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DEC 14, 2023 | By Julie Albaugh / Brenda Pottinger Photos

Love Story: A Mustang Guy Gets A Brand-X Girl To Marry Him – At The Halderman Museum

Closer up on boutonniere with Mustang Emblem

TIPP CITY, OH – In anticipation of the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Ford Mustang, longtime Mustang owner and enthusiast James Denney got an idea. He fosters a deep appreciation for the late Gale Halderman, the legendary Ford designer who was best known as the principal stylist behind the original Mustang, and he wanted to do something special to “memorialize Gale for his unique contribution in creating the world’s best-selling sports car.” Inspired by a visit to the Halderman Museum in Tipp City, Ohio (just north of Dayton), Denney and his then-fiancé, Julie Albaugh, set up a meeting with Halderman’s daughter, Karen, to see if she’d be interested in collaborating with him on creating a 1-of-1 Gale Halderman Tribute car.Couple standing by Mustang

The idea was that as a retired mechanical engineer, Denney would customize his own 2021 Mach 1 with external and internal modifications as a Gale Halderman Edition Mustang, with a follow-on concept to be based off a 2024 Dark Horse. Julie, a self-proclaimed “Car Gal” immersed in the digital marketing and social media world, would handle the marketing and event schedule for the car, with the Ford Performance Club Connect program being asked to chip in to help promote the car for club shows and events throughout 2024. Although Karen decided against the proposal, not willing to guess on what her late father would have wanted the tribute car to look like, the meeting cemented Jim and Julie as friends. So much so that Jim asked Karen if he and Julie could host a small wedding ceremony at none other than the Halderman Barn Museum. Since Jim didn’t land that concept car proposal he’d wanted, Karen said yes.Wedding Party

“Jim and I first met at a cars-and-coffee event back in May of 2022.” Julie noted to Ford Performance in an email. “We love going to car shows together. We were married on April 1st of this year at the Gale Halderman Barn Museum in Tipp City, Ohio -- which was the perfect setting!”Cake and wedding items on table

“Our wedding theme centered on the Ford Mustang,” Julie said. “Ashley Nienaber, our florist, incorporated the Mustang theme into the floral design, such as a red ceramic Mustang car and several diecast cars, and Jim’s boutonnière featured a miniature decal. Our cake designer, Jan Kish, added the blue ribbon, flowers and Mustang details to the cake. My new husband added a Ford Sales and Service Gas Pump Globe from his own collection to our cake table. Our photographer Brenda Pottinger, and videographer Ted Dryden, made sure to include Ford-themed items into our wedding photos and video. The ceremony was performed by our pastor from church, Randy Warner alongside classic the Mustangs in the museum. Our going-away car was Jim’s blue 2021 Mach 1. After our wedding we honeymooned in Hawaii. We will be enlarging one of our wedding photos to place in our Mustang-themed office at home.”Couple photos inside barn

But that’s not the end of this story. Julie had asked Karen if she could also host a car club event at the museum after the couple returned from their honeymoon – to which Karen also said yes. Except that Julie had wanted to host a cruise-in at the barn for the Monte Carlo Car Club of North America, who was holding its Nationals on a late June weekend in nearby Dayton. That’s the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, of course. Turns out that Julie was a Bow Tie girl who just so happened to have made a love connection with Mustang guy Jim. Karen knew that after Gale had retired, he’d hosted car shows at the barn for many other makes and models, so she said the Chevys would be welcome. Julie went on to set up a cruise for dozens of club members and owners of that Brand-X mid-size to enjoy an evening at the Mustang Barn Museum for fun and food.Groom watching bride walk in

You might say this proves that car love knows no boundaries. We just wonder if Karen Halderman would have agreed if Julie and her Bow-Tie brigade were made up of Camaros instead?Couple staning outside by Mustang Mach 1
Couple in Model T
Close up of couples wedding cake