Photo Preview: The 1949 Packard That’s Driving Miss Daisy

Photo of Packard owner Jack Osborne (at right) with cast members Craig Wallace and Nancy Robinette, and friend Travis Welch. Photo by Scott Suchman.

In April 2014, Ford’s photographed the actors appearing in this fall’s production of Driving Miss Daisy. To add an authentic flair to the photos, we reached out to vintage car enthusiasts to help us convey the look of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Jack Osborne of Faulkner, Maryland, stepped up to share his 1949 Packard with us for the on-location photo shoot in Alexandria, Virginia. Ford’s Costume Manager and motor enthusiast Emme Hall spoke with Osborne about the impeccable Packard.

Photo of Craig Wallace and Nancy Robinette by Scott Suchman.

The Packard is nearly 100% original, save for the tires and the paint. The 25-gallon fuel tank takes regular fuel and gets a pretty decent 14 mpg. She can cruise comfortably at 65 mph on the highway.

Osborne says, “A friend of a friend knew the original owner. It was well taken care of by this family, and I was able to buy it for $5,000. It’s not a barn find (classic vehicles found abandoned in abysmal condition and in major need of restoration), but rather what they call a survivor. The family loved, drove and took care of the car well enough so that even with 85,000 miles on the odometer and the original wiring she’s still going strong!”

Photo by Scott Suchman.

There are not many bells and whistles on the Packard, though. Options include an AM radio with an adjustable antenna, turn signals and an overdrive.

Photo by Scott Suchman.

“The overdrive is really interesting. It was not internal to the transmission like today. It was just an extra gear that was attached to the end of the transmission tail shaft. You get it up to speed and you have to reach down, let off the gas, pull a lever, and then get back on the gas. It will then lurch into this highway gear.”

Osborne also owns a 1963 Corvette and a 1964 Comet that he is working on. He drives the Packard at least once a month. About showcasing the Packard in the Ford’s photo shoot, he says, “The story of Driving Miss Daisy is so perfect, and like the Packard, needs to be shared and preserved. I can’t wait until some of my car-guy buddies drop by my garage and see that the Packard was ‘driving Miss Daisy!’”

A related post previously appeared at http://www.tflcar.com/2014/04/photo-of-the-day-time-warp-to-the-1949-packard

Emme Hall is Costume Manager for Ford’s Theatre and also a trophy-winning driver for the Mega Monkey Motorsports™ two-seat 1600 desert racer. She is one of only 17 American women to have participated in the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles, a nine-day all-female off-road rally in Morocco without GPS. Follow Emme on Facebook and Twitter.