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IRVINE : Passel of Packards Displayed for Show

Sixty gleaming Packard automobiles were assembled on a lawn at the Hyatt Regency Irvine on Sunday, awaiting a judge’s critical eye.

The pricey cars, sporting chrome, whitewalls and gentle lines, were on public display together for the first time as part of an annual competition sponsored by the Southern California Region of Packards International, based in Santa Ana. Previous competitions were private affairs for members only.

The cars, representing models dating from 1928 to 1956, were judged on authenticity, color and elegance in the 28th annual competition.

Most of the cars are only for show. Some could sell for up to $300,000, organizers said.

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William Conner of Las Vegas won best of show in the pre-World War II category with his 1929 P645 Phaeton. Neil Torrence of Arcadia won best of show for his 1947 Packard Custom 8 sedan.

Detroit-based Packard Motor Co. produced the sporty, chrome-lined car from 1899 until 1956, when the company merged with Studebaker Corp. and the line was phased out, according to Robert Escalante, one of the directors of Packards International.


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