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Vintage Packard Donated to College’s Auto Restoration Program


A 1947 Packard Custom Super Clipper has been entrusted to Pennsylvania College of Technology’s automotive restoration program by Eleanor Packard, whose late husband – while no relation to the manufacturer – had a longtime connection to the classic American luxury car.

John Neal Packard, of Fallston, Maryland, was a retired engineering executive whose near-lifelong enthusiasm for Packards began at age 10. He organized car shows, borrowed a Packard limousine to chauffeur all three of his daughters on their wedding days, and – after he died in January 2006 – was transported to the cemetery in a Packard hearse, followed by a procession of other Packard owners in their iconic vehicles.

Eleanor Packard stands by the 1947 Packard Custom Super Clipper that has been donated to Penn College’s automotive restoration technology major.
Eleanor Packard stands by the 1947 Packard Custom Super Clipper that has been donated to Penn College’s automotive restoration technology major.

His wife of 47 years visited Penn College’s automotive restoration labs during the Spring 2016 semester, touring the College Avenue Labs where the vehicle will benefit students who share her husband’s reverence for the history in their hands.

She was accompanied by Dwight R. Heinmuller, of Sparks, Maryland, who has a lifetime involvement with Packards and has helped find homes for many of the couple’s vehicles.

“When Dwight suggested that I could donate the car to Pennsylvania College of Technology, I immediately liked the idea,” Eleanor Packard said. “Knowing that it is being preserved at the same time students are learning the art of antique automobile restoration seemed like the perfect solution.”

John Neal Packard, with the vehicle in 1967
John Neal Packard, with the vehicle in 1967

John Packard’s attention to detail is obvious in the supporting material that his widow shared with the college: family photos from when the vehicle was acquired in the 1960s, a thoroughly itemized list of Packard parts, period magazine advertisements for the Super Clipper – imploring readers to “Ask the man who owns one” – and a copy of the vehicle’s change in title to “antique” status.

And his knowledge is reflected in the many awards he garnered over the years.

As editor of the Chesapeake Region Antique Automobile Club of America bulletin, he received the AACA Master Editor Award in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 2001. In 2001, he was also honored with a Master Webmaster Award and the Ann S. Eady Memorial Award. He served on the board of the AACA Library and Research Center from 1997 to 2005, and as its president in 2000 and 2001.

For more information about the automotive restoration technology major, call the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies at 570-327-4516.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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