After 53 Year Absence, ’34 Packard V12 and Its Owner Return to Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
In 1955, San Francisco police officer Marvin Zukor drove his 1934 Packard V12 Convertible Victoria about 100 miles down the California coast to participate in the third Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Fifty-three years later, Zukor and his prized possession will again be competing in the August 17 Concours, which has grown from a local collector car show into an annual showcase for classic automobiles from around the world.
The lineage of Zukor’s Packard is rather unique: it’s first two owners have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The car was originally purchased from a Beverly Hills auto dealer in 1933 by actor Cesar Romero, who starred in dozens of films, but is possibly best known as the Joker on TV’s Batman. The next owner was sportscaster-actor Bill Stern, who broadcast the first major league baseball game on TV.
After World War II, the Packard somehow became a Stanford University “rally car” driven around the stadium track during football games.
“The car was used and abused when I bought it,” says Zukor. “The V12 engine had holes and was shot, there was a busted water pump and the entire car was a mess. But I loved it.”
He purchased the Packard in 1952 from a young man who, according to Zukor, had rescued the car from oblivion at Stanford, but was leaving to serve in the Korean War.
“I originally gave it a 1950s-type restoration, including a $100 paint job, new engine and upholstery,” says Zukor, a founding member of the Northern California Region of the Classic Car Club of America. “I then showed it at the 1955 Pebble Beach Concours and got a prize for second place (in class) – a little thing to put on my dashboard.”
Zukor, who will be attending the 2008 Concours with his wife Vivian and her two children, was invited to return to the event by Chris Bock, a longtime friend and a member of the Pebble Beach Selection Committee. Bock says that his committee loves the fact that the car has been used its entire life and “for most of the past 53 years, Marvin has been pouring oil into the car and driving it around northern California.
“As it turns out, he had a true classic car before most people even knew about classics. It’s a truly striking vehicle.”
To ready his Packard for Pebble Beach after a 53-year absence and thousands of driving miles around San Francisco and environs, Zukor has hired classic car restorer Craig Lynch (Cooks Upholstery and Classic Restoration) to return the vehicle to pristine condition.
“I was a San Francisco cop for 30 years, a U.S. Marshall for 15 years, in the Navy for four years and I was a Boy Scout for one year. Now, within the past few years, I’ve been focused on restoring my Packard once again. Let’s just say I’ve spent a little more on its second restoration.”