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Best in Show – Twice

Packard boattail speedster

By Steve Temple

Photo by Kenneth Burns

What does it take to win, not just one, but two Best of Show honors? Steve Tatoul’s unique, hand-built Packard boattail speedster is a prime example. This modern interpretation of the boattail speedster is not only lower, sleeker, stronger and “hot rodderish,” but also retains the elegance of a classic Packard.

The project started with an original Packard inline, eight-cylinder engine crowned with a vintage Edmunds custom-finned aluminum cylinder head and dual carburetor intake manifold.

Those items alone make it a contender, but it’s the details that make the difference in capturing Best of Show honors at the 2017 Amelia Island, Florida, Festivals of Speed and the 2016 Black Diamond Invitational Car Show. 

Custom rims are a key aspect, as that’s what your eye gravitates toward. Tatoul chose Truespoke Wire Wheels for his unique creation. Measuring 18 by 5.5 inches, these chrome and stainless steel wire wheels are wrapped with Firestone black walls, size 700-18 in the front and 750-18 in the rear.

“Truespoke was the only wheel company I found that could make the Packard-look wire wheels in the size that I needed them,” Tatoul relates. “The wheel and tire package we selected creates a bold and strong look while retaining a vintage feel.” 

Truespoke Wire Wheels have been produced since 1974, offering wire wheels for classic cars, hot rods, customs and special interest automobiles.

Helping to achieve Tatoul’s vision, Kirk Hum of Crystal River, Florida, took charge of the mechanical engineering and fabrication duties. Kirk created the drivetrain from an assemblage of new and vintage parts sourced from LKQ Corp. The body, from the firewall back, was built by Deco Rides. From the firewall forward, bodywork was built by Steve Cooley Motors, which also applied the unique paint. It’s black with a small amount of bronze metallic paint that pops in direct sunlight and only at a specific angle that reflects the sun rays. Brilliant execution, all the way around.

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