- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Tom Bradley has long been infatuated with Packard motor cars so it was not unusual to find him at a Packard swap meet in 2001.

There he saw a magnificent 1942 Packard that, because of the war-shortened production year, was a very rare and expensive car. He knew that after World War II Packard had produced very similar models in much greater numbers, which meant that they would be more affordable. He mentioned to a friend that he would be interested in a post-war version of the 1942 Packard they had seen.

Mr. Bradley has since learned to be careful of what he wishes. In 2003 that friend telephoned to say a 1947 Packard Super Clipper was being offered for sale on EBay. Mr. Bradley jumped on the Internet, saw the pictures of the Packard and was smitten.

When the bidding dust had settled, he was the high bidder but the reserve had not been met.

A few months later the same car was back on EBay. Same song, second verse. Mr. Bradley again was the high bidder.

This time he called the Canadian owner’s broker in Kamloops, British Colombia, and offered a bumped-up price if the owner would deliver the car to the U.S. side of the border. An affirmative reply from the owner was forthcoming.

In November, an anxious Mr. Bradley received an unexpected telephone call from United Postal Service in Blaine, Wash., requesting approval to bring the Packard across the border. Strange as it sounds, that is how the Packard was delivered, via UPS.

From there the Packard was loaded onto an 80-foot-long car carrier and began the cross-country journey to Springfield, Va. A few weeks later, on Dec. 22, the enormous truck arrived. The Packard wouldn’t start so it was winched off the truck. Batteries often fail on such trips so Mr. Bradley simply pushed his car into his garage and summoned a couple of friends to come with their six-volt cars so that he could jump-start his new/old Packard.

That’s when a revelation occurred. Near the fire wall on the left side of the car is a six-volt battery that operates every electrical function except the starter. The generator recharges this battery.

Surprisingly, on the right side of the engine was a 12-volt battery connected only to the starter. Mr. Bradley says he gets about a dozen starts out of the battery before he has to recharge it. He surmises the 12-volt starter battery system was installed in response to the severe Canadian winters.

Since that early Christmas present arrived, he has had the master brake cylinder rebuilt. Beyond that, he has just polished his new Packard.

Records indicate the car has been painted coral blue from the time it was sold new to Brewster’s Tour Co. in Calgary for use in transporting skiers to Banff. The second owner was John Edmunds in Strathmore, Alberta, followed by Brian Parry of Three Hills, Alberta, who parked the Packard in a farm garage from 1966 until May 1994, when Gerry Whittaker came to the rescue. He took the car to Valley View, Alberta, where he later began to take it apart. He also bought a 1946 Packard for use as a parts car.

Two years and 10 months later, the frame-off restoration was complete.

Two years later, Mr. Whittaker died. Mr. Whittaker’s son, Ian, eventually bought the car from the estate and soon thereafter offered it for sale on EBay.

At the far reaches of the trunk is a stand-up 7.00x15-inch spare tire. Both bumpers are capped at both ends with chrome-plated wing tips.

Fog lights are mounted on the front gravel pan.

Behind the traditional Packard grille is a 356-cubic-inch, nine-bearing straight-eight-cylinder engine producing 165 horsepower.

The two-barrel downdraft carburetor drinks from a 20-gallon gasoline tank. Fuel economy never was Packard’s strong suit.

The luxurious 4,100-pound Super Clipper is a half inch shy of 18 feet long and it rides on a 127-inch wheelbase.

There have been no unpleasant surprises for Mr. Bradley. The paint is perfect, the chrome is perfect and there are no mechanical woes. His wish really was answered.

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