For Bob Irvin of Olney, Maryland, his 2013 Ford C-MAX hybrid isn’t merely his vehicle. On warm summer nights when he drives around with the windows down and music cranked up, the C-MAX is a time machine that seems to transport him back to cherished childhood days spent in another prized Ford: his dad’s 1964 Galaxie 500.
Irvin’s father, Bill, was an enlisted Air Force man – and a devoted Ford man – who’d use his 30 days of annual leave to drive his family on a pilgrimage to his parents’ farm in eastern Kentucky. In the summer of 1967, that meant a three-day cross-country road trip from San Bernardino, California.
The seven-year-old Irvin shared the Galaxie’s backseat with his older sister, Myra, his Uncle Henderson and the two family pooches, Pepi and Pierre. He and Myra, naturally, had an invisible line to divide their territories, but they crossed it often to exchange comic books.
The car didn’t have air conditioning, so the family drove through the night to take advantage of cooler temperatures. “One of my greatest memories is driving across the Mojave Desert at night in the Galaxie with my parents, windows down, feeling the warm breeze coming in the car,” he says. “There was a sense that we could go anywhere.”
Every now and then, Irvin would get promoted to the front seat to help keep the driver awake with his chatter. The crackling AM radio kept them company as well. His parents preferred country music, but occasionally a Beatles song would sneak through. As they crossed the Midwest, they listened to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. When they heard station WLW out of Cincinnati, they knew they were almost to their destination.
These days, Irvin uses his C-MAX not only for his daily commute into Washington, D.C., but also for camping and fishing trips with his wife, Nancy. As the president and CEO of a national conservation group, Irvin was impressed by the commitment of Ford to fuel-efficient vehicles and was drawn to the C-MAX hybrid for its fuel savings and the benefits for the environment.
In fact, last summer Irvin and his wife loaded up the C-MAX and hit the road for—where else?—Kentucky, where his parents now live. “There were no dogs or kids in the backseat,” he says, “but it brought back nice memories of my childhood trips in a Ford.”