Past Winner Returns

Back to Milwaukee Masterpiece

John Gunnell - April 25, 2014 10:20 AM


Jack and Annie Bonham brought the Packard convertible to The Milwaukee Masterpiece in 2008 and 2011 (photo taken 2011).

John Gunnell

The history of the car adds interest for viewers who will see it again in Milwaukee

John Gunnell

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      Jack Bonham is a man of incredible patience and commitment. He used those attributes to restore a 1941 Packard 120 convertible coupe. Bonham’s Packard will be one of the past winners returning to The Milwaukee Masterpiece ( for the car show’s tenth birthday in 2014.
      A resident of Shawano, Wisconsin, Bonham was a Ford enthusiast with a passion for Packards. He bought the 1941 convertible in 1993, sight unseen, and had it shipped from San Francisco to his home. Bonham's research revealed the car—one of about 40 surviving— had crashed on a hairpin turn in the Santa Catalina Mountains, in Arizona, in the 1950s.
      After the accident, the Packard was abandoned and stripped. A man found it and started to restore it, using a 1939 chassis, but he died before his project was completed. The car made its way to various dealers in California and Alabama before Bonham rescued it.
      The Packard Owner’s Club was a great help in his restoration. Bonham met other collectors and found an original motor for the car. He also found and bought a 1941 Packard rolling chassis in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts.
      Eager to complete a first-class restoration, he enrolled in an Antique Auto Restoration course for 10 years and painstakingly rebuilt the frame, front end, transmission and rear end. He had a shop in Green Bay rebuild the engine. He found a new trunk lid that needed work and a local man who was handy at restoring sheet metal. The man visited Jack every Thursday for two years to work on fabricating a new trunk.
      Bonham says, "Every part of the car has a story, because I had to go find each one.” Today, the Packard has fewer than 1,000 miles on its new engine. The car is finished in Royal Red. It took a first class award at the 2008 Milwaukee Masterpiece and an award of excellence in 2011. Now, Bonham is anxious to bring it back for the 10th anniversary of the show.