Marvin Stuart had a need for speed.

The Masonic Village at Warminster resident spent his 20s, 30s and some of his 60s competing in drag races with a number of different automobiles, including a beloved Chevy Monte Carlo.

Competitive drag racing is a sport in which two vehicles compete to see which can travel a specific distance the fastest from a standing start. Drag racing is known for its intense speed and quick acceleration, testing the limits of both the vehicle’s performance and the driver’s skill in controlling it.

Marvin, now 84, remembers attending drag races every Sunday. He competed in races all over the east coast, at the Pocono Raceway, Numidia Dragway, Langhorne Speedway and the York Raceway, all in Pennsylvania, as well as the ATCO Dragway in New Jersey. He won the stock elimination championship at Numidia in his 30s and had a Trophy Eliminator win at Numidia in 1999. He also won many other championships.

“I liked the adrenaline pump that racing gave me,” Marvin said. “I enjoyed watching it on TV and listening to it on the radio, too.”

Two days after winning the stock elimination championship in Numidia in 2002, Marty suffered a massive stroke, effectively ending his racing career and leaving him paralyzed on the left side.

He still has a 1970 red Corvette convertible (pictured above) sitting in his garage at his home in King of Prussia, where his wife, Priscilla, and daughter, Leigh Anne, look after it. A union carpenter by trade, Marvin built the home for Priscilla after they were married in 1964. Before he got married, Marvin served in an Army reserve unit. The couple have two daughters and four grandchildren.

Growing up in Dallas, Pa., Marvin never attended college, but was self-taught in automobiles by reading books and studying engineering. He used to build his own cars and engines. His first car was a 1949 Ford two-door business coupe.

“That car today wouldn’t take 1/10 of the beating I gave it,” he said. “I liked speed. It had to go fast, or I didn’t like it. Speed got me into trouble a few times. One time a man running a red light hit me broadside. I still carry the scars today — it tore my face up.”

“He had a lot of family members who were into cars, and they worked on cars together,” Priscilla added. “He did very well for not being college educated. He even made the front cover of Engineering magazine back in the 1990s [as the bridge structural superintendent for the Vine Street Expressway in Philadelphia].”

Marvin returned to racing in his 60s after retiring from his job, and made it to three finals, winning one of them.

“I may have been an old man with a Corvette, but I cleaned their clocks,” he said. “It’s quite a thrill making it to the finals in the championships, especially when you’re racing against people 20 years younger than you. It’s fun, and you meet a lot of nice people.”

Marvin came to Masonic Village about a year ago. He was living in Norristown in 2020 when he fell and was hospitalized. He stayed at several communities before ultimately choosing Masonic Village.

It’s a “lovely facility, very clean,” Marvin said, and he has his own room, which makes him happy. A longtime Mason, Marvin belongs to the Irem Temple, is a Knights Templar and Past Master of Lodge No. 620 in Norristown.

“The good Lord left me a sense of humor, and that has pulled me out of a lot of what I went through,” he said. “I have a strong spirit.”