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Packards cross America to celebrate 100 anniversary

Sun Advocate publisher

"Old Pacific" was only the second vehicle to cross America 100 years ago and its trip wound through Utah and Price. And now, 100 years later an anniversary re-run found Old Pacific II in Price last week to celebrate the anniversary.

The second car to cross the continent occurred in the summer of 1903 when Tom Fetch, who worked for Packard Motor Car Company of Warren, Ohio, drove his one cylinder "Old Pacific" Packard. A weekly update with photos appeared in car magazines and one picture showed Old Pacific stuck in the Price River. The trip took 61 days and ended August 21.

Old Pacific sits in the Henry Ford Museum and Terry Martin restored the original car in 1981. "We are very proud of the car's accomplishment and display it next to Henry Ford's famous 999 race car," said Martin recently on his way through Price.

It's been 100 years this summer and in honor of the landmark trip a Packard 100 anniversary rerun made an overnight stop in Price last week. In 1983 on the 80th anniversary of "Old Pacific's" transcontinental run a three-man team made up of Tom Fetch, John Martin and Terry Martin, driving their 1902 Model F across the nation following the original 1903 route. Tom Fetch is a grand nephew of the 1903 driver. "We had the time of our life and would not have been successful without help from Packard Clubs, and old car owners along the route," says Martin.

A similar run is happening now as the 100th anniversary is set to take 11 days, where the 1903 Packard is joined by hundreds of older Packards and cars along the way. Packard owners are joining the run at several overnight stops and tour with the fun for a day or two. Several older Packards were part of the trip through Salt Lake City and another group will join "Old Pacific" in Grand Junction, Colo.

This Thursday, July 24 the tour is set to drive to Jefferson, Ohio where a contingent of east coast cars will join the west cars for the National Packard Museum's annual car show.

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