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Leon Martin Ennis
Home » People » Leon Martin Ennis » Personal Interests

Personal Interests


Long before names like Mercedes-Benz and Lexus became known in the United States, the Packard Automobile Company made the finest cars in the world. Even now, their elegance remains impressive. The shape of the front grille was a trademark of all Packards, and adds to the car's impressive styling. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was driven in a Packard, and it was the car of choice among the rich and famous. I owned a 1938 Packard similar to this one, and a 1941 Packard coupe. Unfortunately, the cost to restore these cars was too much for me while in college, so I sold them both. I still love classic cars like this one, and hope to own a Packard in the future. In the 1920s and 30s Packard produced some of the most beautiful and innovative cars of that era. Packard's V-12 engine was especially smooth and provided exceptional performance in its time. Packard was one of the few independent automobile manufacturers to survive the Great Depression, but the company began to fade in the years following World War II. Poor management decisions, bland styling, and strong competition from the Big Three (Ford, General Motors and Chrysler) made it impossible for Packard to survive. The company ended production in the 1950s to the regret of those who loved Packard's high quality and tasteful character. Faye Dunaway drives a magnificent Packard in the film Chinatown.


American cars continued to evolve in the 1960s, as the fins of the 1950s slowly began to fade. Whether buying an expensive luxury car, a sports car, or a family car, tasteful styling make the cars of the 60s a true favorite among collectors. The Ford Fairlane was a middle of the road family car during the 60s, yet its well-proportioned design and tasteful chrome trim made it an attractive, affordable mode of transportation. A high performance V-8 option could make the car downright fast! My first car was a 1964 Ford Fairlaine like this one. The second I saw it I fell in love with its style. Fortunately, my father agreed and helped me to buy it. Since two is better than one, my mother gave me $400.00 to buy another one that an old lady had parked in her driveway for many years. It had low original mileage and was too good to resist. These cars ran so quietly that at a stop sign it was hard to tell that the engine was running. One slight touch of the key was all that was needed to start these remarkable cars. I had a lot of fun with my Fairlanes and drove them extensively. I once drove home from New York City during a blizzard, and my Fairlaine moved along with ease while other cars were stuck in the snow. I sold my last Fairlane while in College and I miss driving it.


MG Logo

This is a 1955-MG model TF. It is a rare car and only 3500 were produced. This is similar to the car that has been in my family for many years, and is very fun to drive. It is not very fast or powerful, but it sounds great and is perfect for drives in the country. These cars are a favorite for people who like to spend time in the garage. Like most British cars of the period, they require a lot of maintenance and tend to leave their mark in the form of an on-going oil drip. At an MG show I attended, there were literally hundreds of oil spots in the parking lot where the cars were displayed. However, when the cars are running well, there is nothing better than a day of driving with the top down. Yet, there are some risks. One time a bird with a sense of humor left his mark on my leg as he flew overhead! One of the joys of an MG is that San Diego is the perfect place to enjoy such a car throughout the year. After World War II, American soldiers returning from England spread the word about these agile, stylish cars. MG, along with other British sports cars like Jaguar and Austin-Healy, were very popular in the United States in the 1950s and 60s. By the 1980s a weak economy and lack of consumer demand ended MG production. Recently, a new MG has been reborn in Europe, but sadly the cars are not available in the United States.

Mustang '65 WhiteMustang '65 Red

Mustang Logo

One of the greatest automobile designs of all time is the original Mustang. Among the many cars I have enjoyed, have been two Mustangs like these. A 1964 ½ Mustang still remains in my family, and is as attractive today as when it first appeared. The 64 ½ was the first Mustang to be introduced and is somewhat rare. My Mustang is a coupe, not a convertible. Its 260 cubic inch V-8 engine provides plenty of power, but was replaced with the slightly larger 289 cubic inch V-8 when production of the 1965 models began. The Mustang has become a part of American culture, and its popularity remains as strong as ever. Although the new Mustang is more advanced, and draws its inspiration from the original, the first remains the best.

Last Updated: 10/01/2014
  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District