tire smoke.To many of us, owning a Mustang is therapeutic, helping us to make it through another day without ending up on the evening news.

"It was just the medicine I needed," Kelly says of her '03 Mach I. She bought it new, and as mentioned, didn't know a lot about cars. Driving the car helped Kelly regain her identity, and after a brief time, back to a point in her life where she was ready to date again.

This time around she had two criteria that were important to her. First, the guy had to be taller than her at 5-foot, 10 inches. No word on if Kelly carried around a height-requirement sign, but it was a key factor. Second, he had to know more about cars than she did. "That was a tougher bill than I imagined," Kelly says. However, Kelly says she hit the jackpot when she placed a call to


Text and Photos by Michael Johnson n 2003, Kelly Sparks had just gone through a bad divorce. (Are any of them good?) She needed something to help get her mind right. She knew relatively little about cars, but Kelly soon discovered what many of us already know—the joy of Mustang ownership can make life's ills a lot better with just the turn of the key.

We've all had a bad day, only to make it disappear in a cloud of

Kelly Charles says one reason she picked up the K&N cold-air intake from Parkway Ford was to "meet the guy with the sexy voice." Realizing she's talking about our boy Joe Charles, we could have done without that little tidbit of information.

•^Kelly says one time when she went out of town, Joe decided to clean the Mach for her. Anyone who knows Joe is aware of his fanaticism when it comes to cleaning a car. Joe set out to clean the car only to find that Kelly kept the car in great shape. He would check another area of the car to clean only to find Kelly had that part covered as well. It seems both Joe and Kelly are obsessed with keeping their cars clean. Even when at the dragstrip, Kelly's Mach wears matching blue tape on the quarters to keep off rubber, and neither of them find that over-protective.

Joe Charles at Parkway Ford to get parts and advice for her Mach I.Joe already owned a Mach I and knew the best upgrades to meet Kelly's need for speed.

One of Kelly's first wishes for the Mach was a gear swap, but she needed a shop to install the gears as well. A big proponent of MV Performance in Statham, Georgia, Joe recommended MV for the gear swap, so Kelly took her Mach to MV and Shane "Biggie Me" Cannon.

Up till this time, Joe and Kelly had never met, and since Joe and Shane are good friends, word got back to Joe that he needed to meet Kelly face to face. It just so happened that Kelly had ordered a K&N cold air kit from Joe, but with the kits being a group purchase, Kelly was on a waiting list.After hearing from Shane, Kelly's name moved way up the list to expedite a potential meeting.

With both Joe and Kelly seeming too impatient to wait for the cold-air kit shipment, she made the 60-mile drive to Parkway Ford to pick it up in person. "Of course, it wasn't that I was just curious what this guy looked like that I had been talking to on the phone," Kelly says. Kelly went to Parkway to pick up the cold-air kit and met Joe.They went out that weekend to a Mach I show; six years later they are happily married.

During that time, Kelly says the Mach has taken her on many road trips across the eastern half of the country, been responsible for her fair share of driving "awards" from authorities (two in one day is her record), scared her to death with a few near misses, and taken her to highs no drug could provide."When I'm down, all I have to do is hop in and take her for a drive, and the day is suddenly better," Kelly adds.

Meanwhile, Joe's own Mach has earned the name Bigfoot because it's often mentioned in conversation but no one ever sees it. Since meeting Kelly, Joe's Mach has been a staple in Gene Wilson's place. Joe says it's almost ready for the street—please, we've all used those exact words, Joe—but he's fine with it since

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