Ragland married the carhop's sister after a blind date
Last updated 11/19/2009 at Noon
Fred Ragland is a 34-year veteran Los Angeles fireman, serving 17 of those years as captain of the 100-foot Fireboat No. 4, the Bethel Gifford, in the Port of Los Angeles.
Six years before retirement, he drew a circle on a map with a 100-mile radius centered on the port. He and wife Connie searched all available properties and locations within that circle. Luckily for us, the circle included Fallbrook.
“Fallbrook is not someplace you just happen to pass through; you have to go there on purpose,” said Fred. The couple say they love the laid-back, rural surroundings.
After buying their lot in 1988, Fred designed and built their lovely Fallbrook home over a period of two years. They moved into the house in 1990, four years before Fred retired.
Meeting Connie was fortuitous ‘blind fate.” Connie was the sister of Fred’s carhop at Jamar’s Drive-In in Wilmington.
His carhop and her husband set Fred and Connie up on a blind date. Next year, they will have been married 49 years. Obviously, that was one blind date with a happy ending.
Fred purchased his 1939 Packard Touring Sedan in 1997. The six years of engine, frame, body, interior and electrical restoration produced a sedan that looks better than factory new.
Its maiden road run was in 2003. It was definitely the leader of the pack on this year’s Fallbrook Vintage Car Club (FVCC) annual Turkey Run.
The Packard grew from Ward Packard’s dream of building a motor car in the 1890s. Ward formed the Packard Car Motor Company in 1903, the same year Henry Ford began the Ford Motor Company. Packard was known for high quality, expensive cars.
Due to the Great Depression and lagging sales, Packard decided to build lower-priced cars, coming out with the Packard 120 (120-inch wheel base) in 1935.
In 1939 Packard finally dropped the V12 engine. Fred’s 1939 has the inline six-cylinder 130 horsepower engine.
Fred’s first restoration was a 1919 Ford Model T, for which he built a new oak depot hack body. The craftsmanship of the woodwork, fittings and installation are something to marvel at.
The several coats of varnish, wet sanded between coats, resulted in a finish that any multimillion-dollar yacht owner would love to have.
Fred built it from plans. To form the curved ribs and coverings, he had to soak the oak ribs in his pool for a week.
The Raglands are both very active in the FVCC, having joined in 1992. Fred is a past president and was the annual Vintage Car Show chairman for three years.
He has also served on the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade committee for more than three years.
The FVCC is always open to guests and new members. To receive more information, send an e-mail to [email protected].
Meetings are held at 7 p.m. at the Fallbrook Woman’s Club, 238 West Mission Road, on the fourth Tuesday of each month.