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Classic Velocity Blog

Filtering by Category: Shops

An Unexpected Stop

Classic Velocity

I had passed the shop many times before, but never during regular business hours. It had been an automotive repair shop, and then unoccupied for a while, and then this new sign appeared. Intriguing, and worthy of a stop, but the opportunity just did not present itself for over a year. And then one day, I passed by pretty early, but there was a car outside. I actually passed the shop, and then decided to make a U-turn and head back. The side door was wide open, and I stuck my head in and yelled hello. No response. I ventured a few feet inside the dimly lit space, to gaze upon a super beetle and what looked like a barn find early beetle next to each other. I yelled hello again. "Be right there", yelled a voice from some other part of the building.

The voice was Andy, and it was accompanied eventually buy a graying mustached man in a hooded sweatshirt.  "How can I help you?" I told him of my longtime desire to stop by and my long love affair with air cooled German machines. His face transformed into that of a man who had just been reintroduced to a good friend from long ago.   "Come on in, let me show you the shop". 

The shop was really a series of one car garage bays that had obviously been added on one or two at a time over years. Different levels, different entrances, and different time periods judging by the construction. Andy has arranged the areas by project and by function. An assembly area with organized shelves filled with labeled bins, a paint booth, a repair area with lifts, and a storage area through which I had entered. He is semi-retired and only takes in enough projects to allow for reasonable progress. At the moment, he is about at his limit with three cars. "Oh, and I only do Beetles", he said with a smile. It does not take long to get the sense that he only likes to do things "right". That is not to say he is a purist, or that he scoffs at modifications. Clearly not, based on the work he has taken in and the Subaru conversion project he is contemplating. But this does not seem like the place to take your quick and dirty project.

We spoke of  rare machines, of Notches and Buses, and trafficators, and Porsche 356s, and longterm projects, and heater boxes, and other wondrous things. Time flew by. What was just a few minutes turned out to be a few hours in earth time, and I was now officially late. We emerged from the dim shop into a bright wintry outdoors, cold, with icy patches on the ground. I had the sense that I had visited a strange but wonderful place, that I now knew how to find again. We exchanged coordinates. I would be back. Soon. 

Beauty and the Bratwurst

Classic Velocity

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Porsche napkins, Porsche water, a Porsche Super 90 Cabriolet on display, an RS2 parked at the entrance, and yet, this was not a white tablecloth gathering at the country club exclusively for the well-heeled. It was an open house for a shop in Allentown, PA. Specialty Cars is a small shop in a nondescript industrial park, and, when closed, does not really hint at the jewels that regularly flow through the doors. On this day, it was clear. In the driveway, and on the streets surrounding the shops, was an impressive array of Porshes from vintage to the very latest.

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Customers and friends of owner Mark Burkit turned out to ogle cars, shoot the breeze, and eat bratwurst hot dogs. Dick brought his lovely 993, Ed brought his 912, Bruce brought his SC, and Girt showed up with his 02 to disturb the Porsche lineup. There were many special cars in and around the shop including a 1966 911 in need of a total restoration, Nick's award-winning IROC replica resplendent in blue, and the aforementioned 356 Cabriolet. Shops like Specialty Cars are becoming more and more rare. A family-owned businesses that is equally comfortable doing race prep or restoring a 356, and which cooks a mean bratwurst.....

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#classicvelocity

Morrie's Place

Classic Velocity

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There are fewer and fewer shops like Morrie's. It is a place full of old motorcycles. By choice. It is a place where they work on old motorcycles almost exclusively. By choice. It is strange that it is housed in a modern building rather than someplace old with character. From the outside, you would expect the latest from Japan and Europe. 

inside it might be sometime in the late 1970s. The showroom was full. Machines for sale included gems from the sixties and seventies. Morrie's has a lot of British bikes, but they also have a good sampling of others. A lovely Benelli Sei, for example, and a Ducati Monza 250. A nice Excelsior Henderson 4 was wedged in a row of machines. There is a healthy sampling of BMWs as well. A few slash 2s and a slash 5. The majority of the bikes though are British. BSAs and Nortons abound, but are joined by machines from AJS, Velocette, and Triumph. A nice Metisse occupied a place of prominence in a showroom window. There are very few restored machines present in the showroom. Most are well-patinaed drip-pan-needing but sound mechanical motorcycles offered at reasonable prices. 

Favorite machines include a lovely Rickman Triumph, a Velocette MSS. The one we would have ridden home though was a beautiful Norton ES2. Talking with Morrie himself was interesting. Here is a guy that just loves the old machines and has decided to try to make a living selling and servicing them. During our visit, customers were there from nearby Chicago, and far away Iowa. Both offered unsolicited testament to the quality of work and the great customer service. There are not a lot of shops like Morrie's around, but the few that remain should have our deepest gratitude if not patronage. 

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