From the Bay to Birdwood in a ’64 Fairlane

'64 FairlaneStory and photo by Kendrea Rhodes

In 1964 “Pat” Seidel, a farmer from Kenton Valley, traded in his 1951 Ford for a brand new, compact Ford Fairlane. Quite an outlay for a normally frugal farmer – but it was a decision he never regretted and one that his descendants are now grateful for.

Pat took the car out to church, shopping and family events, but mostly it stayed in the shed, well cared for and much admired for 25 years. The 500 sedan, with a 289cc V8 engine, was still in good condition when he passed away in 1989, leaving the family in a quandary as to what to do with it.

Pat’s grandson, Mark Seidel, has always been interested in cars, having trained and worked as a motor mechanic at Black’s Garage in Lobethal in the 70’s and 80’s. He’s owned a number of classics, but the first to fuel the passion was a 1946 Ford V8 side valve Ute, which in turn sparked a more specific interest in side valve engines. Thus a 1947 Ford V8 side valve Coupe in British racing green was added to the family collection and is still on the road today. So you can imagine Mark’s delight when he took possession of his grandfather’s 1964 Fairlane in 1994.

Mark and his wife Margy, along with their 3 children, Cameron, Harry and Ebony, enjoy the all engrossing world of classic and vintage cars. The family are members of the South Australian Early Ford V8 club and attend many classic car events around the country. They’ve also had their 30 seconds of fame, featuring in this years Bay to Birdwood television advertisement on Channel 10. Since 1990, the Seidels have been regulars on the Bay to Birdwood and always dress the part. They have many outfits from the particular era’s to go with the cars, right down to the penny’s in Margy’s purse and the Dick and Dora books in the children’s cases.

On Sunday 27th of September, the Seidel family drove their 1964 Ford Fairlane along the 70 km route of the Bay to Birdwood Run from the Adelaide Shores to the National Motor Museum in 2 hours. It was travelled by an estimated 1800 vehicles including motorbikes, cars, utes, trucks and buses. This event has been running for veteran and vintage vehicles (early-1955 models) since 1980 and was extended in 1997 to include classic vehicles (1956-77). The Seidel’s were judged third in the “Best Dressed Family” category of Fashions on the Field, with Ebony Seidel achieving second, and Cameron third place, in the youth categories.

The 2009 Bay to Birdwood Classic will be remembered as one of the wetter and muddier years, but the weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of over a thousand revellers who enjoyed the live music, food and party atmosphere at the National Motor Museum in Birdwood, where the run finished and the festivities began.