A 40-year adventure with a Ford Fairlane

April 14, 2008 5:41:59 PM PDT
A South Jersey woman found her dream car more than 40 years ago. It's still going strong, nearly a half a million miles later.

"It's my first car. I never had another car," said Elizabeth Elston.

The 81-year-old widow from Hamilton Township is still driving the 1966 Ford Fairlane she bought when Lyndon Johnson was President.

"It was brand new. I paid $2900 for it. I think I got my moneys worth out of it, and every day I go out somebody's giving me the thumbs up," she said.

The dashboard is cracked, the bumper is a little rusty and the radio isn't great, but after the first engine was replaced at 231,000 miles, Elizabeth has racked up close to 500-thousand miles on this old car.

"Almost half a million, and still it comes out. You turn the key, and away she goes," said Elizabeth.

What's her secret?

"They say if you take care of the car, it will take care of you," she said.

Just to put things in perspective, back in 1966, gas was 32 cents a gallon, a stamp cost 5 cents and the best picture of the year was The Sound of Music.

Elizabeth says she doesn't speed in her Fairlane, but if someone starts giving her a hard time on the road, she lets them know who is boss.

"This is an eight cylinder. I just step down on it and I leave them in the dust," said Elizabeth, who said she would never sell this car. "Never. Not selling it, it goes with me. You know I have a plot up in Ewing, and just made sure it's big enough to take car of everything," said Elizabeth.

Even if she can't be buried with it, Elizabeth knows when the time comes she'll rest peacefully knowing that her trusty Ford Fairlane lasted as long as she did.