The Racing Capital
of the World
April 25, 2013 | By IMS
Lovingly referred to throughout the classic/vintage car show world as “The Belle of the Concours,” 102-year-old Margaret Dunning of Plymouth, Mich., will display her prized 1930 Packard 740 Roadster to the third annual Celebration of Automobiles, scheduled for Saturday, May 11 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Vintage car owners and automotive enthusiasts from around North America have flocked to IMS the last two years for the event, which pays tribute to the rich heritage of automotive development at the track for more than 100 years.
The energetic, engaging Dunning first learned how to drive cars, trucks and tractors on her father’s dairy and potato farm in Redford Township, Mich., when she was just 8 years old. During that time she developed her love for Packard automobiles, especially her beloved cream-colored 1930 Packard Roadster she bought in 1949.
“It’s been the love of my life, I’ll tell you,” Dunning said. “My folks drove Packards, and I also drove them. I always wanted a 1930 roadster. In fact, the car in my father’s stable that I loved the best was a 1930 Packard, and I was delighted when I got it. It’s still a beautiful car, and I was so lucky to obtain it.”
Dunning’s prized Packard is her favorite among her sizeable classic car collection, and she still insists on driving it on occasion.
“It gets out probably once a month at least, and I like to have it run about 10-20 miles every time we take it out,” she said. “I love driving it as much as I ever did.”
Dunning always has insisted on being the one who changed the oil and performed other regular maintenance on her Packard, and she still loves doing all she can to take care of her prized possession.
“I think a dust cloth is about as much as I do with it anymore,” Dunning said. “I loved to check the oil and make up the mixture to put in it. If there’s oil around me, I’ll get it on me. I’m famous for that.”
A classic car enthusiast for nearly her entire life, Dunning has enjoyed recent trips to the Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance in Seabrook, Texas, and the highly prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where “Tonight Show” host and comedian Jay Leno presented her with an award from the Classic Car Club of America.
While Dunning still enjoys seeing the magnificent cars at all the classic automobile events she attends, it’s the conversations she has with fellow vintage car enthusiasts that she enjoys the most.
“I love to talk to the fellas that know internal combustion, and I’m just crazy about machinery,” she said. “I just love it because there are so many tales that are told and so many things that have been invented, and my ears are just right out there to catch everything I can hear. I’ve always loved that, and I still do today.”
Dunning, who is grateful for her good health and continued enthusiasm for classic cars, visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway many years ago. She’s looking forward to her return to “The Racing Capital of The World” for the Celebration of Automobiles on May 11.
“I can’t see how anyone would want to miss it,” Dunning said. “I just can’t imagine that. I’ve talked to people who have been to the show before and I know it’s great, and I can’t wait to see it. I consider it a big privilege to get to go down there again.”
In her only other visit to IMS many years ago, Dunning did not see race cars on the famous 2.5-mile oval. With the first day of practice for the 97th Indianapolis 500 taking place during the Celebration of Automobiles, Dunning is adamant about seeing Indy cars speed around the track for the first time.
“I’ll have my head right over the fence,” she said. “It’s going to be very exciting.”
A Vintage and Classic Car Show on Saturday, May 11, featuring 200 of the most beautiful and rare cars from 1910-70, again will be the focal point of the 2013 Celebration of Automobiles. New additions to the show are the inclusion of categories for open-wheel race cars from 1910-70, Indy 500 pace cars and unrestored cars.
1969 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1978 Formula One World Champion Mario Andretti will serve as the honorary head judge.
One other exciting addition to the Celebration of Automobiles is a round-trip Scenic Driving Tour for COA participants to Terre Haute, Ind., on Friday, May 10.
Participants will enjoy Celebration of Automobiles activities from Thursday, May 9 through Saturday, May 11 at IMS, while fans can look at the beautiful cars and participate in other activities Saturday, May 11 – the first day of practice for the 97th Indianapolis 500.
2013 Indianapolis 500 tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 97th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 26 at IMS.
Race Day ticket prices start at just $30. Fans can buy tickets online at www.ims.com/tickets, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or by visiting the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.
Children 12 and under will be receive free general admission to any IMS event in 2013 when accompanied by an adult general admission ticket holder.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.