Nov.17 Empire Mopars, New Windsor, N.Y. – Stop #4
New Windsor, New York – Pat and John Macioces love of all things Mopar began as stories like these often do with their father. Ever since their dad told the boys that Chrysler made the best cars because, They take technology everyone has and they make it better, theyve been taking classic Mopar vehicles and making them cleaner, leaner, faster and meaner in some cases, over 1, 000 horsepower meaner.
What began as a hobby in the early 1980s turned into a full-blown business venture for Pat and John once it became evident that expertise such as theirs was in high demand.
During a HEMI Highway Tour stop at Empire Auto Body, filled with Mopar bodies waiting to be returned to their former glory, we got a better idea as to just how much work goes into making that happen. The shop, just 10 miles away from the United States Military Academy at West Point and 65 miles north of New York City, is filled with Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth vehicles in various stages of development, and John filled us in on the back story of each, and plans for completion.
During our visit, enthusiasts from all over the tri-state area brought their vintage beauties out for a day of show-and-tell. Standing next to their most prized possessions, each was beaming and eager to share the history of their vehicle and how it came to be the picture of muscle car perfection we saw before us.
And lucky for us, burn-outs were on the agenda for the days activities.
Pat offered some insight as to what made classic Mopar vehicles cooler than their competition at the time: What I love about classic Mopar vehicles is the fact that Chrysler offered a performance version of nearly every one, he said. Even the so-called economy vehicles of the era offered a souped-up sports package. Plus, no manufacturers had the high impact colors or unique stripe combination offered by Chrysler.
Nowadays, Empire Mopars is responsible for some of the coolest true vehicle restorations, and some even cooler resto-mods vehicles that appear stock, but pack some modern technologies both inside and out, and a few additional ponies. Then theres the wild muscle machines that look intimidatingly fast even at a dead standstill Empire Mopars makes those too!
As a matter of fact, nine out of ten of the vehicles they work on are classified as resto-mod, including Mopar Action Magazines Tech Editor Richard Ehrenbergs 1969 Plymouth Valiant, a.k.a., The Green Brick.
Pat and Richard met shortly after the Brick got into a bit of a fender bender. Empire Mopars got the Brick back to good as new and the friendship between Richard Ehrenberg and the Macioce brothers was born.
A Mopar fanatic himself, Richard Ehrehberg has extremely high standards when it comes to where he takes his beloved vintage Mopars when they need a little TLC. For Richard, its Empire Auto Body. Perhaps its because, as Pat himself says, We dont do anything less than 100%. If our name is going to be on it, it has to be perfect.
Perfection comes at a cost, but when you see the meticulous craftsmanship exhibited in Empire Auto Bodys work, youll agree its worth every penny.