Like many others I’m sure, families who own cars
tend to be loyal to one brand or marque over
For example, I recall that my maternal
grandfather owned a 1946 Packard Super Clipper Sedan and which was
huge by almost any standards, designed to very comfortably seat
seven. (Packard was an American luxury automobile marque
built by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, and
later by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana.
The first Packard automobiles were produced in 1899, and the last
The backseat of this beast seemed
to me to be the size of some of the small bedrooms we saw when
house-hunting in London.
Presumably, back in the
days when physicians made house calls, if the patient needed to be
carted off to the hospital and waiting for an ambulance was out of
the question, presumably the doctor would pile the patient and his
whole family in and off they’d go.
remember much more about the Packard than I can about my
grandfather, who passed away when I was a tyke of
All that rushed through my mind when I was
pointed to this about a lady born the year before my late mother, a
lady who no doubt for the past 14 years has likely been tooling
around Heaven in her car of choice, a VERY large
102-Year-Old Woman Still Drives
Her 82-Year-Old Car
her driver’s license for 90
this window doesn’t play, my apologies. You can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHwwwJ83oWo&feature=player_embedded
classic car owners are accustomed to the unusual looks other
motorists cast toward their relics on the road. But when Margaret
Dunning is behind the wheel of her 1930 Packard 740 Roadster, she
draws more attention than her vehicle.
Dunning, age 102, may be one of a small handful of classic-car
drivers who can lay claim to the fact they’re older than their
She was born in 1910, and lives
in Plymouth, Michigan, twenty years before her beloved Packard.
She’s been driving since she was 8 years old, and officially
received her license at 12, after her father died. In an appearance
at the Concours d’ Elegance last month in Southern California,
Dunning recounted her start as an automotive aficionado.
“I’m just a farm girl, and my dad had a lot of
machinery, and I adored my dad,” she said. “I became familiar with
the tools, because the minute I said I didn’t know what I was
looking for, he’d say, ‘Go back to the house.'”
She owns several classic vehicles. In addition to the
Packard, she includes a ’66 Cadillac DeVille, a ’75 Cadillac
Eldorado convertible and a 1931 Model A in her collection. The one
she still drives the most? Her everyday car, an ’03 Cadillac
DeVille. Occasionally, she still changes her own oil.
“Before old age overtook me, I could scoot under
the car very nicely,” she said.
What a lovely
Unfortunately, the saga of
Packard Automobiles becomes more bleak by the day. The
manufacturing plant in Detroit, then thought to be the largest in
the world, has been shuttered and abandoned for over five (5)
325,160 square meters (3,500,000 square feet) have decayed, been
repeatedly vandalized and moldered slowly
The huge and hulking wreck attracts all
nature of pests, both four-legged and two-legged.
It has become a vast canvas for more of
Detroit’s graffiti and a symbol of a corrupt city which has
steadily managed to destroy itself.
Detroit has destroyed itself.
Compare then and
now. Detroit was once the 4th largest, richest and most successful
city in America. Sixty years ago, more people earned more
money there than anywhere else in the United
- Not so long ago, the City
boasted 1.8 million souls. Today, the figure is a mere
- Detroit’s $20 billion (€1.3 billion,
£1.2 billion) debt is owed to over 100,000
- In 1950, Detroit offered 290,000
manufacturing jobs compared to 27,000 today. Between 2000-2010, 48%
of manufacturing jobs fled the city.
- The Fourth
World has landed in North America. 78,000 homes have been
- Only seven per cent (7%) of
eighth-graders (say, age 14) are proficient in
- Less than fifty per cent (50%) of the
over-16 population are working.
- 60% of children
are living in real poverty.
- The city contains
70 Superfund Hazardous Waste sites; in other words, without
protective gear, one dare not enter, at
- 40% of streetlights do not
- Two-thirds of the parks closed in
- If crime is a worry in some places on the
planet, welcome to the nadir. Need a police officer? When you phone
911, expect the average wait time to be 58 minutes. Most police
stations are closed to the public for 16 hours each
- Police solve under 10% of crimes committed
- Crime is so bad that police offer
some helpful if stupidly dire advice: enter Detroit at your own
What a pity both Packard and
Detroit never came under the command and control of the very
determined Margaret Dunning. I’ve no doubt
this lady could likely have fixed the issues
Is it just me,
or is it just sheer coincidence that several ladies named
Margaret seem to have had knack for getting to
grips with the most venomous of demons and knocking everything back