Judging Changes

Event information, news of current or recent events, and judging questions.
Dave Czirr
Posts: 5093
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:30 am
Location: New Jersey

Judging Changes

Post by Dave Czirr » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:56 am

I'd like to strongly add my support to the comments of Jon Elmendorf as published in the February 2014 Cormorant News Bulletin regarding recent judging changes. The change with regard to radial tires is in my opinion completely without merit and really wasn't needed at all, the prior rules were entirely adequate. And I suspect in the future we'll see proposals to eliminate deductions for 12-volt conversions, disc brakes, dual master cylinders, alternators, and all other manner of "upgrades for safety". But I'm more concerned with the new class for modified cars. I suspect we've all seen examples of hot rodding Packards, including such gems as prewar Twelves. OK, it's your car and your money and I do have an appreciation for some of the workmanship in some cases and I occasionally enjoy seeing them, but to allow them on the judging field and eligible for an (wow, a different type of) award seems completely contrary to the principles that club has stood for over it's entire life; quoting from the by-laws:

"The club shall advance the maintenance, preservation, authentic (emphasis added) restoration and use of Packard vehicles....."

Do we really need to see more of what the enclosed photos of a very restorable post-war Packard represent? And this is the tip of the iceberg! Its a slippery slope we've entered into and I feel we've opened the door to a dismantling of what this club has stood for since it's inception. Perhaps I'm in the minority with this opinion, but I look forward to comments from others - please post of the forum here so your thoughts can be shared with others.

Posts: 109
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:06 am

Re: Judging Changes

Post by westpeterson » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:03 am

I agree with you, Dave. Unfortunately, several single-marque clubs have already gone down this slippery slope and added a class for "modified" cars, figuring it's the only way they can continue as a club. That's the problem with wanting to increase the size of a club without first figuring out why you want to increase the size of a club.

In my opinion, a club should strive to be the best it can be, based on its bylaws. A club should alter its bylaws only to "fix" mistakes/omissions, not to try and increase membership by doing so. Also, if an old car club has successfully applied and has been granted 501(c)(3) status, based on it being of historical nature, I would suspect that allowing modified vehicles would compromise its 501 status.
West Peterson
Dayton, Ohio
1940 Packard touring sedan, factory a/c

Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:55 pm

Re: Judging Changes

Post by jacko » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:14 am

I agree with Dave Czirr that we should only judge "authentic" Packards. A Packard retrofitted with modern parts like radial tires are just that--non-authentic Packards. As a two Packard car owner and driver, a 1940 and 1933, I want to experience the same sounds, smells, vibrations, sights, and performance that the authentic Packard provides. Only an authentic Packard coveys those things. Keep it simple and keep the judging authentic!

Bob Jacko

Randy Berger
Posts: 206
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:00 pm

Re: Judging Changes

Post by Randy Berger » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:58 am

This is an unneeded change. If you are interested in attracting new members just to swell the membership and receive the money they will bring you, are making a sad mistake .
Now, I have radials mounted and expect to be judged accordingly. If I decided I wanted a purple and red Packard, then I can't complain when it is judged non-authentic..
That is my choice and I expect to be judged by the same rules that a member who trailers a perfectly restored 1934 V12 has to endure.
I belong to an antique train club. Original paint is desired above all else. Should we accept "restored" items. Absolutely not!
This is a restriction that everyone understands. If you want to deviate from original, that is your choice, but know that your item is sub-standard.
These rule changes cheapen the value of my membership.
What is the next change? How about allowing Chevies or Fords?
I enjoy driving my Packard and put many miles on it each year.
I can do this without belonging to the Packard club. If you cheapen the requirements then what is the point of belonging?
Please reconsider - there is no need to change our judging standard.
Why was this not put up for a vote of the entire membership?

J Elmendorf
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:21 am

Re: Judging Changes

Post by J Elmendorf » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:45 am

Dave let me know that he was starting this chat. I pondered for awhile about the changes and decided I had to express my opinion. I composed the letter below and sent it for publication in the Bulletin as a way to express my concerns. Since the letter was published I have received numerous phone calls from other members in support of my concerns. Now thanks to Dave we have a discussion started. I applaud this and hope we can influence our officers to reconsider this issue.

I read with concern in the December issue of the Bulletin the article on judging changes. I have been honored to judge 2 national Packard events and have judged CCCA and Concour events.

I feel that eliminating the point deduction for radial tires is setting the wrong precedent for the club, then in reading on you state that if a car was to be awarded best of show it would have to have belted tires. By going forward with this policy we are being inconsistent, on the one hand you can do this, but on the other hand you can’t do this. I am very aware of the ride and safety benefits of radial tires and rightly agree that the owner of the car should decide. I think a 2 point deduction is fair value to penalize a car. Just think if all clubs went to your new policy the tire manufacturers would have no demand to produce belted tires and we would all have lost another piece of our history.

It is with great sadness that I learned about Class 15. I have felt the one of the underlying purposes of our Club is to promote the preservation and restoration of Packards. In performing a restoration of an antique car we are preserving history for future generations. We are already at a point where no one alive can remember the early Packards when they were new. Every time we change or modify the car (yes, I know is tempting, as of course we all feel we can make them better) we ruin a piece of history. At a local museum I am blessed with driving and maintaining a 1-48 and let me tell you when you hand crank that engine and hear it, and drive it, you are transported back in time. What a shame it would be to put a genaric chevy 350 in it. Too horrible to contemplate you say? Some very nice Packards of the late 20’s and early 30’s have already had this done. I even know of a Duesenberg that the present owner installed a doug nash 5 speed in it, in place of the original 3 speed. As I said earlier I agree that the owner can do what ever he wants, after all it’s his car. Where I draw the line is, our club should not condone it. If you want to have a area for modified cars to be displayed at a national meet, I think that is fine, but judging that car implies we are condoning this practice. Think about this, similar things happened in the 40s, 50s, and 60s with Lincoln Continentals 40-48 and 810-812 Cords, their engines were changed to something else and today those engines are antique in themselves and now the next owner has the new problems of a wrong old engine in the wrong car. You can see where this is going. Oh lets change the Packard over to rack and pinion steering or maybe power front disk brakes, kits are out there. This idea of “improving” the car might sound good to the current owner, but try to find a rack, a brake caliper or rotor or even a genaric 350 chevy engine 50 years from now, in keeping the car stock it can then always be rebuilt or restored, long after the company’s making these kits are out of business. My Packards steer and stop just fine. I have been on more CCCA tours than I can count and that Packard has mechanical brakes. In all my years of driving Packards I have never had any close calls. It’s important to remember that our cars went many thousand of miles when they were new, Packard engineering was great, if we only would restore them back to original specifications they will continue on for many more years. In summary I think you are taking the club down a dangerous path. It is not inconceivable though looking for an immediate gain in registrations you are opening up the flood gates for more and more modified Packards at the expense of restored as original Packards. By condoning these cars you are turning the club into the Packard Street Rod Club. I think all you will do is turn the owners with the historically accurate restorations to find other venues and clubs to display their cars with interest in historical accuracy. Remember what happened to the Milestone Car Society, their interest in expanding the club ultimately made the club irrelevant.

Let’s not do that to our club.

Jon S. Elmendorf

Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:44 pm

Re: Judging Changes

Post by mcsilves32 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:47 am

I do agree. What is the rationale for adding judging and trophies for modified cars? If it is just to gain club membership, I don't have the insight to assess that. But having a modified car does not prevent an owner from being a member, displaying a car, and enjoying the benefits of a show. It just means he can't go home with a trophy for an authentic car. And it also does not prevent him from having his car judged and getting a trophy from a "custom" car show. I'm not sure the benefits of adding a modified category to authentic shows outweighs the potential impacts over time. And right now it is not intended to be treated as a "authentic" trophy, but why wouldn't that give in to real trophies in the future also.

There seems to be a significant movement towards "resto rods" where everyone wants the enjoyment of showing their "antique car" but driving a modern suspension, brakes, engine, radio, A/C, etc. The more this happens the more we lose history that cannot be recovered. I don't understand that, as I believe the real appreciation of an antique car is not just looks, but how it rides, sounds, smells, etc. The technology is as much a part of the history of each car as the styling, etc. And how each car did NOT get modified over time is now as much a part of its history as how it exists to begin with. And the more I see of the TV auctions, the less I am impressed by the "perfect" resto rods and modified cars created from restorable cars, that out price original cars and seem to encourage this practice.

When people comment on my 1932 900, I am amazed how few people know about simple aspects of auto history, from early auto transmissions (automatic clutch), single tail lights, no turn signals, fabric tops, wood frames, mechanical brakes, adjustable shocks, hand cranks, etc. All these historic aspects seem to get lost when "modified" are updated for modern convenience or "rideability". And with that we lose the history.

I don't know how we encourage more people (young or old) to appreciate the real antiques, but I don't think adding modified categories is the right answer. Just my view.

Dave Czirr
Posts: 5093
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:30 am
Location: New Jersey

Re: Judging Changes

Post by Dave Czirr » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:19 pm

A response directed to my email by Frank Wemple and posted here with his permission. To others who wish to comment, please if at all possible post your thoughts on this forum where they can be viewed and shared with others. If not possible and you email your comments to me, please indicate your willingness to have me repost them here for you. Thanks.
To the Board of Directors of The Packard Club

Re: Recent Judging Changes

I strongly object to the two recent changes to The Packard Club judging rules: The new double standard for radial tires and the inclusion of modified Packards in the judging system.

The PAC is a club dedicated to the preservation of Packard automobiles in their original form as stated in our By-laws. To quote from Article I, "The Club shall advance the maintenance, preservation, authentic restoration and use of Packard vehicles . . ."

Deductions for radial tires. Club policy for judging deductions for use of radial tires should reflect our purpose; namely to promote correct and authentic preservation and restoration and that policy must be consistent. We could decide that the safety and handling advantages of radial tires are great enough to warrant an exception to authenticity and, as such, the use of radial tires must not garner a deduction in judging. Or, we could say that their advantages warrant only a small deduction. I can agree with either approach, but I firmly believe that our standard must be consistent. If radial tires are to be considered unauthentic for a Packard being considered for a Best of Show award, then they must be considered unauthentic for all other Packards being judged. Conversely, if a Packard with radial tires receives no deduction and can qualify for a First in Class award, then that Packard and any other Packard with radial tires must be eligible for a Best of Show award. In other words, either radial tires are allowable or they are not. Which is it?

Judging classes for modified Packards. I strongly object to having judging classes (and even exhibition classes) for modified Packards, or street rods. As I noted above, one of our Club’s primary purposes is to promote correct and authentic preservation and restoration of Packard vehicles. In this case, the words “correct” and “authentic” were clearly meant to mean “as Packard manufactured the vehicle.” Street rods are neither correct nor authentic according to this definition. There are many fine clubs that cater specifically to modified vehicles, but according to our By-laws, The Packard Club is not one of them. Allowing the exhibition, and particularly judging, of modified Packards at PAC events is clearly contrary to what our Club stands for.

I firmly believe that it is misguided to think that a club of any kind can attract additional members and/or greater participation by watering down or abandoning the club’s established principles and purposes. In fact, it is almost certain that a club will lose more members than it will gain as a result of such actions. I think it is safe to say that most PAC members joined and remain members because the Club reflects their interests – authentic and correct Packard vehicles. When The Packard Club no longer reflects members’ interests and standards, many will lose interest and will no longer see a reason to remain a PAC member

Very truly yours,
Frank Wemple
PAC Membership Number 037572W
Mansfield Center, Connecticut

Al Pressman
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:34 pm

Re: Judging Changes

Post by Al Pressman » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:42 pm

It is the Packard Automobile Club, NOT the Packard Modified Club! Keep things the way they were. PLEASE....
Last edited by Al Pressman on Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:49 am

Re: Judging Changes

Post by dwightrh » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:07 pm

I am opposed to a class for modified cars, that were at one time Packards.

A class for these cars simply lends credibility to them and the people who butcher them.

This class merely encourages people to butcher Packards that otherwise can be restored

correctly. The tired, old argument that some cars can't be restored but can be turned into

hotrods is ridiculous. It costs no more to restore a car authentically than it does to alter it.

Dwight Heinmuller

Dave Czirr
Posts: 5093
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:30 am
Location: New Jersey

Re: Judging Changes

Post by Dave Czirr » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:39 pm

Comment received by email from Robert J. Neal and posted with his permission:

I must admit I agree with you and Mr. Elmendorf. I have, as have many others, in recent years moved to radial tires on my post-war Packards. I held off until there were producers who offered reasonable copies of the appearance of the old bias ply whitewalls. If my cars are judged I am willing to accept the point penalty in trade for the far superior handling and safety radials offer since I drive my cars extensively, and, after all, that is one of the prime objectives of the club. I agree, however, that to remove all penalties for their use (and inability to qualify for best of show is not sufficient to reply that all penalties have not been removed) is to invite future problems.

As to the new judging class for modified cars, I think that is a mistake for the reasons put forth by Mr. Elmendorf. No matter what one says, it is condoning and even encouraging the practice of street rodding or otherwise customizing the cars. True, it is your car to do with as you see fit. But if you want to have it judged, join an appropriate club for cars of the type. Lots of us belong to multiple clubs. Are we trying to kick you out of PAC? Not me anyway. If you have a Packard interest, come on in. Maybe you have a stock Packard as well.