Centenarian Sets Rare Service Example

Photo credit: Mike Cardew / Akron Beacon Journal

At an age when many of us might consider giving up driving, if we hadn’t already, a 102 year old philanthropist is not only taking road trips but doing some of her own maintenance. Yes, her maintenance. Margaret Dunning is known in historical circles as a philanthropist whose generosity has largely benefitted the Plymouth (Michigan) Historical Society. But the automotive world knows her for her gorgeously renovated classic cars, especially a 1930 Packard 740 Roadster she’s owned for 63 years.

Not only owned but, serviced! Dunning says she changes her own oil every 3,000 miles, and even swaps out spark plugs when necessary. When in need of additional expertise she turns to a select group of people including a 90-year old friend who she says works “magic”.

The Packard is one of several classic vehicles in Dunning’s garage that she regularly drives to car shows. She told the Akron Beacon Journal she’s loved cars since she started driving at the age of 8. Her driver’s license followed four years later. Henry Ford’s family lived just a couple miles away and, at one point, Dunning even worked in a Ford plant. And while she takes great pride in her Packard, Margaret Dunning doesn’t see a whole lot to crow about in her abilities under the hood. Working on her cars, it would appear, comes naturally. “I love the smell of gasoline,” she says. “It runs in my veins.”

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