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Transport of delight... David McDowell's 1957 Ford Custom 300 is his pride and joy. PHOTOS: MARGARET PHILLIPS

David McDowell’s baby might be 61 years old but she is still the apple of his eye.

His 1957 Ford Custom 300 sedan is kept in mint condition and is still a favourite of his even though he has other vehicles from past eras.

He brought the Ford in Gore more than 40 years ago.

When he bought it the car had been painted burgundy, not a colour he would have chosen, Mr McDowell said.

“It was light blue originally.”

The car had been restored and repainted in the original Ford colours.

The restoration project was a family affair, his late brother in-law John Goodwin working on the motor and his late brother Ross carrying out the paint and panel work.

The gleaming Ford sports a 272cu in motor with a three-speed manual transmission on the column and a four-barrel carburettor.

Although a new motor had been put in the car, it was a Ford motor of the same cubic-inch rating, he said.

“So I haven’t gone to a bigger motor.”

Many of his family members had a soft spot for the car.

It had been used to ferry people to and from balls and weddings over the years.

His niece Ann Marie Kelly used the Ford for her wedding and she joked it was her car.

That was the first wedding the car was used for, he said.

In February it was used for his nephew Cory McDowell’s wedding.

Mr McDowell credited his father for his love of Fords.

“Dad was a Ford man.”

The Ford’s speedometer is in miles and the odometer has just turned over the clock for the first time.

Although the car is in original condition, it does sport seatbelts.

“That was the first thing I put in.”