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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.
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/
We are pleased to announce that through our Buy Happy Giving Program we have partnered with Make-A-Wish® Minnesota. During the month of August we will be matching online donations to Make-A-Wish Minnesota up to $5,000. The goal of this partnership is to make a difference in a child’s life within our local community.
Make-A-Wish Minnesota grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Make-A-Wish Minnesota has granted more than 3,800 wishes for Minnesota children.
The Morrie’s Automotive Group is grateful to be able to support the local community that we live and do business in. To help develop these efforts we established the Buy Happy Giving Program in 2011. Through this program we seek out opportunities to give back to the local community by working with great local organizations.
We sincerely hope you will take this opportunity to support Make-A-Wish Minnesota and help to make a difference in a child’s life within our community.
To donate or learn more visit the Make-A-Wish Minnesota website.
The Morrie’s Automotive Group is continuing to develop our Buy Happy Giving program which was established in 2011. For the 2012-2013 year Morrie’s has partnered with the Herb Brook’s Foundation to help promote and advocate for a positive hockey experience among youth members. We have a variety of different volunteer opportunities that we are looking forward to engaging in with the foundation this year and are happy to be working with such a great community organization.
Morrie’s Automotive Group has been involved in our local communities since Morrie Wagener opened his first store in Wayzata, MN over 50 years ago. Giving back to the community has always been a core value for Morrie’s, and we are grateful to be able to support the local communities that we live and do business in, leading us to establish our Buy Happy Giving program in 2011.
We are pleased to announce that last month we donated a Mazda CX-5 to the Minnesota Zoo. Since 1978 the Minnesota Zoo has been connecting people, animals, and the natural world through cutting edge exhibits and education programs.
Nissan isn’t sure where or when their new electric Leaf Nismo RC will be racing, but we’ve got some very cool video to share.
It’s got a full carbon-fibre monocoque chassis and body panels – measuring a foot lower, 20mm longer, 170mm wider, and 40% lighter than the street car. The Nismo racer also features custom suspension and a fully driver-adjustable rear wing. The drivetrain is almost entirely the same as the street going Leaf - including the 80kw electric motor and 24kWh (that’s kilo-Watt-hour) lithium-ion battery pack. The only major difference is that the electric motor was moved to the middle of the car, and now powers the rear wheels instead of the front. More >
I just got the final version of our new commercial from our ad agency, and I think they hit a home run with this one. This will primarily be screened during Twins games on FSN North, and features our Buy Happy bonus: Nationwide Powertrain Warranty. Check out the video after the break and let us know what you think? More >
I’m pleased to announce that an event I’ve been involved with since it’s inception is now being sponsored by Morrie’s Automotive Group. I originally got involved with Cars and Coffee back in 2008 when I was working at our Maserati \ Bentley store. Back in April of 2008 – we had 30 cars. By August we had close to 300 and had to move the event. More >
Have you heard of a mashup before? It’s like when DJ Danger Mouse took Jay-Z’s Black Album, overlaid the Beatles White Album and created the Grey Album. Take two things – mash them together, and sometimes magic happens. That’s exactly what Nissan was hoping for when they created this – the 2011 Murano CrossCabriolet. Nissan appears to have taken their Murano and mashed it up with their 370z, and quite possible invented a new segment along the way. More >
Hot on the heels of the Veloster’s Detroit debut last month, Hyundai teased us with a single airborne photo of the Veloster, wrapped in rally livery. And now they’ve unveiled the real thing, at the Chicago International Auto Show. It was developed by Rhys Millen, who smashed the Pikes Peak record last year in a Hyundai Genesis Coupe, and Rod Millen who originally partnered with Hyundai for their Pikes Peak program 20 years ago. The new Veloster rally car is slated to compete in the US Rallycross series, and the Summer X-Games this year. More >