1938 Packard Wins Class At Concours, Immediately Rolls Into Pond

This sort of sounds like the ending to a 1980s movie where some rich guy was trying to turn somebody’s grandma’s petting zoo into condos, but gets foiled by a band of plucky nerds: A 1938 Packard, immediately after winning its class at the Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance, rolled into a golf course pond and sank. Oops.


The car was a 1938 Packard Super Eight model 1605 Convertible Sedan, the most expensive model in Packard’s line. This particular one was bodied by the Bohman & Schwartz coachbuilding company, and is the only Sedan Convertible to have a removable hard top.

Interestingly, Bohman & Schwartz is probably best known for designing the Phantom Corsair, also known as the Flying Wombat:

According to the Island Packet, the car had just won best-of-class in the American Classics 1925-1948 category at the Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance. Autoweek also reports that the car had somehow not had its the parking brake set.


Several bystanders tried to stop the car when they noticed it rolling down the hill toward the pond, but the combination of dress shoes and 5,000+ lbs of concours-grade Packard proved too much, and the big, elegant, mist-gray car slid elegantly into the pond, submerging almost completely with quiet dignity.

Though no one was recorded saying this out loud, I suspect that at least of the few attendees, seeing the large Packard slowly sink beneath the water, were reminded of John Everett Millais’ haunting 1851 painting, Ophelia:


Also unrecorded is the owner’s response to hearing that his incredibly valuable, award-winning, custom-bodied Packard just went for a swim, though I suspect we can assume that a spit-take of a $20+ cocktail was involved.


On the plus side, this really helped get Majer’s Diving some great exposure to a really choice demographic. If this starts a trend of priceless-car submersion, things could really pay off for the right diving-and-salvage company.


UPDATE: I should make it clear that this is a pretty awful thing to happen to an amazing car. I was told that the owner, Ralph Marano, said to everyone after the event “I am just thankful no one was hurt,” which is the right attitude.

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Jason Torchinsky

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)