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Fords featured at dragway

August 22, 2009|By MARIE GILBERT

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The year was 1972 and a black Ford Mustang Mach 1 caught the eye of a teenager named Gary Woodward.

It was a 1971 model and the dealer was eager to unload it. But the asking price was more than the newly licensed driver could afford. So he walked away.

Memories of that car stayed with Woodward for years, especially whenever he passed one on the road.

"I guess I never abandoned the dream of owning a Mustang," he said.

Ten years ago, when he was well into his 40s, the Hagerstown man came across the same make and model in a used car lot.

The Mustang had seen better days. Rust was creeping in, the paint was dull and the seats were torn.

It was the most beautiful thing Woodward ever had seen.

"I bought it on the spot," he said. "Second chances don't come along very often."

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On Saturday morning, Woodward drove his Mach 1 onto the open fields at the Mason-Dixon Dragway, slipping into a row of other Mustangs that shared space with Fairlanes, Galaxies and Comets.

Most had body styling that set them apart from the relatively unremarkable designs of today's cars -- fins, chrome and lots of curves. Even the headlights had pizazz.

It was a day of nostalgic automotive show and tell as the Mid-Maryland Ford Club Inc. hosted its 13th annual All-Ford Event at the dragway.

About 300 Ford car owners were expected to participate.

"You'll see a little bit of everything at these shows," club President Melvin Losovsky said. "There are early Fords from the 1930s, pickup trucks, even a Ford police cruiser. The only requirement is that it must be a Ford-powered vehicle."

In addition to Ford owners, Losovsky said the annual event also draws a large number of spectators who enjoy meeting and talking with the owners.

"Many of these vehicles are real conversation starters," he said. "They bring back a lot of memories for people."

Among the cars attracting a crowd was a modified 1931 Model A owned by Josh Barnhart of Clear Spring.

Purchased three years ago in Massachusetts, Barnhart said the car originally was in pretty rough condition and was "a real project."

"But my dad did most of the body work," he said. "If not for the hours he put into it, it wouldn't look like it does now. He's been a hot rodder all his life, so he knows what he's doing. He can see something in a car before he's even touched it."

Barnhart said this particular car, built in Detroit, stayed there for most of its life until 2002.

"It's amazing that it's still around, even though it's been chopped and modified," he said. "Mr. Henry Ford did it right."

Ron Martin of Bedford, Pa., arrived at the show with his springtime yellow 1967 Ford Fairlane, which he has owned for about three years.

"I had a Fairlane back in the day," he said. "It kind of went bad on me, so I moved on to a different car. But I always liked the Fairlane and knew that some day, I'd buy another one."

Martin said the car is completely refurbished, inside and out. But it doesn't sit in his garage under wraps.

"I run it for pleasure," he said. "It gets driven on a weekly basis."

Whenever he does have it out on the road, Martin said the car always gets second glances.

"I get a lot of thumbs up," he said.

Classic cars run in the family, Martin said. His wife drives a 1964 Galaxie that she's owned for 41 years.

Losovsky, who is a Mustang owner, said the all-Ford club has continued to grow since it was formed in 1993.

"We've expanded all over, including Pennsylvania," he said. "There are a lot of Ford owners out there."

Saturday's schedule of events also included a swap meet, time trials (weather permitting) and a chance to vote on the crowd's favorite Ford.

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