Martins’ fascination
with Mustangs a family affair

By Nita S. West
Contributing Writer

CARROLLTON, Ky. – Mike Martin fell in love on April 17, 1964. But he wasn’t the only one. All across America, men, women and other 14-year-old boys were falling in love, too, with Ford Mustangs.

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 a Mustang.
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 1966.
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. Martin’s white model has proved to be a favorite with judges at competitions and cruises.
“I’ve 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 don’t 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. I’m a starving college student.”
The younger Martin says his family’s 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 Jerry’s 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 family’s interest, she adds, “Mike is eaten up with Mustangs. It’s a hobby that he enjoys. He has passed it on to Aaron and our nephew, Michael.”
The Martin’s 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.
“He’s 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 you’ll know who it is.

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