with Mustangs a family affair
Nita S. West
CARROLLTON, Ky. Mike Martin fell in love on April
17, 1964. But he wasnt the only one. All across America, men,
women and other 14-year-old boys were falling in love, too, with Ford
The introduction of the Mustang drastically changed the
automotive industry. Never had something so simple as a new car had
such an impact. By the end of the 1964-1965 season, more than 681,000
love-struck car owners were lucky enough to possess the object of their
affection. Martin had to wait eight years to realize his dream of owning
In 1972 Martin bought a red, white and blue Sprint and drove it five
years before trading it in for a pickup truck.
It was when that Urban Cowboy thing was big, and everybody was
buying trucks, Martin recalls. Atter a while, though, he confesses
he was just sick about trading in the Mustang.
He kept the truck, and in June 1978 purchased his second Mustang, a
1965 Fastback 2+2. Martin sold it just two years ago, but not before
he had added another pony to his stable. In January 1991,
he purchased his first Mustang convertible, a white over light blue
He added a second convertible to the collection in 1995. This was a
1993 feature car. Only 3,000 were produced: 1,500 in yellow, 1,500 in
white. Martins white model has proved to be a favorite with judges
at competitions and cruises.
Ive won more trophies with that car than all the others
combined, including a first-place trophy from the annual Derby
City Mustang Show that he considers his most prestigious award to date.
Asked if he would ever consider selling the car, Martin shakes his head:
I dont think I could. Aaron would just be too upset.
Aaron, a junior at the University of Kentucky, is the older of the two
boys in the Martin family. He owns a 1988 white Mustang GT T-top, and
was the first in the family to enter competition.
I got my Mustang in March of 1996, Aaron said. As
far as awards go, I have a few second and third place trophies. I have
never won a first place, but I blame that on the fact that I drive it
every day. Im a starving college student.
The younger Martin says his familys ownership of Mustangs has
taught me to appreciate cars. The one thing I can say about Dad
is that I wish he had more time to drive his cars and enjoy them. I
hate seeing them sit around all the time.
When Martin isn't spending free time behind the wheel, he might be found
behind the drums at Valley Christian Church, where he serves as a deacon
and keeps the beat for an ever-changing group of musicians and vocalists.
Connie Patton, wife of minister Brad Patton, said, Mike is very
faithful. That is what sticks most in my mind. We (the church) greatly
appreciate him and his wife, Cheri. He is friendly, genuine, sincere.
Cheri Martin has had a long history with Mustangs, also. I learned
to drive my brother Jerrys 1965 Mustang Fastback in 1971. Later,
I got a 1974 Mustang II and kept it nine years, she said.
Cheri currently drives a 1995 Mustang GT convertible. About the familys
interest, she adds, Mike is eaten up with Mustangs. Its
a hobby that he enjoys. He has passed it on to Aaron and our nephew,
The Martins nephew, Michael West, is a frequent visitor, and attends
as many cruises and competitions with his uncle and cousin as he can.
West is still waiting for the day he joins the ranks of Mustang owners.
Although Martin has been successful at competition, he says it is the
cruises that draw him and his cars out of a garage that is packed full
of Mustang memorabilia.
I Like meeting new people at the cruises, he said. He also
enjoys spending time with owners of other makes of cars, swapping stories
and just having a good time. Even the little dash plaques
given out are part of the fun.
I collect them, too, he says, holding up a mirrored square
displaying a variety of plaques.
John, the younger Martin son, drives a Pontiac.
Hes the family rebel, Cheri jokes. He now thinks
they are cool but is happy with his car.
Many Mustang fans seem to dream of owning a certain car. Martin dreams
of a 1970 Shelby Boss 302, in Grabber Yellow.
If you ever see one cruising through Carrollton, now youll know
who it is.
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