When Greg Hudnet, a veteran captain of the Baltimore County Fire Department, retired after 36 years last February, he looked forward to working on the 40 classic automobiles he's acquired over the years. There is one car of his, however, that stands out among the rest.
Hudnet has gained some local notoriety as being the man with the "Ravens car," which is actually a 1952 Buick customized with Ravens colors and logos. Hudnet has even made appearances throughout the state with the "52 Buick," and has had a lot of fun along the way.
"[My family and I] have always been the biggest Ravens fans," Hudnet said when asked why he decided to customize the car the way he did.
He bought the car from a friend he met through the fire house, and spent a year and a half working on it with his family. Hudnet started to rebuild it and it evolved from there.
Hudnet, who has been working on cars since he was 16 years old, has other classic cars in his collection, including a 1957 Chevy convertible. He decided he wanted to have some fun with this one, and had a good idea this car would take off. Within a week of changing the colors to purple and black, people began noticing the familiar ensemble. For Hudnet, that was only the beginning.
The Buick has purple neon spread throughout, and Ravens logos placed strategically on the hubcaps and pin striping, as well as throughout the interior. He also has an electronic horn which plays Ray Lewis' "Who let the dogs out?" chant and the Monday Night Football theme song, among others. Additionally, Hudnet customized the exhaust to shoot flames out. The car also has a racing transmission and late model Chevy parts, so it "runs like a dream."
"A lot of the stuff you do yourself," he explained about the various features. For the more extensive extras, such as the flame-shooting exhaust, Hudnet says that "if you know the right people you can get it done."
To go the extra mile, Hudnet uses the Steelers-themed "Terrible Towels" to wipe the car down and serve as mats for the tires.
Hudnet has taken his popular car throughout the state, participating in parades and winning a few competitions along the way. He was particularly proud when, during the Fourth of July Parade in Dundalk, he was right behind the Marching Ravens. He's devoted time to charities with it as well, taking it to Scottish Rite Special Childrens events. The car has gained attention from the Baltimore Orioles and even Baltimore Colts legend Lenny Moore.
Hudnet says he still has a bit more to do, but that the car is essentially finished. He believes part of the car's popularity is that it appeals to many generations. Kids love it because of the Ravens tie-in, while adults love the vintage model. Many have approached Hudnet to commend him on the project, telling him it was the first car they ever drove.
Others have questioned Hudnet for taking such as classic automobile and customizing it this way. Others have told him he should capitalize on it for monetary gain.
But for Hudnet, it's all about having fun and showing off his love for the Ravens.
"It's such a fun car," Hudnet said with glee. "I'm having a blast."