the Smoky Mountain Tours file. Let me know if you didn't get it! Thanks Steve

Re: Smokey Mountain Tours - Asheville NC area

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:57 pm
by loveoflife66