Archive for January, 2013
Since our last update there has been a flurry of activity on the 1968 Dodge Charger. To date the restoration has truly been a team effort. Upon arrival at Morrie’s Long Lake Bodyworks facility our team of 22 body technicians each enthusiastically volunteered to work on a particular body panel. In the images below you can actually see where each technician’s name has been written on the car to mark his territory. Each has been tasked with stripping, repairing, straightening and preparing their assigned part(s) for paint.
As they have dug deeper into it, the Charger is proving to be as clean as it originally looked. Rust has been almost wholly nonexistent and the dry California climate has really preserved the car nicely. This has certainly helped keep the schedule on track. In less than a week’s time much progress has been made and a number of panels are nearly ready for final paint. The team is shooting to have all the bodywork done and car delivered to our Brooklyn Park Bodyworks location by February 11th. From there the panels will be reattached and painting commence.
Stay tuned as the transformation process continues. We’re planning on getting some great photo and video footage of the painting and subsequent assembly processes.
Morrie’s Automotive Group is always looking for opportunities to give back to the communities that we live and do business in. So much so that we established our Buy Happy Giving Program in 2011 to better focus our efforts. This year we have partnered with the Herb Brook’s Foundation to help advocate teamwork and active lifestyle through their Rink Rat Program. Founded in 2007, the Rink Rat program helps to grow the base of hockey among Minneapolis Youth by bringing out physical, emotional, and character development skills among young players.
The program gives its young members of the Minneapolis Public School District the opportunity to learn and play the game of hockey at no cost. We are proud to be able to support the Rink Rat Program and provide assistance wherever possible. We have seen tremendous volunteer involvement internally amongst our employees interested in transporting kids to inner-city ice rinks where they help tie skates and teach them how to play the game of hockey.
We are looking forward to our continued partnership with the Herb Brooks Foundation and the Rink Rat Program. We are thrilled to be able to give back to such a positive community organization that has such a strong heritage here in Minnesota.
For more information on the Herb Brooks Foundation and their programs click here.
Each year we acknowledge the top Sales Associates for 2012 at each of our stores during the Annual Sales Recognition Banquet. Today we want to introduce you to Lee Hintze, the top Sales Associate at our Minnetonka Kia store.
Since we first introduced you to Matthew’s 1968 Dodge Charger restoration wish a generous group of techs at our Minnetonka Ford store have conducted a mechanical evaluation of the car. While you never know what you are going to turn up when digging into an old car, our techs lucked out. With little more than a draining of the gas tank and some tinkering with the carburetor they were able to get the car up and running like a champ. An inspection of the transmission yielded new fluid and functional shifting into all gears. With no red flags and operational running gear we’ve decided to give the engine a tune up, replace some gaskets and clean it up nicely. Naturally if we see the engine or transmission needs more attention, we will make the necessary repairs.
Yesterday our techs, John and Paul, made quick work of removing the engine and transmission. The next step is sending the Charger out to our Long Lake Bodyworks facility for bodywork. Upon arrival the body trim, glass, ancillary engine components, interior and lights will be removed to prep for paint. Much like we lucked out on the mechanical end of things, we’ll also benefit from the cars many years spent in dry California. There is no significant rust to speak of and 99% of the body components appear to be there. This will certainly make it easier on the staff at our body shop.
Be sure to check back often for regular updates on the restoration status.
This week Morrie’s had the opportunity to attend the 2013 North American International Auto in Detroit. The show was marked by a number of vehicle debuts from domestic and overseas automakers. While C7 Corvette was the show’s media darling, Ford literarily dropped a big one on attendees with the unexpected display of their F150 Atlas Concept Vehicle. Other notable concept vehicles included the Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis Concept, Nissan Resonance SUV concept, Lincoln MKC Concept, BMW 4 Series Coupe Concept, Toyota Corolla Furia concept, Acura NSX concept plus a few others. These concept vehicles all provide clues, some more accurate than others, as to how future production models might look. The production vehicle debuts were equally impressive, illustrating what will actually see on the roads in the near future. These included the 2014 Maserati Quattroporte, Audi RS7, Shelby Focus ST, Kia Cadenza, Nissan Versa Note, Cadillac ELR, Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible and C7 Corvette.
Please read along as we elaborate more fully on some of the more noteworthy vehicles that fall within Morrie’s portfolio of brands. Also be sure to check our YouTube and Facebook pages soon to see videos we put together for each vehicle highlighted below.
Weather patterns change quickly here in the midwest and so do road conditions. In the blink of an eye you could be stranded in your vehicle so we did some research of our own to help you be more prepared. We talked to employees in different departments at our Chippewa Valley Mazda dealership and they provided some helpful tips to ensure safe winter driving.
Our staff recommends that you keep these items in your car at all times in case of emergency: A blanket, water, a knife or scissors, glow sticks, road flares, a flashlight, hand and feet warmers, a first aid kit, matches, a candle, booster cables, hat and gloves, an extra set of warm clothes, an ice scraper, and a bag of road salt, sand, or kitty litter.
With icy conditions, our Service Manager suggests using kitty litter or road salt if you get stuck. Put the litter under your tires to help gain added traction. Our Sales Manager suggests digging snow away from your exhaust pipe if you become stuck in deep snow. This prevents the exhaust from seeping back into your vehicle and becoming a hazard. Some other suggestions from staff members included staying in your vehicle until emergency personnel arrive, always carrying a cell phone with a car charger, and packing a snack that won’t spoil or freeze. Maneuvering the roads in Wisconsin/Minnesota during winter months can be dangerous, but being prepared with some of the simple tips above can help if you find yourself stranded.
At Morrie’s we actively look for opportunities to give back, but there are few instances where we can combine our love of cars, combined skills, expertise and generous staff to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. When such an opportunity knocks on our door, we have to jump on it, and that is exactly what we did when Make-A-Wish of Minnesota told us about Matthew, who wished to have his 1968 Dodge Charger restored.
Rewind about a year and a half. Matthew, a 16 year old from northern Minnesota, is fighting cancer. After connecting with Make-A-Wish of Minnesota he wishes for his car to be restored, but his wish cannot be fulfilled until he is 16. As time passes he wonders if his wish will be granted. It was towards the end of this waiting period that we partnered with Make-A-Wish and expressed interest in employing our automotive passion to make a positive impact. As luck would have it, the timing was perfect and we set the ball in motion to restore Matthew’s Charger.
Not knowing what shape the car was in, we hitched up our trailer and made the three-hour trip north on Saturday, January 12. To Matthew, this was just another Saturday. Little did he know that we would be surprising him with the granting of his wish. Just a mile from his house, we connected Make-A-Wish volunteers and made the short drive to his house. Upon pulling into his family’s driveway, it did not take long to take notice of the bright green pickup, trailer and group of us walking towards the house and as if on cue, Matthew was the first out the door. He knew something was up and without hesitation we informed him that we would be granting his wish.
Matthew immediately led us to the Charger and we quickly discovered that it was in much better shape than expected. Spending most of its life in California surely has certainly been good to the car. After a few attempts to load the car, including everyone on hand, we were finally victorious in getting the car on the trailer. We secured it on the trailer, then quickly escaped the cold and celebrated with cupcakes and coffee. Matthew’s family was quite hospitable and in true northern Minnesota fashion, I’m pretty sure they would have invited us for a Sauna if we didn’t have a three-hour drive ahead of us.
Matthew’s Charger now sits at our Minnetonka Ford location where it will undergo a mechanical evaluation before heading to our body shop for bodywork followed by paint and upholstery. We will work closely with Matthew to ensure that the car it built to his specifications. The combined efforts and support form our employees, partners and friends will contribute to the restorations completion. We plan to document the process along the way on our blog so be sure to check back often.
We are truly proud to be able to make Matthew’s wish come true!
UPDATE #1: http://blog.morries.com/2013/01/matthews-1968-charger-restoration-update-1-pulling-the-engine/
Photographer & proud owner of a 2013 Subaru WRX
It seems like it was just yesterday that I bought my ’94 Miata. I thoroughly enjoyed driving the little Miata, driving it all over the Midwest and wringing out everything the chassis and engine had whenever I could. As much as I loved the car, it was taken away from me in September when a woman driving a 2012 VW Jetta ran a stop sign and t-boned my car right in the driver’s side door.
Luckily, I wasn’t injured aside from a few cuts and bruises but the car was a total loss. After sorting things out with insurance, I decided that this time around I’d get something a little more practical and comfortable to use as a daily driver and to carry around all of my camera gear. With the money I got from insurance, I had enough to cover about half the cost of something used that might fit what I was looking for, or I could use the money as a down payment on something newer. I decided that if I was going to be taking on debt to own a better daily driver, I should try to get something that fit as many of my needs as possible.