Back in the days when gasoline was pennies to gallon, owning a 1955 Packard made a person the envy of the cruising set.
But for marketing reasons, sales slumped, and the company faded into oblivion.
Surviving Packards, naturally, are hard to find, unless you visit the Manitoba Antique Auto Museum along Hwy. No. 1 just east of Elkhorn, where one has been recently donated by S. Gunnar Person.
With just 40,000 miles on the odometer, it has been appraised at $20,500.
New exhibits like the 55 Packard have been arriving over the years since the museum was founded in 1967, but in recent years, fresh-faced volunteers have been far and few between, especially the hard core type that does restoration work.
There s four of us who used to do a lot of work here, and we re all over 80, said Lorne Sipley, a retired farmer who now volunteers at the museum.
A 1912-vintage two-storey house is in the process of moving to the site, where a foundation sits ready to receive it. The unique character farmhouse was set to be demolished, but a local family agreed to donate it on the condition that it be moved off site.
Sipley said that a good portion of the household antiques will be moved into it when it comes in October, which will make room for more cars in the main building.
The museum, which features a myriad of items from pioneer and later times including a two-headed calf survives mainly on admissions, and has been in the red for the last two years.
This year, however, that trend has broken with a $2,000 improvement in visitor revenue.
It cont inues to struggle, however. To save money for the new building, the museum has had to cut back on things like winter heating in the workshop where restoration work is done and insurance.
What s in here, you could never begin to pay insurance on it, said Sipley. daniel. [email protected]
There sfourofus whousedtodoalot ofworkhere,and we reallover80.