1936 120B Dietrich Bodied
The first person to own this car was Mr. Provan from
Collingwood who owned a timber business as well as a farm
down in Gippsland at Swan Ranch. In 1939 when war
broke out the government confiscated all trucks and utilities
or any commercial vehicle for the war effort. Mr. Provan’s
vehicle was taken and sent to the body builders, James Flood
in Melbourne, where it was converted into a ute. It was used
in this form for the rest of war as a commercial vehicle.
The next owner was Charlie McNamara who was a marine
dealer. He used the Packard to collect empty beer bottles
around Melbourne for the halfpenny a bottle. I think he hit
every fence around Melbourne and its back alleys as the ute
had numerous dents all over.
Charlie retired after a few years and put the ute in his shed
and packed junk all around it. Many people wanted to buy
it but he would not sell because he thought it would be made
into a hot rod.
Smaka Fitzgibbons, my cousin, told me about the Packard.
I had just finished restoring a 1949 Packard (pregnant
elephant) and I took this to show Charlie who was so
impressed that he sold me the Packard for $450 knowing it
would get restored. It took a mate and me a day and a half
to get it out of the shed. Next day I put petrol in it and drove
it from Abbotsford to North Coburg unregistered. The last
registration when it was stored was 1957. I took it to Swan
Hill when we moved there in 1983 where it was stored for a
further 15 years.
I restored it in 2001, back to a ute rather than the original
sedan body that was on it for only 3 years, much to Johnny
McKenzie’s disgust. He reckoned I had ruined a good
Packard. Since then it had done about 10,000 kms.