Packard® Motor Car
Providing for the Future
Welcome to the Timing Stand Restoration Progress Page
Packard club news bulletin editor, Craig
Handley, visited the Proving grounds site recently to see the progress at the
Timing Stand and kindly supplied us with the following written words and
photos. "Visitors to the PAC 2006 National Meet this summer
will see many improvements at the Packard Proving Grounds. One of the most
remarkable transformations is taking place at the timing stand, which is
arguably one of the most recognizable features at the site. The
photo with the red 1936 model is from an original company advertisement and
shows the timing stand in its prime.
The photo with the red 1936 model is from an original company advertisement and shows the timing stand in its prime.
"This structure, dedicated
in 1928, has probably suffered most from decades of neglect. As the roof
deteriorated, rain water collected in the southern portion of the building,
rotting out the wooden sills. Over time, the timing stand of Packard began to
look more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Several years ago, Neal Porter
spearheaded an effort to temporarily shore up the structure with two-by-fours,
enclose the upper deck with plywood and tarp the leaking roof until proper
restoration could be done. The photo shows the stand before restoration
began. That restoration effort
finally began this winter (2006). The
weather in January was unusually mild, enabling work crews headed by Bruce
Webster and Alan Mabbott to begin bringing this famous structure back to life.
"The crew is following historic
preservation guidelines, which require preserving original materials whenever
possible. However, several pieces were unsalvageable due to rot including the
upper and lower sills of the observation deck which are being replaced with
exact duplicates. The columns were in relatively good shape, except for the
upper and lower trim pieces. These were expertly recreated exactly like the
originals by Tom Asmus and Bill Kroger. The columns are hollow and are given
structural strength by thick steel rods that resemble boat oars. The
“paddle” portion is bolted to the lower wall stud with four bolts and the
rod runs up though each column center. The rod end is threaded and a nut is used
to secure the column to the upper sill and roof assembly. These rods were in
good shape and were given a fresh coat of paint before they were reinstalled.
"Another point of interest is the western portion of the lower wall (facing the test track). During WWII, a tank crashed into this portion of the stand. Materials were scarce during wartime and plywood was used to repair the damage. Unfortunately, the plywood didn’t fit properly and moisture damaged this area as well. Rather than replacing the non-original plywood, this area will be restored to its original configuration. The original roof shingles were of a length that is not commonly available on the market today, so a special order was placed to have the proper length shingles supplied. All of the structural repairs have been made, the new roof shingles have been applied and many hours of scraping and painting have been done. The timing stand is well on its way to once again being a showplace at the Packard Proving Grounds Historic Site. The photo of Bob Valpey's 1929 Murphy towncar taken during the PAC National Meet last summer says it all." HISTORICAL FOOTNOTE: Who were the original "Friends of the Timing Stand?" CLICK HERE to find out.
Bruce Webster took these nice photos (below). On the left are 'The Elms of Honor' with Fall colors (2006) and on the right, with Winter snow (2007), looking down the main drive towards the flag pole. This view from the upper deck of the Timing Stand shows the interesting 'Packard Radiator Shape' of the median planting area.
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