The first tour of the Mid-America Meet was a trip to see Morrie’s Automotive Collection in Long Lake. Morrie has one of the largest and best collections of automobiles in the Midwest, bar none.
We traveled over a somewhat circuitous route, designed by Roger Wothe, to provide the best opportunity to keep most of the caravan together during our journey. There was a mix of both old and new Lincolns on the tour, along with a few other brands. Roger thoughtfully made up some “arrow signs” which he and his long suffering wife, Barb, displayed at key points, making sure no one lost their way.
Arriving at Morries, we were warmly greeted by their friendly and very knowledgeable staff who were quick to provide answers to whatever questions our members had regarding any of some 360 interesting cars in the collection. This was a somewhat eclectic grouping of vehicles, ranging in age from the early 1900s all the way to some manufactured in the past decade. There was literally something for everyone. Most all of the U.S. automobile firms were represented there, along with some of the foreign companies. The bulk of the collection ranges from the 1930s through the 1960s. For those who like the classics, there were the easily remembered favored three: Cord, Auburn and Duesenberg. Cord was particularly well represented with a number of these classic, supercharged, front wheel drive cars on display. The Cord, which reached its highpoint in the mid-thirties, featured styling of a timeless nature and still looks beautiful today. Will we be able to say that about today’s Honda and Nissan cars in eighty years? Time will tell, but most of us, deep down in our hearts, already know the answer.
Morrie’s was not just about beautiful cars; they also had a lot of other very interesting stuff under their extremely large roof. Festooning the walls were large dealer signs and other types of advertising extolling the virtues of the various manufacturers finest offerings. Gas pumps of all types, shapes, and sizes were scattered throughout the collection. Very ornate and most beautiful in design, they are in no way related to what you might find when you stop by Costco where you insert your Visa card and fill the tank yourself. It was a real treat to look at one of these fine examples from yesteryear and muse about what life must have been like in the 1930s—genuinely a different time and a different place. Unlike a lot of other collections, guests at Morrie’s could get right up close to the cars and other items on display. In most cases, you could fully circle the vehicles and look right in the windows to satisfy your curiosity. Visitors were asked not to open any doors, trunks or hoods which, as owners of older cars, we fully understood. All of the cars in the collection are fully operational. Every one receives regular service and when fitted with a fully charged battery, can be started up and driven. Keeping so many vehicles in this condition is truly amazing and a real tribute to the dedication of the owner, Morrie Wagener, and his highly qualified staff.