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102-year-old Margaret Dunning exhibited her 81-year-old Packard

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Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 11:13 am

SEABROOK, TX -- She’s been touted as the “Belle of the Concours” but she describes herself as an “innocent little country gal.”

Meet Margaret Dunning, a 102-year-young resident of Plymouth, Michigan, and one of the nation’s most beloved automobile enthusiasts.

Not only has she owned and driven classic cars throughout most of her life, she continues to manhandle and perform the maintenance on her cream-colored 1930 Packard 749, which she has owned for six decades.

Chairman Bob Fuller became aware of Ms. Dunning after an internet video of her went viral. When he contacted her, she indicated she had received multiple invitations as a result of that video.

Mr. Fuller coaxed her with one dozen yellow roses and a note saying “Please come to Texas” so Dunning made a rare appearance at the 2012 Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance in Seabrook, Texas May 5-6.

Margaret Isabel Dunning was born June 26, 1910 in Redford Michigan where she spent her first 13 years on the 156-acre dairy and potato farm owned by her parents.

In 1923, after the death of her father, Margaret moved with her mother to Plymouth, Michigan, where she has been a resident in the same house ever since.

Dunning isn’t a novice when it comes to old cars, after all, she’s been driving since she was eight years old, starting with her family’s Overland touring car and Model T Ford.

In addition to restoring vehicles that she still owns today, including a 1931 Ford Model A and her everyday car, a 2003 Cadillac DeVille, Dunning donated a restored 1906, Model N Ford and a 1930 convertible Cadillac DeVille convertible to the Gilmore Car Museum at Hickory Corners, Michigan.

Around the country, Ms. Dunning is best known for her Detroit-built Packard, which she has owned since 1949.

The Packard has an inline, eight-cylinder engine, black fenders and a rumble seat and storage compartment in back. The Packard (1899-1958) was considered a luxury brand that introduced the modern steering-wheel and the V-12 passenger-car engine.

There’s no doubt that Dunning is a favorite to all who meet her. A philanthropist who’s worked in real estate, banking and retail, knows what she likes and as long as she’s smiling, she’ll be driving!

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