Face of Defense: Father, Daughter Bring Past to Life
By Air Force Senior Airman Rae Perry
4th Fighter Wing
SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C., Jan. 18, 2012 For Air Force Master Sgt. Marty Stanton, 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management superintendent, and his daughter, Alicia, restoring pieces of the past is something they both enjoy.
Air Force Master Sgt. Marty Stanton and his daughter Alicia, 12, pose for a photo in front of their 1977 Toyota Celica GT at their home in Goldsboro, N.C. Alicia has helped her father in the garage since she was 3 years old and enjoys working and hanging out with him. Stanton is a 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management superintendent. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rae Perry
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Stanton said he has loved working on cars since he was in high school. Unable to afford the equipment for welding class, he settled on body shop. From there, he added, shaping and bending metal to fix cars became a passion.
"I really liked fixing something, so no one could tell what was done," Stanton said. "It's like bringing a car or truck back to life. I just can't get enough."
When Alicia was 3 years old, she became curious about what her dad was doing in the garage, so she put on her mother's black boots to check it out.
"She said, 'Daddy, I want to help you today.' I mean, what can you say?" Stanton said with a chuckle. "It sounded like a great idea."
During their first project together, Stanton taught Alicia how to remove the chrome rings on his 1967 Corvette Stingray.
"I went over grabbed a small pry spoon and showed her how to take the hub caps and beauty rings off of my Corvette," he said. "She took the pry bar, put it under the ring and
pushed on it. The beauty ring came off [and] rolled around on the floor. She started jumping up and down, waving the pry bar around, just celebrating."
From there, Alicia has helped her dad with the family business.
"My favorite part is hanging out with my dad and working on cars," Alicia said. "It's kind of like a family thing."
Even though she is only 12, she already has her first car, which she and her father plan on restoring for her 16th birthday.
"I was excited about getting the Celica," Alicia said. "I just wondered if I was too young, but my dad's thinking was that it would take a couple years to get it fixed up."
The 1977 Toyota Celica GT fastback, five-speed with a 2.2 liter motor, is heavily styled off older Ford Mustangs. Many Japanese car clubs have given the car the nickname “Tokyo Pony.”
"Since Alicia is part Japanese, and it's a Japanese muscle car, I figured that was a perfect fit," Stanton said. "I'm not going to give my beautiful, young, 16-year-old daughter a Mustang to drive around town in, but it looks just like a Mustang, except it's cooler, because it is Japanese."
"I'm looking forward to doing the paint job," Alicia said. "It's going to be Dodge Viper blue with white racing stripes."
The car has a standard transmission, but Alicia is not afraid of learning how to drive it.
"My mom is actually really good at driving stick shifts, so I'm going to learn from both my mom and dad," she said.
Although the car is far from being able to be driven on the road, the father-daughter duo looks forward to fixing it up.
"I'm just really happy that my daughter and I are going to get to restore her Celica together," the proud father said.
Stanton said he plans on fixing cars, not only for the Air Force, but until he can no longer do it.
"I cannot get enough of it," he said. "I'll probably be doing this until I'm in a wheelchair, then I'll get Alicia or one of her sisters to push me around. I'll just keep sanding or doing stuff with my hands until I can't anymore."