At 102, she changes oil, spark plugs on her 82-year-old car

Pop math quiz: If you cherished and maintained the same car for 63 years and you changed your own oil every 3,000 miles, how much money would you save?

Answer: A lot.

Just ask Margaret Dunning, a 102-year-old Michigan woman who’s been making headlines after her energetic appearance at a classic car show in Canton, Ohio, over the weekend. Dunning attended the show with her baby: a 1930 Packard 740 Roadster that she purchased in 1949 and restored to mint condition. She talked happily about how she’s been changing her own oil and spark plugs all these years.

“I love the old cars,” Dunning told The Akron Beacon Journal. “I love the smell of gasoline. It runs in my veins.”

Image: Margaret Dunning with her 1930 Packard car

Mike Cardew  /  Akron Beacon Journal

Dunning grew up on a dairy and potato farm west of Detroit, not too far from where Henry Ford’s family lived. When she wasn’t clambering onto her Packard’s running board to pose for photos, the longtime car enthusiast waxed nostalgic at the car show about how she learned to drive on her family’s farm at age 8, crashed into the barn at age 10, and secured her first driver’s license at age 12.

That’s right: Dunning has been driving for 90 years now.

In his piece about Dunning, Akron Beacon Journal columnist Bob Dyer described her as a “hoot” and as “witty, engaging and razor sharp.” At one point, she joked with Dyer about having “lead in my feet” — a reference to all the speeding tickets she’s gotten over the years.

“It disturbs the policemen very badly, but it doesn’t bother me at all,” Dunning said.

Dunning had to drop out of the University of Michigan during the Great Depression, but she went on to pursue successful careers in the banking and retail sectors. The millionaire never married.

“I’ve had a very interesting life in this old world,” she said. “Each year I see more beauty in the things that I observe.”

To read the full original report about Margaret Dunning and see a photo gallery of Dunning with her Packard, visit The Akron Beacon Journal’s website by clicking here.

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