Wish Upon a Car
Every car selected by Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has a story to tell. These tales of lost and found, family history, wishes fulfilled and escapes from destruction are part of what make the Pebble Beach Concours experience so exceptional.
Take the story of Danny Howard’s 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II. The car is the unusual combination of a right-hand drive with an English chassis and an American body. And it’s just been painstakingly restored. But how Danny acquired the car may trump even this pedigree. A few years back Danny was hosting a Super Bowl party. During the game there was an auction on eBay for an antique gas pump on which Danny had his eye. He asked his son, Phillip, to watch the computer and place a bid during the last moments of the auction.
The good son dutifully kept track of the bidding. In between checking the auction’s status Phillip scanned eBay car auctions. “Hey Dad, look at this,” he shouted when he came across a beautiful 1930s Rolls-Royce. “That’s great!” said Danny. In an expansive mood, he added, “Let’s place a bid and maybe we’ll get lucky.” With that he went back to the excitement of the game and being a gracious host.
With just moments to go before the auction was up, Phillip yelled, “You’ve been outbid.” Thinking he was talking about the gas pump, Danny told his son to up their offer. Phillip did and they won…the Rolls-Royce, not the gas pump.
“I’d bought cars on eBay before but always after talking in-depth with the sellers, getting detailed pictures, really looking into things,” Danny explains. “I was, of course, not sure of exactly what I was going to get when the Phantom arrived by transporter. But the car was incredible; it looked good and ran great. When we began restoration after several years of driving the car, we found that every piece was stamped with the original body number. The car was completely original!”
If Danny and his Roll-Royce are a case of “meeting cute,” as they say in Hollywood, Gordon and Betty Logan’s 1928 Packard is a story of love found, and lost, and found again. Gordon Logan’s dad Joseph emigrated from Scotland to South Carolina in 1919, where he achieved success in the lumber and furniture businesses. In what Gordon calls the "only extravagant thing my dad ever did,” Joe bought a new
Packard 4-43 Phaeton in October of 1928.
The car stayed in the family as the years rolled by. Gordon’s older brother even used it to drive to high school in 1955 and ’56. But parts were impossible to find in South Carolina at the time, maintaining the car was a challenge and the car was eventually sold for $337.50.
In the 1970s Gordon tracked the car down but the then-owner wouldn’t part with it. More years went by until it was 2004. Visiting his hometown Gordon ran into the retired mayor who asked about the Packard. One thing led to another, a cold trail became hot, and soon Gordon was talking to the current owner of his dad’s Packard, Jeff Bayuck in Nazareth, Penn.
Jeff invited Gordon to come see the car and Gordon enthusiastically accepted. He brought along cherished family photos showing the car when it was new and how it had been a steel and glass and rubber member of his family for decades. After Jeff let Gordon take a drive in the Packard through the Pennsylvania countryside Gordon broached the subject of buying the car. Jeff declined but then, after several weeks passed, called to say that his conscience was bothering him. “The car means more to you,” Jeff said, “I like the car very much, but it’s just another car to me.”
“We’re fortunate Jeff is such a gentleman,” says Gordon. Since then the car has gone to Murray Motorcar in Monroe, Wash., for a complete frame-off restoration, back to the colors and look it had when Joseph Logan bought it 82 years ago. “This year we look forward to presenting our family Packard at Pebble Beach!” says Gordon.
While each car’s journey is unique, on August 15 their journeys converge at Pebble Beach.