“Ask the man who owns one” was Packard’s slogan since the earliest days of the marque.
Or ask Ralph Marano, Sr., a Packard man of long standing who has been seized by one of the most dignified and elegant obsessions in the car collecting hobby. Ralph really likes Packard show cars. He likes them so much that he has embarked upon a crusade to collect all of them.
His Packard collection numbers an astonishing 58 cars. His Packard show car inventory, ten Packards from the 1950s, will become The Packard Concept Cars of Ralph Marano at the 19th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Touchingly, Marano’s newest Packard show car is the 1955 Request. The car earned its unusual name from the small avalanche of letters that poured into Packard during the 1950s asking for a return, or at least a reprise, of Packard’s distinctive and famous vertical grill design of the thirties. Packard’s Chief Stylist Richard Teague acquiesced.
After a tour of Packard dealers following the 1955 car show season, the Request returned to Detroit just in time for the company to close its doors forever.
It was driven out of the factory and vanished for more than two decades. Marano found the car, with accident damage, sitting in a field. In 1983 it was restored and it re-debuted at the Packard Club annual convention in Oakland, CA wearing the proper Packard ivory and copper paint.
“This is something you can’t see anywhere else,” said Mark Becker, Vice-Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “Ralph Marano’s Packard Concept Cars class is the first time we’ve had a one-man class. With the Chrysler Concept Cars class and Marano’s Packards, there might be a light element of time travel to the 19th annual Amelia.”