Packard that chauffered King George VI and Queen Elizabeth will be at Concours d'Elegance

COURTESY PHOTO - King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Tour Victoria, B.C., in the Packard in 1939.It’s not every day you see an automobile that is literally fit for a king and queen. A 1930 Packard Model 740 with a Super 8 engine that was used to chauffeur King George VI and Queen Elizabeth during their stay in Victoria, B.C., will be displayed at the Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, July 19.

But it’s not the royal connection that makes this automobile so fascinating. Instead, it is the current owner’s quest to locate, purchase and restore the Packard.

The story begins in 1930, when Victoria, B.C., resident Chris Yarrow’s grandfather, Norman Yarrow, visited the Plimley’s dealership in downtown Victoria. In the wake of the Great Depression, sales of luxury cars were slow and Norman was able to strike a favorable deal for the car. He sold it to a new owner after a few years.

In 1939, King George VI of England and Queen Elizabeth were scheduled to visit Victoria on their tour of the Dominion and the United States. The stately Packard became their transportation from their ship’s berth to the Empress Hotel to Government House.

Fast forward to 1972, when a 14-year-old Yarrow went searching for his grandfather’s car. His first stop was the old Classic Car Museum in downtown Victoria. Murray Gammon, the owner of the museum, provided the name of the Packard’s owner — and his phone number. COURTESY PHOTO - This is the 1930 Packard Model 740 owned by Chris Yarrow of Victoria, B.C.

Yarrow contacted Art Fulawka and began a friendship between the two families. He visited the car in storage in Port Coquitlam and reunited the original trunk and fitted luggage with the Packard.

Many years passed, until one day Fulawka called out of the blue. “I always promised you first refusal,” he remembers the owner saying. “Do you want it?”

After 14 years, Chris Yarrow’s quest was over.

The Packard was fully restored and will be on display at the Forest Grove Concours, held on the grounds of Pacific University. It will be part of the Grand Classic, a premier show for Classic Car Club of America members, being held in conjunction with the show. More than 50 “full classics” are expected from all over the west coast and Canada.

Special thanks to Chris Yarrow’s Packard friends, Bhagwan Mayer and Michael May, for arranging to transport the automobile from Victoria, B.C., to Forest Grove.

Allen Stephens is chairman of the organizing committee for the 2015 Concours d’Elegance.