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
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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