Marshall seeking final proof on “Earhart’s Packard”

Australian Ross Marshall is the proud owner of a very special antique car, a 1935 Packard Super 8 Coupe that he’s convinced was made and gifted to Amelia Earhart.  His problem is that, technically, he can’t actually prove it, although I wonder who besides Marshall actually cares about the provenance of the car.

Nevertheless, I’ve agreed to further air Marshall’s story, in the hope that he can somehow find the final proof the Packard was indeed Amelia’s, and thus increase its value and prestige. 

“I think I mentioned in my email that I happen to own a very special and beautiful Packard Automobile which we believe was specially built and ultimately gifted to AE in Feb. 1935 by the President of Packard Motor Company,” Marshall wrote in a March 11 email to Saipan’s Marie Castro. I acquired my car from a retired Supreme Court Judge in Dallas Texas, who swore black ‘n blue our Packard belonged to AE from Feb. ’35 till she disappeared, at which time her husband G.P. [Putnam] kept the car for one year hoping she would return!”  Marshall continues, below:

This photo appeared in New Zealand’s Otago Daily Times on March 28, 2018, with the caption, “Gold Coast couple Ross and Robyn Marshall with their 1935 Packard.  Photo: Hokitika Guardian.

The sad part about the critical documented history of our Packard was No. 1, The Department of Roads in Dallas had a fire in the early ’50’s which destroyed all the files and records of ownership of The City beyond the early forties.  The late ’40s title we hold shows the last time our car was registered was 1948, the original license plates are still on our car to this day! 

Then, No. 2, we have the history of The Packard Motor Company with a similar problem.  It appears when Packard was amalgamating with Studebaker in the late 60’s the two opposing Sales Directors had such a dislike for each other, the Packard man destroyed by fire, all the build records and buyers of Packard going back more than 50 years of corporate history!

So what do we have which confirms the history and ownership of Amelia with our Packard? 

All we know is AE always owned and drove exotic automobiles with unique body styles, and pretty colors. apparently her favorite color is blue!  We also know she was an outstanding attraction to Corporate America, a sponsor’s dream, who wanted her association with their product.  Packard Motor Co. at that time was the largest car manufacturer in the USA, their association with AE was paramount!  What we can confirm is that AE and The President of Packard were pictured together is Manhattan New York in Feb 1935, announcing the new Packard range of Automobiles for 1935, the very same week as Packard delivered the blue Packard Coupe through their Dallas Packard dealer?  Is this a coincidence?

This photo appeared in New Zealand’s Otago Daily Times on Oct. 29, 2017 in a story headlined, 1935 Packard Built for Amelia Earhart on Display”  The caption read, “Custom made for Amelia Earhart.  Displayed [sic] at Warbirds Air Show in Nov 2017 in New Zealand.  Still bears her initials “AE.’ ”

Our Packard has her “AE” initial ‘s still permanently displayed today [no photo available].

So, how does  all this fit with you and Saipan, you may well ask? Somewhere out there is a picture or a story relating to Amelia and or her husband which associated them with our blue Packard Coupe!  If we can confidently establish the history, it will enhance the value of our car significantly indeed.  We know as fact various people want to see her Packard back in The USA and on display somewhere where it should be seen.  There is to this date, no sign of her plane so her only tangible asset indeed is her Packard.

If we could find evidence confirming her ownership, the value of our Packard would increase considerably and we would be delighted in contributing to your very worthy AEMMI funding, without question!  Somewhere, in files, in pictures, there is a reference to the association we are looking for, maybe somewhere in the books you have most generously donated might be a start?

I have had many significant enquirers to pass the ownership and ship the Packard back to the USA so she can be enjoyed by all.  I am now well into my eighties and would love to see her car back in the USA where it belongs.

I would love to see your monument completed, I compliment you on your forthright vision and sincerely hope we can see completion in our lifetime together!  If we can achieve the result our Amelia Packard deserves, we will see your monument completed!

I look forward to further communication with you Ms. Marie, hopefully we can meet in person sometime in the future, no doubt very aware of the travel restrictions we sadly endue with the awful Corona Virus the world is currently enduring.

Rear view of the 1935 American Packard Coupe, from the story in Australia’s Otago Daily Times of Oct. 29, 2017,

In a March 12 email to me, Marshall expanded on the history of his car:

Back in 2018 we were invited to ship our Packard Coupe to New Zealand for a World Packard Car Club Rally along with some 20 very special Packards from the USA.  We ultimately enjoyed a full year with the Packard, touring both the North and South Islands, all the time enjoying incredible notoriety because of the AE association.

. . . We have enjoyed restoring the AE Packard to its former glory, over the past 14 years, we have won numerous trophies, she is an absolute delight to drive, a real honor to own, but she should be where her real home is, back in the USA in an appropriate location for all to enjoy.

Maybe with your help this might happen.  If it does, Marie would not need to find any other donors to achieve her dream. I would commit to building the AEMMI monument personally, sooner rather than later too!

Ross Marshall,
Stargate Park,
Tallebudgera,
Australia

As you can see, I have a personal interest in Mr. Marshall’s final success in nailing down his Packard as Earhart’s, about which no one should have any doubt to begin with.  Should that happen, we have his pledge that he would build the AEMMI monument “personally.”  This would be an answer to all our prayers, to say the least.

Of course we’d like everyone to contribute to the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument on Saipan (see March 16, 2018 story), and all donations are most appreciated.  Please make your tax-deductible check payable to: Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument, Inc., and send to AEMMI, c/o Marie S. Castro, P.O. Box 500213, Saipan MP 96950.  The monument’s success is 100 percent dependent on private donations, and everyone who gives will receive a letter of appreciation from the Earhart Memorial Committee.

7 responses

  1. What an interesting association to Ms. Earhart. The automobile looks beautiful in the photos. I wish him good luck in this endeavor.

    Like

  2. Stuart R. Brownstein | Reply

    Thanks again Mike, for keeping us informed ! Be well my friend ! Stuart

    Like

  3. William H. Trail | Reply

    Greetings to All:

    Has anyone ever read of AE being gifted a Packard automobile? I have not. Surly if a major automobile manufacturer such as Packard had gifted one of their top-of-the-line autos to a celebrity such as AE wouldn’t their advertising department have made a big deal out of it? No mention of a Packard (or photo) in “Amelia Earhart Image and Icon” edited by Kristen Lubben and Erin Barnett (2007) International Center for Photography. No mention of a Packard in the link provided.

    https://www.macsmotorcitygarage.com/the-cars-of-amelia-earhart/

    All best,

    William

    Like

    1. William,

      Interesting take, and goes to show that some readers of this blog are always thinking and take nothing at face value.

      Mike

      Like

      1. William H. Trail

        Mike,

        I’ve been chewing away on this and I’m highly skeptical of this whole Packard thing. Something’s just not right.

        Ross Marshall alleges that the president of the Packard Motor Company (PMC) gifted AE a 1935 Packard Super 8 Coupe in February 1935. Although not named by Marshall, the president of PMC at the time was James Alvan Macauley. Macauley was president from 1916 to 1939. At the time of the alleged gifting, AE and GP were residing in Rye, NY. Therefore, upon transfer to AE the vehicle would be registered to her in New York. I would think that a check of the motor vehicle records for 1935 archived by the Commonwealth of New York Department of Motor Vehicles would be worth doing.

        On 28 July 1935, AE and GP purchased a home and moved to 10042 Valley Spring Lane in North Hollywood, CA. If they possessed a 1935 Packard Super 8 Coupe it stands to reason that the vehicle would then be re-registered in California. A check with the California DMV for archived vehicle registrations is worth looking into as well.

        In the back of his book, “Legerdemain,” Robert K. Bowman provides a detailed almost day-by-day account of AE’s life. There is nothing for February 1935 about AE being gifted a Packard automobile, or having a photo op with the president of Packard — both fairly significant events if they actually happened. I don’t see something that newsworthy falling though the cracks and being “lost to history.” It would be the same if the Ford Motor Company had gifted a 1968 Mustang GT to Steve McQueen, and it wasn’t publicized. No way!

        Then, there is America’s Packard Museum in Dayton, OH. Mr. Robert Signom III is Curator. His email is:

        rsignom3@americaspackardmuseum.org

        I would think that if Packard gifted AE a Super 8 Coupe the curator of America’s Packard Museum would surly know about it. I would also think that Mr. Marshall would have contacted him by now. The museum was easy enough to find. It didn’t require Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe. I did it this morning.

        All best,

        William

        Like

      2. Thanks William, this is indeed something to chew on. I’ll send an email to the Packard Museum curator to see what he has to say. Thanks for your outstanding sleuthing.

        Mike

        Like

  4. I have never understood the fascination people have with these old relic cars. They did not run that well either.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: