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Packards in the Sierra
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Packard Don
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Driving from the lower Sierra foothills town of Sutter Creek down hwy 49 heading back to the higher Sierra town of Arnold, I grabbed a few shots out the window of the moving car (I was a passenger) of this 1955 Packard Clipper sedan that I had seen here before outside the town of San Andreas. Not sure but I think it’s a Custom.

However, some miles prior I was surprised to see an early ‘30s Packard (it was brown and a roadster I believe) heading the other way, then a few miles after it were more vintage cars including a half dozen Packards, one of which was a Darrin and all prewar. They were not all together so I had no photo opportunities at highway speed. After getting the photo below and turning onto hwy 4 back up into the Sierra there were more coming down out of the mountains including another Darrin! There were two Packard Blue 1941 Coupes and the Darrins but the rest were early ‘30s or maybe even late ‘20s along with several prewar and early postwar Cadillacs, a prewar Buick or two, a Chevrolet, a Rolls-Royce and others.

We’ve been up here for two weeks and saw no posters or signs of a car show so anyone know what the event was? I know there is something in Sparks, Nevada today and tomorrow but these were a bit late for that and going the wrong way to get there.

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Posted on: 5/17 18:44
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Re: Packards in the Sierra
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Packard Don
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It turns out that what we saw was one leg of CCCA’s Best Of The West CARavan! Our timing must have been good although not all of the cars were Classics. For those who don’t know, CCCA is the Classic Car Club of American and they determine what is a Classic or not.

Posted on: 5/18 10:50
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Re: Packards in the Sierra
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Must've been nice seeing a slew of old, authentic cars suddenly appear in the middle of nowhere.

However, the CCCA "determines" absolutely nothing except what 2,200 or so coupon clippers happen to like. The CCCA's listed membership figure includes what they call "associate members," aka wives. That the CCCA considers themselves the final arbiter is conceit.

Remember: No one used the term "classic" until LA attorney car buff Robert Gottlieb, writing in one of his 1951 Motor Trend columns, coined the term for the white elephants languishing on the backrow of any big city used car lot for want of unavailable tires. The next year, some 20- and 30-something tri-state executives and trust funders enamored of the big, expensive cars of the '20s, 30s, early '40s, started the CCCA. Since a few on their vanity list were postwar continuations, these were added through 1948.

The paucity of accepted sport cars tells you sheer size as much a CCCA requisite as anything, witness the more roadable Buick Roadmaster not accepted, but the same car with a few inches longer wheelbase and some fancier interior trim was.

I knew several of these early CCCAers. Some were nice, enthused folk. But a club is a club, and remember what Groucho said about them. Since those long ago days of more relaxed events, the CCCA has morphed into rubber chicken dinners at pricey hotels at which members exchange trophies. "Grand Classics," these meetings are called. New members are essentially fodder; numbers to imbue these trophies with value. Anyone long in this hobby well knows there is no such thing as a "100-point" car, and many are what old plane friends called "paint overhauls," witness the "trouble truck" a l w a y s bringing up the rear of any tour.

The CCCA's a club. No more, no less.

When a Duesenberg erroneously claimed to have been Greta Garbo's (she never owned, only drove it a few times) became the first automobile at major auction to approach $100,000 in 1972, suddenly everyone glommed onto the term "classic;" pizza, Coke, mortgage companies, oldies radio stations. The Korean War generation wanted their tri-Chevs and 1955-57 T-Birds to share the limelight, then the War II generation's boomer kids, tired of being in their shadow, so termed their Mustangs, muscle cars, et al.

Posted on: 5/18 14:57
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