My Mom just sent me this story from the New York Times, which I missed when it was published last summer (July 8, 2011 article by Mary M. Chapman).
When she was 12 her father died, and his Model T Ford became hers.
Once her politically connected mother, who had arthritic feet and could not drive cars, finagled a driver’s license for the 12-year-old Margaret, she drove her mother everywhere. Her mother drove the farm’s four teams of horses.
“If you had just a little knowledge and some baling wire and bob pins, you could keep the thing going,” she said of the Model T. “It was the little car that made America.”
…and Henry Ford himself was a neighbor and family friend. Can you imagine just sitting on the stoop talking to Henry Ford as a kid, eating some pie in the afternoon? Unreal!
Isn’t that video incredible? She is 101, and her car is 81! Both are beautiful. I honestly would think that Margaret Dunning was only in her 80s, as she looks wonderfully mobile and healthy for 101. She lives in the same house she and her mother lived in from age 13 on in Plymouth, Michigan. Good for her. (I love how at the end she places a red towel on the running board so she keeps it in good shape, and takes it with her for when she gets out!) She does admit in the article that she only takes this Packard out 3-4 times a year and that she enjoys entering it into shows.
Her love affair with vehicles never waned. She drove a truck as a Red Cross volunteer and has owned a parade of classic and antique cars. At her home, she also keeps a 1931 Ford Model A, a 1966 Cadillac DeVille that she often drives to car meets, a 1975 Cadillac Eldorado convertible and her everyday car, a 2003 DeVille. A battered Model T steering wheel is her garage doorstop*.
But her real love is a cream-color 1930 Packard 740 roadster, which she has owned since 1949. She plans to show the Packard at the Concours d’Élégance of America in Plymouth on July 31.
…she did not win at Concours but she had a wonderful time, as seen in this follow-up story.
*she also has a 1906 Model N and a 1930 convertible Cadillac DeVille at a museum not far from her home, as well.
Here is the link for the story again.
Anyone else here love Packards?