Looking Sharp: Presenting One of the PPG’s Most Exciting Artifacts

PPG volunteers and enthusiasts are probably familiar with the Vincent family.

Packard Proving Grounds manager Charles Vincent lived at the Lodge House with his wife Lucile and their three daughters. Vincent’s work for Packard required his constant presence at the Proving Grounds, where he could oversee all operations morning, noon, and night. Hence, the beautiful Lodge House and the family’s residency within it from 1927 to 1942.

What’s lesser-known about Charles Vincent is his exceptional talent as a marksman. Before his residency in Michigan, Vincent spent his childhood years on a farm in rural Missouri. Much of his free time was spent exploring the woods and practicing with his rifle, perfecting his aim. This aim would lead him to a fair amount of notoriety later in life.

A frequent competitor in national shooting matches, the adult Vincent was awarded multiple trophies for his impressive skills with a rifle. In fact, Packard legend has it that he once punctured the tire of a Packard running the test track. Sounds unbelievable, right? It gets even more so. Vincent took out the tire with one well-placed shot from his rifle – while taking aim from the timing stand!

Fortunately, we have a very special account of the former site manager’s hobby: his shooting jacket.

This singular historic treasure belonged to Charles Vincent, who wore it often while practicing and participating in competitive marksmanship. For added flair, it was adorned with over thirty patches from various rifle associations and events Vincent participated in across the country. These patches span decades of Vincent’s engagement with the sport: from 1934 to 1970, according to included dates. It’s a one-of-a-kind acquisition that the PPG is proud to have in its collection, a relic from one of the institution’s most influential and notable figures.

Currently, the shooting jacket is awaiting its semi-permanent display inside the radio room of the Lodge House. The radio room was the site of Vincent’s personal office, so it’s fitting that this item return to its original home. Staff here at the PPG can’t wait until this impressive jacket is fully prepped for presentation, so that visitors can see firsthand one of our collection’s finest pieces.

Do you have original Packard documents, photographs, publications, or memorabilia that might be of value to the Packard Proving Grounds Library and Archives? Contact the site for information about our collection focus and donation policies.


  • Emily Benoit

    Lover of research and writing, libraries and archives. Graduate of Oakland University's MA of English Literature program; and Wayne State University's MLIS program with an additional certification in archival administration.