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Driven by love: Man restores ’57 Fairlane in honor of his wife

  • A 1940 Ford roadster with a special license plate and campaign sticker at the Kiwanis Antique and Classic Car Show at NHTI on Saturday, September 8, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Joe Licciardello of Hudson wipes a spot off his 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 he restored in honor of Mary, his wife of 48 years. Within a year of her death in 2003, Licciardello bought the vehicle and restored it and named it, “Sweet Mary.” The car won the People’s Choice award in the Best Modified division at this year’s Kiwanis Antique and Classic Car Show at NHTI on Saturday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Joe Licciardello of Hudson even had the trunk of his 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 upholstored. The car won the People's Choice award in the Modified division on Saturday, September 8, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Participants look over some of the 920 vehicles at the 33rd annual Kiwanis Antique and Classic Car Show at NHTI on Saturday, September 9, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • David Daoust of Stratham raises his arms as he discovers he has the same model 1947 Ford as Rick Fredette of Auburn to his right at the 33rd annual Kiwanis Car Show at NHTI on Saturday, September 8, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Most car enthusiasts restore antique automobiles for the challenge.

Joe Licciardello of Hudson has a more personal investment. After his wife of 48 years died in 2003, Licciardello, 80, remembered his wife, Mary, once quipped that someday she wanted to “fix up one of those antique cars.” So, he set out to fulfill that dream. Within a year of her death, Licciardello found a 1957 Ford Fairlane in Virginia that was in decent shape, and he soon started to restore the vehicle.

Countless hours and dollars later, the retired engineer has a classic automobile he named “Sweet Mary” that won the People’s Choice award for the Best Modified division at the 33rd annual Kiwanis Car Show this past weekend.

Licciardello wanted a car that harkened back to the end of the Hot Rod era of his youth, the late ’50s. “I wasn’t wild but I wasn’t mild either,” he said.

But the main reason was to honor his wife.

“I know she’d like it.”