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updated: 6/19/2014 2:05 PM

Auto enthusiasts share stories at Daily Herald event

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  • Video: Motoring Memories

  • Gail Wise of Park Ridge stands with her historic 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang, which is the earliest such car known to be sold. Her famous car was one of those featured at the inaugural Cruise Night at Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect.

       Gail Wise of Park Ridge stands with her historic 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang, which is the earliest such car known to be sold. Her famous car was one of those featured at the inaugural Cruise Night at Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Daily Herald auto columnist Matthew Avery, left, chats with Maxine Darch of Palatine, and her husband, Jim Hader, at a Daily Herald subscriber event Wednesday night at the Billy Goat Tavern at Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect.

       Daily Herald auto columnist Matthew Avery, left, chats with Maxine Darch of Palatine, and her husband, Jim Hader, at a Daily Herald subscriber event Wednesday night at the Billy Goat Tavern at Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 

A walk through any car show is sure to yield dozens of stories and memories from the owners who proudly stand beside their vehicles.

That's what the Daily Herald's Matthew Avery, who writes the "Classic Recollections" auto column, said is most exciting about vintage vehicles.

"I love classic cars. I love muscle cars. But the thing that gets me out of bed every morning is that every car has a story," said Avery, who spoke to a group of Daily Herald subscribers Wednesday night at the Billy Goat Tavern at Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect.

The Daily Herald subscriber event was held in advance of Randhurst's first Cruise Night, which featured some 100 cars parked near the intersection of Rand and Elmhurst roads.

Some of the vehicles at the car show have been subjects of Avery's columns, which run in the Auto section on Saturdays and Sundays.

One of the featured vehicles was a skylight blue Ford Mustang convertible sold on April 15, 1964 -- the first Mustang purchased in the United States.

Gail Wise, a Park Ridge resident, remembers when she was 22, just out of college, and looking to buy a car so she could get to her new teaching job in Berkeley. She went to the Johnson Ford dealership in Chicago, looking for a convertible.

The salesman encouraged her to take a look at the soon-to-be-released Mustang that wasn't on the showroom floor but in the back and covered by a tarp.

She purchased it for $3,447.50.

"I was excited, and I drove it out of the showroom not knowing what I had just bought," Wise said. "People were waving and honking at me."

Other Mustangs officially went on sale two days later. So why did the dealer offer her the car, forever etching her name in the auto history books?

"I say he wanted to put food on the table," she said.

Avery said he often gets ideas for his column by going to car shows and meeting owners.

"We're not just talking about cars," he said. "We're talking about the memories associated with them."

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