The 31st Annual Florida Packard Club Meet was held on Sunday, January 28th, 2024 in Sarasota. This was our first January Meet. The previous 30 Meets were all held during the month of November. Because several of these November Meets were affected by rain and wind (Hurricane season lasts through November), we changed the Annual Meet to the month of January.
The Meet was held in the usual location, Jacki Kaiser’s lovely “Wit’s End” property, so named by our founder, the late and great Tom Kaiser.
As it turned out, this year’s Meet was again threatened by rain. There were showers during the night on Saturday, and more were predicted for Sunday. This deterred some Packards owners, but attendance was good, with over 100 club members and visitors participating.
Despite the threat of rain, which usually dampens car show participation, the following Packards were displayed in the “preferred” back yard show field:
1915 Twin Six Roadster, Norm and Kathy Madsen
1937 115C Sport Coupe, Carter Richards
1937 115C Club Sedan, David and Andriana Rivaz and family
1948 Custom Eight Club Sedan, Rob and Hank Evans
1949 Club Sedan, Joe Wareham
1951 250 Convertible, Julio Martell
1953 Clipper Sedan, Marty and Sue Brackin
1953 Clipper Sedan, Matt Forlenza
1954 Packard Convertible, Steven Dragon
In addition to the Packards, there were quite a few vehicles that we (tounge-in-cheek) lovingly refer to as “Brand-X Cars.” Included were, among others, a 1915 Saxon Touring, a Model T, a 1929 Pierce Arrow Touring, a 1930 Franklin Sedan, a 1956 Imperial Hardtop and more recent British and German sports cars.
As always, hamburgers and hot dogs were cooked fresh on-site and served up with all the fixins’ and all Packard drivers were provided lunch for free.
The Meet was a great opportunity to visit with friends old and new. The Packards brought us together, but the friendships keep us together.
Our 3rd Annual “March Weekend Tour” was held March 16-19, 2023, in Tallahassee, Florida. The event included a Thursday night “Driver’s Meeting and Pizza Party” and three full days of touring. Ten vintage autos, mostly Packards, and twenty-six people participated.
Every day, we drove in a different direction from our host hotel. Although Tallahassee is the seat of state government and home to several busy colleges, our tourists rarely saw any city traffic. The hotel is in a rural setting and beautiful country roads are everywhere around it. The Tallahassee region boasts miles of lovely canopy roads, and we drove on these often.
The tour days went as follows:
Friday, March 17th – 110 miles. The first driving day began with a 37-mile drive to the home and car collection of the Prince family in rural Georgia. We had coffee and doughnuts and perused their eclectic collection. We saw many wonderful antique cars including, of course, a Packard.
Next was our lunch stop at Mr. Chick Restaurant, also in Georgia. The Hadden family, proprieters of the restaurant, hosted lunch. We enjoyed a delicious catered meal as we sat at tables among antique autos and automobilia. The Hadden collection includes several large buildings packed with cars and displays from all eras. There are also about a dozen firefighting vehicles, and one large building is a firetruck/firefighting museum.
Our third stop was the Pope’s Museum in nearby Ochlocknee, GA. This is the former home and studio of Laura Pope Forester, self-taught artist, sculptor, and advocate for women in the 1920s-50s. The museum is now owned by our host, Michelle Dean, and her family. The Pope story is a fascinating one, and can be found in detail online.
Saturday, March 18th – 92 miles. We left the hotel at 8:15 and drove on twenty-four miles of canopy and country roads to Bradley’s Country Store. The store has been operating continuously since 1927, and entering it is like stepping back in time. Rocking chairs greet customers on the store’s front porch and wares include all sorts of groceries and dry goods. Bradley’s is renowned for their country sausage, and we enjoyed samples of their sausage as well as some of their cheese and dips.
Then, more beautiful roads led us to Thomasville, GA. Here we enjoyed lunch and shopping. Most of us ate at Jonah’s Fish and Grits, a local favorite. Jonah’s is home to great Southern cooking, and everything on the menu is awesome!
The final stops before the 42-mile drive back to Tallahassee were the Thomasville History Center and an amazing Victorian home, the Lapham-Patterson House. Both were fascinating.
Sunday, March 19th – 70 miles. More lovely canopy roads led us to Wakulla Springs State Park, in Wakulla, FL. The park is home to one of the world’s largest and deepest freshwater springs. The water is a constant 70-degrees year-round. Everyone was treated to a 45-minute guided boat tour along the beautiful Wakulla River. We saw alligators, manatees and all kinds of native birds in a magnificent natural setting. The park was also used as a backdrop for movies including Tarzan’s Secret Treasure (1941) and Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).
More country roads took us to O’Steen car collection, where we enjoyed a catered seafood meal and toured an outstanding collection of antique, classic, racing and micro-cars, and a restored Southern Cracker House. What a great stop!
Finally, we drove to the Tallahassee Automobile Museum. The world-class museum includes the collections of DeVoe and Shirley Moore. Countless items include nearly 200 show cars, trucks and motorcycles, including an unrestored 1896 Duryea and brands like Packard, Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg, Tucker and all the more common marques. There are Batmobiles and Batman Motorcycles, rare one-off Steinway Pianos, motors, fans, cash registers, calculators, knives, toys, dolls, sports memorabilia, law-enforcement items, firearms … the list goes on and on.
Tallahassee is one of Florida’s northernmost cities, and a far drive for most of our members. So, this year’s tour was smaller than prior tours. But participants raved about the roads, the tour stops and the food. Next year’s tour will be held in Mt. Dora, Florida. Mark your calendar now for next year’s Tour. It will happen March 7-10, 2024. Watch this website for details.
See Breaking News! for Tour Iinerary and Registration Form
Copyright 2024 Florida Packard Club, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Florida Packard Club is a Region of The Packard Club / Packard Automobile Classics, Inc.
Tom Kaiser co-founded the Devereaux-Kaiser Car Show with his longtime friend, Maurice Devereaux, in 1970 and never missed the meet in 45 years. It continues as the largest collector car show in Florida now sponsored by the Sarasota Firefighters Benevolent Fund and remains a free event, at his direction.