By Brad Bowling
Driving around Charlotte, N.C., the question presents itself: Which came first, the racetrack (Charlotte Motor Speedway) or the local enthusiasm for fast cars?
Jimmy Morrison, of Morrison Motor Co. in Concord, says that the people in the area were crazy about powerful cars long before the ground was marked off for CMS. Morrison was himself an early speed enthusiast, having gotten his first car at the impressionable age of 12. That first car was a '40 Ford, a model that his father (a car dealer) had quite an affection for - there were 13 examples of them in the Morrison driveway at one point.
Morrison's dad was buying "old cars" back in the days that right-thinking people never drove anything more than two model years old. In his day Father Morrison was considered to be a little eccentric because of his hobby - Jimmy and his brother Gary are now "savvy businessmen" in this day of car collecting mania. They buy and sell musclecars, grabbing the occasional irresistible GTX or low-mileage big-block Corvette for their own collection.
When we visited the Morrison dealership, there were more than 200 cars on hand, ranging from a '55 Thunderbird with 28,000 miles to a '69 Camaro Z-28 that was originally purchased by Roy Orbison. Although the collection contains muscle from every manufacturer, it is heavy on Fords and Chevys.
A partial listing of the Fords on hand includes a '63 427 Galaxie XL, a '66 427 R-motor Galaxie, a '68 428 Cobra Jet Mustang GT, a '71 429 Super Cobra Jet Mustang Mach 1, a '68 390 Cougar XR-7 Dan Gurney model, a '63 406 tri-power XL convertible and a '66 Fairlane GT convertible. A '66 Fairlane GTA 390 has just returned to the fold after Morrison sold it 12 years ago - the car still has only 17,000 miles on it. Chevys were well-represented by a '62 Bel Air bubbletop with the 409-cid motor, a '62 SS with 409/425 powerplant, a red '60 convertible with tri-power 348 and four-speed, a '61 hardtop with the tri-power 348 plant and four '69 Z-28 Camaros.
Mopars were scattered throughout the group, including a '67 Satellite with Hemi motor, a '66 Hemi Coronet and a '70 440 Super Bee Six-Pack with only 17,000 miles.
Although most of Morrison's cars are for sale, there are a few he pointed out that would require "a lot of talking and a lot of money" to take home. One of those is an exceptionally clean '68 Hurst Olds, showing only 12,000 miles.
Morrison says that his cars are often found within a few hundred miles of his home by word of mouth and careful scanning of Old Cars' classifieds section.
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