The Dart: Local car owner likes being Bad

Published 12:09 am Monday, October 8, 2007

NATCHEZ — To say that Ronnie Martin really likes cars would be an understatement.

Ronnie Martin is passionate about cars.

Martin is a member of a car club that calls itself the River City Bad Boys.

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And while Martin, a grandfather and 50 something, isn’t all that bad, his cars are.

Martin is the very proud owner of a 1971 Plymouth Roadrunner and a rare 1969 Ford Fairlane 500 GT convertible. Only 2,000 Farilanes were made in that model.

Throughout Martin’s life he has owned some of the great classic cars like a 55’ Chevy and an original Roadrunner he bought new in 1971.

“I just love that loping sound the motor makes,” he said. “Its just a real mellow sound.”

Though he has always had an affinity for muscle cars, he went through a long period owning none at all.

“I’d see the (River City Bad Boys) out somewhere and just dream,” he said. “Finally my wife let me get one.”

That was three and a half years ago when Martin got his Roadrunner.

Martin found the car online and traveled all the way to Little Rock, Ark., to pick it up.

Martin towed the car back home on a trailer and began work on its resurrection.

After a lengthy restoration process Martin finally had the car road ready.

On most Friday nights Martin and his wife, Sylvia, dine out with the other Bad Boys, park down by the river and just hang out.

And while the restoration on the Roadrunner was not fully completed, he and his wife would still use it to run the occasional errand.

Then tragedy struck. The Roadrunner got rear-ended.

While waiting to pull out into traffic Martin and his wife were hit from behind.

“I just thought, ‘oh no’,” he said. But Martin was pleasantly surprised. While damage to the Roadrunner was minor the other driver’s car took the brunt of the damage.

“That poor girl’s car was just tore up,” Mrs. Martin said.

Martin said the Roadrunners sturdy build saved it from serious damage.

“They don’t make them like that anymore, they really don’t,” he said.

Martin did however have some trouble finding replacement parts for his car.

Martin expects that his car’s repairs will be completed very soon and he said he can’t wait to get back on the road with it.

“I love that car,” he said.

Though the car has a 450 horsepower motor, Martin said he has never taken it above 65 mph.

But his identification as a River City Bad Boy may be just a bit late.

Martin grinned when he said he once ran his original 1971 Roadrunner on the Vidalia-Ferriday highway at 150 mph.