Maggie is a rare breed. She is a millennial, a female, she drives a standard, and she loves cars. Some say... she's a real catch, others say she's been secretly brainwashed by The Stig, but all I know, is that she's called my girlfriend.
As most women are, she's still difficult to find a gift for, and she vehemently opposed me getting her any gifts, so this year I really had to think outside the box. Maggie has always loved the Ford GT, and it's always been by and far her favorite car of all time. So I thought I would take my chances, and see if I could find a GT owner in the area that would be willing to show Maggie a GT, as she's never seen one in person.
So I headed over to the Ford GT Forums and I posted a thread in hopes that I might find some one willing to help us me out.
Lo and behold, my prayers are answered by Gary, and he actually agrees to meet me at a local Cars & Coffee even in St. Petersburg.
Maggie and her family celebrate Yule as well, and if you're not familiar with the tradition, it entails staying up all night and greeting the sun in the morning. If you happen to be unfamiliar with Cars & Coffee, then you probably don't know that entails waking up rather early.
So when I pitched the idea of going and checking out some cars, she wasn't opposed, but she was less than thrilled about the idea of running on fumes that morning. So I asked her if she would want to go if I knew there was going to be a Ford GT there. Instantly her eyes lit up, and we were on for the next morning.
So we went to C&C, and I parked next to the FR-S/BRZ crowd, and we began to walk around. Maggie could initially see the tail lights of a few GT's through some hedges, but she insisted we walk around and look at some of the other cars, so that she could really admire the GT's.
We hop over the hedge and somehow Gary manages to spot me in the crowd. He introduced himself, and I introduced Maggie, but she was rather confused. None of us said anything about the GT, and Maggie told me later that she just assumed Gary was a a friend or acquaintance. He asked if we were sticking around for a while, and I told him we'd be sticking around for a while, and that I'd meet back with him later.
So we do a lap and check out most of the cars and then, then we finally look at the GT's. It's a bit much for Maggie to take in, so she insists we do another lap so she can regain her composure.
On the second visit to the GT's, I see Gary standing near his car, and I approach him to talk. I think that's about the time that Maggie figured out what was going on. Maggie was brought to tears as Gary was so kind to show off the engine bay, interior, start up and rev the engine, as well as give Maggie a little history lesson on the GT its heritage. I think Gary said it best himself when he stated that, "she channels GT40s like she lived through the 1960s."
It may be difficult to elaborate upon how much Maggie loves the GT, but it decorates her desktop and cellphone background, we have a Gulf livery RC body that I had painted for her, she had a model GT that she plays with on her desk, it's truly a small obsession for her.
Gary told Maggie that she would have the opportunity to ride in the GT alongside him some time soon, and so we swapped information and headed out to get some breakfast at Cracker Barrel where I took an obligatory 86 picture
Yes, mine is the stock one, but we're still honeymooning.
Gary and I continue bouncing back e-mails to set a date for Maggie to take the ride, and we arrive on Christmas morning. I don't think the date could have worked out any better for Maggie to receive her gift on Christmas day.
On Christmas Eve Maggie is someone stressed as she wants everything to be perfect. She asks me what she thinks she should wear, and she tells me her hair isn't clean enough, so she needs to wash it again. I'm on the other end of the phone face-palming a little bit, but I understood the importance of this ride to her.
We have a pleasant drive to meet Gary, we pulled up and saw the GT lingering in the garage in all of its majesty, and Maggie gets extremely excited as she starts to bask in the reality of what's going to happen.
You'll have to forgive the lack of snow, but this is Christmas in Florida. Apparently Santa traded in his sleigh for a Ford GT, because Gary was truly Saint Nick in disguise.
Maggie's reaction really said it all. We were both left speechless as to how gracious Gary was to us.
Merry (belated) Christmas to everyone on Oppo and Jalop. Gary is truly the model car enthusiast. Not only does he appreciate his car, but he appreciates every car for what makes it great, and he shares his enthusiasm with others.
Maggie and I could not be more thankful to have met Gary, and we are forever in his debt for this phenomenal Christmas.
And here's a little video I made.