A highly valuable classic Packard sustained water damage after rolling backwards into a pond shortly after winning best-in-class honours at the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance, held November 6.

Despite the best efforts of bystanders to halt the nearly 1,800-kilogram (4,000-lb) car before it reached the water, the 1938 Packard 1605 Super Eight hardtop convertible sedan became fully submerged, requiring a wet-suit-clad rescue diver to assist in its recovery.

Owner Ralph Marano Sr. of Garwood, N.J. was not present at the time, but told an Island Packet News reporter in a November 8 interview that an unidentified woman was seen reaching into the car shortly before its notorious voyage.

“It’s invaluable to me,” said Marano of his classic car, which he pegs as worth $1 million after spending 13 years professionally restoring it.

Despite the unthinkable happening, Marano says he’s “trying to make the best of a bad situation.”

The water-logged Packard is an “oddball, nobody’s-ever-seen” car, according to Marano, because it’s the only pre-war era Packard 1605 Super Eight convertible sedan in existence equipped with a hard top.

Marano has some 63 Packards in his collection, and intends to, once again, fully restore this vehicle to best-in-class condition.

No one was injured during the ordeal, and the vehicle was recovered from the water without incident, with blue-ribbon still affixed.

(AJC.com and The Island Packet)