Packard Tales and Memories of Bud Juneau

Packard Tales and Memories of Bud Juneau

Clarence B. “Bud” Juneau, the Packard Club’s long­time Vice Pres­i­dent for pub­li­ca­tions, passed away March 25th, leav­ing his many friends bereft. This was my con­tri­bu­tion to a spe­cial edi­tion of The Packard Cor­morant, Fourth Quar­ter 2021, pub­lished in his hon­or. —RML

Memories of Bud

Bud Juneau gave me my first real job. I don’t mean “work,” the things we do for some enti­ty which pays us. I mean what we do indi­vid­u­al­ly, hop­ing for pay and sole­ly respon­si­ble for suc­cess or fail­ure. For me, this began with Bud.

In 1975 I resigned as senior edi­tor at Auto­mo­bile Quar­ter­ly and set out to be an inde­pen­dent motor­ing writer. The word “inde­pen­dent” can­not be stressed too high­ly, because the respon­si­bil­i­ty for my fortunes—including all that dull stuff like office equip­ment and health insurance—was entire­ly mine.

Well, not entire­ly. My wife, a bac­te­ri­ol­o­gist, kind­ly agreed to sus­tain us until I got going. To this day she says “he’s been out of work since 1975.” I always retort with Churchill’s line: “The for­tu­nate peo­ple in the world—the only real­ly for­tu­nate peo­ple in the world, in my mind—are those whose work is also their pleasure.”

The mar­ket for car books was wide open, but I also need­ed jobs that paid more reg­u­lar­ly than spo­radic, often whim­si­cal annu­al roy­al­ties. My idea was that car clubs, which were grow­ing rapid­ly then, might wel­come a paid edi­tor. The first per­son I approached was Bud Juneau, the Packard Club’s Pub­li­ca­tions VP. Ulti­mate­ly I was churn­ing out three mag­a­zines in 16 issues per year, but Bud was the first to grasp this “unprece­dent­ed opportunity.”

Bringing back a classic magazine

Bud
Our first issue of “The Packard Cor­morant” (1975) pic­tured a 1916 Twin Six in Alfred Hitchcock’s dri­ve­way. AH him­self answered the door when our pho­tog­ra­ph­er rang. He was cranky, but oblig­ing. (Stu­art Blond photo)

What intrigued Bud was my idea to invig­o­rate the club quar­ter­ly by recre­at­ing Packard’s for­mer house organ, The Packard Mag­a­zine, last pub­lished in 1931. We pro­posed using the same wide mar­gins, ele­gant type­faces, art deco lay­outs and gold­en pic­ture frame cov­er. With his keen imag­i­na­tion, Bud was my lead­ing advo­cate, even when chal­lenged about the cost. (Actu­al­ly it cost no more per mem­ber, because mem­ber­ship increased and print costs held, since we kept almost every issue to 40 pages.)

Flipping the bird

One aspect put Bud in the hot seat. My inten­tion was total—including the title, which meant dis­pens­ing with the word “Cor­morant.” Packard’s famous bird is the heraldic pel­i­can, sym­bol of devo­tion and loy­al­ty, not the com­mon cor­morant or shag. (“Which lays its eggs in a paper bag.”) But an unknown wag in the ad depart­ment had called it a cor­morant for a few years, and some­how it stuck. To some it seemed snooti­er, so when they learned my plans they erupt­ed. They even pro­duced a Cor­morant Preser­va­tion Newslet­ter, as if I were propos­ing to erad­i­cate the entire species Pha­lacro­co­rax car­bo, that water­logged fish-steal­er of the Maine coast.

Bud
In 1978 we com­mis­sioned the immor­tal auto­mo­tive artist Peter Hel­ck to paint the Packard “Grey Wolf” rac­ing car dur­ing the Packard Club’s 25th anniversary.

At this point the kind and gen­er­ous Bud Juneau knew he had to step in. Review­ing a set of proofs, he noticed that I had “greyed out” the word Cor­morant in the title. He guessed cor­rect­ly that I planned to grey it out more each issue until it dis­ap­peared entire­ly. I was flip­ping the bird to all the cor­morant partisans.

“You think you’re pret­ty smart, don’t you?” Bud quipped. “I have to advise that for the sake of peace and qui­et, this is not a hill we want to die on.” I love noth­ing more than tweak­ing fanatics—but Bud was wise, and right. The Packard Cor­morant has a cer­tain ring to it, and under Stu­art Blond’s fas­tid­i­ous edi­tor­ship it so remains—now near­ly 50 years on.

I men­tion this because it was so typ­i­cal of Bud—ever the diplo­mat, ever sen­si­tive as well to the mood of the club and its mem­bers. He rarely over­ruled an idea, although he some­times react­ed with words of cau­tion, when we ran a bad­ly over-dec­o­rat­ed Packard, or one in out­landish non-fac­to­ry colors.

Master photographer

Bud labored espe­cial­ly hard as our chief photographer—in the days when sharp, large for­mat col­or pho­tos required a 4×5” view cam­era on a gigan­tic tri­pod, a rel­ic nowadays.

Bud
For “detail” pho­tos you only need­ed a 35mm cam­era. Here Bud works on a 1956 Packard Four Hun­dred hard­top paint­ed “Scot­tish Heather.” (Stu­art Blond photo)

I’ll nev­er for­get his strug­gling to film the great­est Packard con­vo­ca­tion ever, the “Mag­num Opus.” Over 1000 Packards gath­ered at the company’s birth­place in War­ren, Ohio, on Packard’s cen­te­nary in 1999. That was the hottest week­end I can remem­ber, and Bud was espe­cial­ly sen­si­tive to sun. Yet he was every­where, tot­ing that humungous cam­era, and we all hoped he could get through with­out col­laps­ing with sun-stroke. But he did it.

I remem­ber his taste for fun, as when he and club pres­i­dent Alan Adams piled into my press car Jaguar and drove right over the Napa range to find a fabled win­ery dur­ing the Berke­ley Nation­al Meet in 1974. Alan amused him­self by see­ing how many elec­tric win­dows he could move simul­ta­ne­ous­ly by press­ing all the but­tons. “Don’t do that,” Bud shout­ed. “This is a Jaguar, not a Packard—and that means Lucas electrics!” Alan subsided.

Bud
Bud (r) hand­ing me the Club’s George Weiss Ser­vice Award upon my retire­ment as edi­tor of “TPC” in 2001. (Stu­art Blond photo)

Bud often picked us up in his “mod­ern Packards,” which I’m sor­ry to say were in those days Cadil­lac Broughams. “This the best you’ve got?” I kid­ded him. No, he had bet­ter cars at home, includ­ing a beau­ti­ful 1937 Twelve, “Helen Twelve Cylinders.”

He was not GM-averse. (Nobody’s per­fect!) He owned a yel­low 1949 Buick Road­mas­ter Riv­iera and a red 1951 Oldsmo­bile 88, both pris­tine. The Olds was a show mod­el with plex­i­glas hood sec­tions, so cus­tomers could gaze at the mighty V8 below. Bud was thought­ful about his­to­ry. Once, as we looked at that fine engine, he remarked: “If only Packard built some­thing like this in 1951.”

Packard Motorcar Foundation

When Bud became involved with the Packard Motor­car Foun­da­tion, I fol­lowed his lead again, mak­ing dona­tions, join­ing the board, and plac­ing my entire auto­mo­tive library in trust for the Foun­da­tion to keep or dis­pose of as they saw fit. “We’ll prob­a­bly only keep the Packard stuff, you know,” Bud cau­tioned. “But we’ll be hap­py to cash in on the rest.” I said that was fine. The PMCF has done made incred­i­ble progress pre­serv­ing the most his­toric parts of the old Packard Prov­ing Grounds. Bud knew that, and was devot­ed to its work.

“There’s noth­ing to be said when a friend dies,” said my best edi­tor ever, Don Vor­der­man. “There’s just a great big hole where some­one you loved once was.” Every­one who knew Bud Juneau well loved him. And that’s one crowd I’m proud to be a mem­ber of.

The Packard Club

To par­take in the sto­ry of America’s grand mar­que, you don’t have to own one. Click here.

Further reading

The Packard: Ne Plus Ultra of House Organs,” 2021

Auto­mo­bile Quar­ter­ly: The Mem­o­ries,” 2021

Don Vor­der­man: Best Edi­tor I Ever Had,” 2019

The Packard Adven­tures of Howard ‘Dutch’ Dar­rin,” 2017

Old Jags and Allards: The Whim­sy of Dick O’Kane,” 2020

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