Larry Nannini’s 1934 Packard 1104 Super 8, Best in Show at Forest Grove. Photos by John Vincent, unless otherwise noted.
If this 1934 Packard 1104 Super 8 sport phaeton looks familiar, it should. The stately open-air touring car, owned by Larry Nannini of Colma, California, took Best in Show honors at last year’s Ironstone Concours d’Elegance, shortly after earning a class ribbon at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Packard began the 2015 show season on a high note, taking a class win at the 2015 La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, and last weekend the car continued its streak by capturing Best in Show at the 2015 Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance, held on the campus of Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.
Introduced in August of 1933, the Eleventh Series Packards came in wheelbases ranging from 129 ½ inches (the Packard 1100) up to 147 inches (the Packard 1108). Directly in between these extremes was the 1104, which rode on a 141 7/8-inch wheelbase and shared its 384.8-cu.in. L-head inline eight engine, rated at 145 horsepower, with the 1103 and 1105 Super Eight models. These mid-range Packards came in eleven body styles, including enclosed and open-air variants that carried as many as seven and as few as two occupants.
Owner Larry Nannini with his 1934 Packard.
Though styling didn’t change significantly from the 1933 model year, the front fenders were extended to nearly reach the front bumper, which featured a horizontal slit to emulate a double bar bumper. The big changes came under the skin, where the Eleventh Series Packards received an oil temperature regulator, a hidden fuel filler (beneath the left taillamp), and a heavy-duty generator designed to power the newly-optional in dash vacuum tube radio.
In total, just 1,920 examples of the 1103, 1104 and 1105 Super Eight Packards were constructed before Packard moved on to the Twelfth Series models in 1934. Of Eleventh Series models, the dual cowl sport phaeton body style is believed to be the rarest, with a mere five examples of the extravagant body style said to have been constructed. Three are known to remain today, which makes this beige beauty exceptional in more than one sense of the word.
Al McEwan’s 1947 Chrysler Town & Country, the Best Closed Car.
James and Gail Smalley’s 1960 Porsche 356, the Best Open Car.
Diane Natt Kelly and Tim Shields’s 1935 Buick Model 40, the Best Non-Classic Car.
Other cars earning accolades at Forest Grove included the 1947 Chrysler Town & Country owned by Al McEwan of Redmond, Washington, which captured Best Closed Car; the 1960 Porsche 356 owned by James and Gail Smalley of Wauna, Washington, which captured Best Open Car; and the 1935 Buick Model 40 owned by Diane Natt Kelly and Tim Shields of Portland, Oregon, which captured Best Non-Classic Car.
Gary Groce’s 1972 Datsun 240Z. Photo courtesy Gary Groce.
Another car deserving of mention was the 1972 Datsun 240 Z owned by Hemmings reader and frequent commenter Gary Groce and his wife Sylvia, of Portland, Oregon. Gary’s Z took home top honors in the Datsun Z Cars 1970-’79 class, and was nominated by the show judges for the Best Original category as well. There’s a story behind Gary’s car, and he’s the most qualified to tell it:
I saw a 1972 Datsun 240Z for sale in Indiana in January of 2015 with 23K original miles, being sold by the original owner with all documents. As a joke, I sent the link to my wife and said “someday, I’d like to have another one of these.” On a whim, I contacted the seller and after lots of questions I decided it was just too rich for my blood. On Valentine’s Day, my wife of 34 years told me she bought the car. Believe it or not, it has the original tires from new.
My wife and I had to travel about 20 miles north of here to pick it up at a gravel lot filled with mud holes and there it sat…off loaded from the carrier after being dragged across the entire nation in some of the worst weather lately. At first, I was disappointed because it wasn’t orange as it appeared in the photos, it was more red and of course it was strewn with mud and gravel and who knows what from its nationwide tour on the open carrier. One of the first things I noticed was some paint overspray on the rubber hood guides from the hood repaint done 42 yrs ago…I was discouraged seeing that. Anyway, we paid the trucker and I reluctantly got in it to drive it home down I-5 on the 43-year old Bridgestone tires.
It started and ran beautifully. I kept the speed down to 40mph on the Interstate due to the old rubber with my wife following in the Jeep with the flashers going. Also, I didn’t turn on the wipers in spite of the rain because there was a lot of gravel sitting on the original blades from the road trip. Got home, stuck the thing in the garage, went back to work to finish the day and then came home and went to work on her. First, I carefully vacuumed all of the gravel I could out of the nooks and crannies while in the garage, then I pulled it out and did a very careful and thorough rinsing and washing after removing the original hub caps and washing them separately. I hosed out wheel wells and under the car and did a preliminary hosing and washing under the hood to remove any potential salt and road crap from the trip west. After it was thoroughly cleaned, I realized what I had.
Unquestionably 23K original miles with a very good color match re-spray of the hood and upper fenders 42 yrs ago with some minor overspray on a few things easily re-moved. The rest of the car, all original, beautifully maintained paint with a few minor dings that probably can be taken out with paintless dent removal.
Inside were all of the receipts since new, including the dealer invoice, color brochure from 1971, owners manual and 2 original keys [one, never used in the original box]. The original owner had previously UPS’d the original title which I haven’t changed yet. Under the hood, all of the original stickers are in place and excellent and there is some factory felt pen notes on the radiator mount with dates from 72’. The original “Koito” headlights are still in place as are the original natural metal wipers that are almost always black from being re-placed with modern units. The best part was when I felt just like Howard Carter discovering King Tut’s tomb and opened up the secret tool compartments in the back and found the tools in their original plastic wrapping in the vinyl pouch and wheel chocks and jack having never been removed. And then on to the spare tire compartment under the like-new carpet where I was greeted by the smell of 43 yr old Bridgestone rubber wafting out from the never used spare.
Gary and his wife Sylvia on the way to the winner’s circle. Photo courtesy Gary Groce.
For further details on the 2015 Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance, visit ForestGroveConcours.org.
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