A true car-gal at 104 years old

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Margaret Isabel Dunning was born on June 26, 1910 and passed away this year on May 17, 2015. She was an American businesswoman, philanthropist and benefactor of the Plymouth, Michigan Historical Museum. While growing up on the farm in Michigan, Dunning developed her lifelong passion for cars. We call ourselves “Car Guys”, well Margaret Dunning was the first true “Car Gal”.

In the 1930’s she worked at a Ford plant building voltage regulators and by the 1940’s Dunning bought an apparel store in Plymouth, Michigan and became a businesswoman and entrepreneur. In 1971 She donated over $100,000. to the Plymouth Historical Society for a new museum and in 1998 the museum purchased a sizable Abraham Lincoln memorabilia collection and was out of space in the 15000 sf. facility that Dunning made the donation to originally build, so she stepped up to the plate again and donated one million dollars to build a new 9800 sf. facility to hold the new collection.

We had the privilege of meeting Ms. Dunning a couple years ago at the Keels & Wheels Classic Car & Yacht Show near Houston, TX. She was 101 and gave us a detailed story about the 1930 Packard 740 Custom Eight Roadster that she brought to the event. While accepting her trophy she was asked if she needed help carrying it, she replied “No, I can handle it” and she put the trophy in her Packard and drove off the ramp. Dunning told us that she still drives her Packard every chance she gets even to the grocery store. She ended up at Pebble Beach with the same Packard where she was awarded the Classic Car Club of America Trophy at 102 years old.

We lost a very unique and classy lady this year. Ms. Dunning lived the American dream from growing up on a farm to building a business empire and most of all being the first true “Car Gal”. She loved her cars until the day she died at 104 years old. We feel it was an honor meeting her and she will be missed by family, friends and car enthusiasts.


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