Meet the Old Timer, a 1931 Packard racer

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook...

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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Every now and then, a car surfaces that is just so unique that people stop and stare. Old Timer is one of those cars.

The current owners bought the car in Maine and brought it back to Ontario to join their Packard hearse as a fun driver for around town. They had wanted a boat tailed Packard runabout, so when this recreation appeared, they snapped it up.

Once the car made it back to Ontario, it was discovered that while it looked cool, the ’31 Packard-based speedster was far from being ready to buzz the town.

Over the past couple of years, the folks at Hitman Hotrods have reworked much of the car to make it safe and make it as reliable as possible while retaining the traditional appeal. The wiring and fuel systems have been updated and the cable operated brakes now work. As much as cable operated brakes can work that is.

Having had a Flathead Ford when they bought it, the owners really wanted a Packard engine. Last Winter, a suitable straight 8 engine was found and restored, while Hitman Hotrods built a custom dual carb intake and the lake style headers that are on the car now.

Even at a show full of mega dollar customs like Performance World, the Old Timer drew attention from young and old. Even in the shop, visitors stroll past more exotic machinery to check out the lovable speedster.

The owners are well known in their home town for bopping around in the Packard while wearing full old school racing outfits right down to the goggles and flyers cap.

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