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107-year-old Florida man still drives his Mercedes

Joe Newman, who was born in 1913, bought his cherry red Mercedes from his podiatrist when he was 103, and has no plans to slow down.
/ Source: TODAY

At 107 years old, Joe Newman is the oldest resident at his independent living facility in Sarasota, Florida.

"Sure, I have aches and pains," Newman told TODAY. "But I dance as fast as anybody else in this place."

And he drive as fast, too.

The spirited senior has become well-known locally for taking spins in his cherry red Mercedes 320 hardtop coupe, which he bought from his podiatrist when he was 103.

"The first time I saw it, my heart beat faster," he said.

For fun, Newman enjoys cruising around town with his fiancée, Anita Sampson, who turns 100 next month.

“We’re enjoying every moment that we have together,” Newman said. “We know how old the other is and we’re happy for each day that we have.”

Though Newman's driver's license doesn't expire until 2022, he admits he isn't putting many miles on the car these days. On date nights, often to the opera or the ballet, he and Sampson prefer using Uber.

Joe Newman and his red Mercedes, which he still drives
Joe Newman and his red Mercedes, which he still drivesNBC4i

"I accept the fact that driving is a responsibility and a person 107 ought to be concerned about getting out on the highway,” Newman explained. “Anita and I are thinking about getting rid of the car or giving it away. I don't want people to be afraid that I'm on the road."

But that doesn't mean Newman, who ran for a seat in the House of Representatives at age 101, has plans to slow down.

"There's still too much work to be done," he explained. "If you feel you can contribute, then you have a responsibility to contribute."

Newman is happy to pose for pictures behind the wheel of his snazzy sports car. He knows it makes people smile.

But the Notre Dame graduate hopes that when he is gone, he will be remembered for the Logan Center, an organization that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in his former home of South Bend, Indiana.

Newman with a photo of his daughter, Rita Jo.
Newman with a photo of his daughter, Rita Jo.Courtesy of Robyn Davis on behalf of Joe Newman

Newman and his late wife, Sophie, founded the organization in 1950 with just $24 in the bank. The couple’s only child, Rita Jo, was born disabled and and wasn’t allowed to attend public school.

“Back then, people were afraid of catching it,” Newman said. “So, we took matters into our own hands.”

On the first day, they were expecting 12 students, but 22 showed up. Today, the center has a budget of $14 million and a few hundred students, Newman said.

Though Newman misses his native Indiana and thinks about it often, he has no complaints about his current zip code.

“Sarasota is paradise,” Newman declared. "Who wouldn't want to live here?"

Newman and Sampson enjoy dancing and have been talking about going on a hot air balloon ride. For Sampson’s 100th birthday on March 28, Newman will rent a karaoke machine “or hire a singer to sing songs we remember.”