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Paul Barrow of Livermore, California, has driven some fine Fords over the years since starting off with a 1960 Starliner. But he amped-up the fun factor in his life after buying a new Ford SVT F-150 Lightning back in 2001. Check out his note to us below to see just how important club membership has been in helping him fire-up his Ford ownership experience:

“I've been a Ford fan since way back. My first car ever was a 1960 Ford Starliner. I loved that car, but could not afford to maintain it while going to college without a job, so had to let it go.

“Over the years I've also owned a 1973 Capri, a 1973 F-250, a 1985 T-Bird Anniversary Edition, a 1990 F-250, a 1998 F-150, a 1969 Bronco (still kicking myself for selling that one!), a 1957 T-Bird, a 1934 Ford Cabriolet highboy hot rod (Ford big-block powered, of course!), a 2002 Ford Focus wagon, a 2013 Edge and a 2016 Explorer. I bought a 1969 Mustang GT Sportsroof when I retired to be my retirement project, but I had so much to do that I never got anywhere with it, so I sold it to a neighbor . . . who restored it.

“There may be other Fords in there over all these years, but ‘my baby' is the 2001 Ford SVT F-150 Lightning that I ordered new. I was talking to my wife, Margaret,  in late 2000, a couple years after we sold the F-250 and bought our F-150 pickup. I was telling her that Ford SVT had come out with a new Lightning the previous year, and perhaps I should have waited to get one of those. I told her that, between the offered red, white or black exterior paint choices, I’d choose black, since as a hot-rodder at heart I could then someday have hot-rod flames painted on it if I so chose. My wife told me I shouldn't trade my '98 F-150 for a high-performance Lightning 'cause we'd lose too much money on the trade-in.

“My cousin Denise and her husband Charlie came over that December to exchange Christmas gifts, and Charlie asked me to guess what Denise had gotten him for Christmas. I had no idea, so he said, 'A new SVT Lightning pickup!' I just looked at my wife, who looked at me a little sheepish. I looked back at Charlie and asked, 'What color did you get?' He said, ‘Black!’

“I looked over at my wife again, and before I even said anything she said if I really wanted one, I could go ahead and get one. (Did I mention we met as members of a car club?) I didn't take her seriously, but a few days later I got home from work in the morning and she was on the phone getting an insurance quote on a new Lightning! I asked what was going on, and she told me she had gotten the name of my cousin's salesman, plus an insurance quote, and was now ready to let me order one!

“I received my new SVT F-150 Lightning pickup in May of 2001, just six months or so after my cousin had received its twin. I joined the local chapter of the SVT Owners Association, where I met a friend, Don, who told me about the Bay Area Lightning Association. I also joined them, and have had a wonderful time with the local members ever since.

“I have since modified the truck, and have won many awards at local (and even distant) car shows. The farthest I've taken it so far was to Kansas City for the National Lightning Owners Club's ‘Lightning Fest’ a couple of times. The truck has been on several drag strips, including KCIR, Sacramento and Sears Point, and also some road courses, including Sears Point, Thunderhill, Laguna Seca, and Buttonwillow.

“While my wife was at first hesitant to let me buy the Lightning, she now says that she will never let me sell it! I just turned 66 years old, and my current dream is to add a Shelby Mustang to our fleet of cars. Margaret is helping me try to figure out how to do that. Between now and then, I'd like to drive my Lightning from my home in Livermore, California, to the Ford Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania – and perhaps even doing the Tail of the Dragon with it along the way.

“PS: Margaret's father was a P-38 pilot in the Pacific Theater during WWII – a true, decorated  war hero! So one of my Lightning photos was taken next to a vintage P-38 Lightning at the Planes of Fame museum in Chino, CA; the other was taken at a local winery by photoshootmycar.com, and the last was shot on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Enjoy!”

Editor’s Note: One of the most popular features on FordPerformance.com and in our Fast News e-newsletter continues to be "Ford Fan Spotlight," where readers can send in their own reasons why they're fans of Ford Motor Company. You know who they are: Ford "superfans;" grassroots Ford racers; unique Ford vehicle owners; loyal Ford enthusiasts; notable Ford club people; special Ford families; and/or any avid supporter of Ford, Ford vehicles, Ford mortorsports or Ford Performance who deserves a little bit of special recognition.

All you need to do to get you, your car or candidate considered is to send in a brief description (200-300 words or less) and a few photos (in .jpeg format, preferably 300 dpi) of a person (full name and hometown, please) and vehicle that you think Ford Performance should feature (and why) in the "Ford Fan Spotlight" for an upcoming installment of Fast News and posting on FordPerformance.com. Then email it to: AskTFR@Ford.com. Should you wish to send a video, you simply need to post it on www.YouTube.com (preferably 1-2 minutes long) and send in the link, along with a brief description, to that same AskTFR@Ford.com email address. We'll choose one submission each week.