By Geraldine Craw

The newest arrival to join the museum's Packard Motor Car Fleet is a 1938 maroon-coloured Packard Straight Eight Convertible Sedan. This car certainly exhibits the style and grace that characterised Packard over their production years.

The car was imported in 2017 from Kansas, USA and originally belonged to Associated Press Photographer – Joseph Rosenthal. Joe gained fame by taking the famous photo, 'Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima' which depicts six United States Marines raising a US flag atop Mt Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima. This photo later won him the Pulitzer Prize. (Iwo Jima was a Japanese Island where US Marines fought a bloody battle and won the island off the Imperial Japanese Army in 1945.)

Joe exhibited the car at shows and parades winning frequent prizes. It was sold and eventually ended up in the Kansas Classic Car Museum from where Fenton Craw purchased the vehicle. This car is known as a 120 series, junior model which first appeared in 1935 as a lower-priced Packard line. The straight eight, side-valved engine is 282 cubic inch capacity with 120 horse power.


Our car has no side mounts as they were an optional extra. This gives the car a very elegant-streamlined look. It is the only convertible of this model in New Zealand.

The car also boasts the famous Pelican mascot (also called the Cormorant) optional from 1932 through to the end of Packard's auto production in 1958. The Pelican mascot was inspired by the company crest dating back to the original Packard family coat of arms in England. Also available on some model-years was 'Daphne at the Well' and the 'Goddess of Speed', both of which were inspired by the Greek fables. You will see these delightful bonnet ornaments as you tour through our collection. Prior to 1929, Packard had a moto-meter (temperature gauge) incorporated into the radiator cap with the mascot attached to it.

The convertible is the perfect car to take to the Napier Art Deco weekend, held in February.