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Dreams come true... Car enthusiast Tena McCarthy and her 1977 Ford Falcon XCGS Coupe which she said is her dream car.

Not many people’s first car is their dream car, but Tena McCarthy’s 1977 Ford Falcon XCGS Coupe was just that.

The car, which she refers to as her baby and her girl, is a 351cc four-speed manual which Miss McCarthy said she had kept as close to the factory specifications as she could.

“The engine has heaps of room for potential but I’m happy with her the way she is at the moment,” she said.

Miss McCarthy’s love of cars began when she was 16 and her father brought home a Falcon Coupe.

“I fell in love with it and I wanted one just like it and so I got one four years later.”

Miss McCarthy said her father always let his children drive his cars.

“It was back in the day when things were a little more relaxed so while he was putting his seat belt on you were holding on to the steering wheel and changing gears and all that kind of stuff.”

The car was bought in Invercargill and while it was tidy it still needed restoration, she said.

“There was crazy paint coming through the bonnet and rust in the bottom door sills, so probably after three or four years of driving around in her I decided to bite the bullet and do a full restoration on her.”

The Falcon Coupe was now back to its original state, including the original colour and upholstery.

While the suspension in the steering of the classic cars was very different from modern vehicles, Miss McCarthy said she loved being able to feel her car on the road.

“She’s got a nice cruising engine, but when you need the power it’s there. She starts off just purring like a wee cat, but when you need her to she roars like a lion.”

She also liked the model for its “nice curves, nice butt and hips”.

Miss McCarthy is a member of the Southern Aussie Muscle Car Club in Gore and a life member of the Southland Ford Falcon Club.

She said she took the car to various car runs, shows and rallies, and the Southland Ford Falcon Club had become like a second family as she had been involved with the club from when she was a child and her father was a member.

“I think I’m just really fortunate to be able to own her [the Ford] actually. The price of muscle cars are quite expensive now and I’m very content with the car that I have,” Miss McCarthy said.

“I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world.”

“She’s got a nice cruising engine, but when you need the power it’s there. She starts off just purring like a wee cat, but when you need her to she roars like a lion.”