Speed and Custom

A BurgerFuel Icon

Posted by Johnny Promo

This being the first article in Speed and Custom’s historical section would lead you to believe that this is the story of our first branded vehicle right? Well its not, but perhaps it was the most important and  is the reason why I started with this one very special car.

Historical

Detroit City 1967

BurgerFuel's Dodge Monaco was originally produced in Detroit City in 1967. It was shipped out to a Southern Californian Auto Dealership where it was spotted by Keith Orr, a resident of the town of Richmond. Keith paid the “sticker” price of $3.712.00 and then drove the car home where he presented it to his wife who was the towns local florist. She loved the car as it had a huge parcel shelf across the back seat which meant she had plenty of space to lay out her flower arrangements when they were ready for delivery. Mrs Orr drove the car for the next thirty years delivering her flowers all over the place before finally retiring and parking her beloved Monaco for the last time. A few years later my friend Murray was looking for a few cars to take back home to New Zealand and he spotted the car in an estate sale and decided to go have a look. Like Keith Orr all those years ago it was love at first sight! The Monaco, apart from a few scratches was as good as the day it rolled off the assembly line. Murray purchased the car and shipped it back to New Zealand where it sat for a number of years awaiting restoration.

The Dodge Monaco

The year was now 2002, BurgerFuel had just opened its newest store in Botany downs and I had been the Promotions Manager for two years by that stage. Chris Mason and I had found a 1967 Holden Monaro a few years earlier and painted it up in company colours and this was the first “Promo” car I had as a daily driver. Being bought up in a world of American cars though I always had my eye out for something to replace the Monaro and when Murray told me in passing one day that I should come over and have a look at something he had stored in his basement I was very intrigued. I went to his “Paint and Panel” shop that afternoon and parked in the basement, true to his word, there she was, the Dodge Monaco.

The year was now 2002, BurgerFuel had just opened its newest store in Botany downs and I had been the Promotions Manager for two years by that stage. Chris Mason and I had found a 1967 Holden Monaro a few years earlier and painted it up in company colours and this was the first “Promo” car I had as a daily driver.

Being bought up in a world of American cars though I always had my eye out for something to replace the Monaro and when Murray told me in passing one day that I should come over and have a look at something he had stored in his basement I was very intrigued. I went to his “Paint and Panel” shop that afternoon and parked in the basement, true to his word, there she was, the Dodge Monaco.

Man, this was a real, rust free, one lady owner, California car and it only had two doors! I told Murray this was exactly what I was looking for. I asked Murray the price and he told me he was going to paint it and put it on the market for around 35 grand. I told him I really wanted it but could only afford 13 thousand (This was the price I knew I could sell the Monaro for!). Murray said if I took it as is, where is, he would sell it to me (I think he thought I would cry if he said no) and the deal was done.

Now all I had to do was to convince Chris and his new business partner Jo Roberts to do this deal with me. A quick phone call later and it was all on. The next day Jo wrote the check and BurgerFuel was now the second only owner (Murray never registered the car in his name) of this awesome two door hardtop.

"legendary painter Steve Levine laid down one of his trademark BurgerFuel purple, fade paint jobs"

Dodgy deal

Now all I had to do was to convince Chris and his new business partner Jo Roberts to do this deal with me. A quick phone call later and it was all on. The next day Jo wrote the check and BurgerFuel was now the second only owner (Murray never registered the car in his name) of this awesome two door hardtop.

First job now was to VIN the car and get it road worthy, so off to C and R Automotive where my best friend Chris did all that was necessary to get the car up to standard. From there it was sent over to a place called Imagine-airing where legendary painter Steve Levine laid down one of his trademark BurgerFuel purple, fade paint jobs.

I proceeded to drive the wheels off the Dodge for the next eight years and took her to almost every town and city in the North Island of New Zealand. This included plenty of towing duties with our Mobile Billboard, visits to Hot Rod runs and Cruise Nights and as a daily driver she performed beautifully for that whole time. In fact at one time this car was voted as Auckland's most recognised vehicle, it was simply everywhere!

After 8 years in my care a decision was made to ship off the Dodge to Dubai in the Middle East to help promote our first Burger Fuel store, so in preparation for this trip I decided to do a full overhaul and finally replace the tired 383 cubic inch engine with a brand new 440 “Create Motor”.  These awesome engines are built with all new parts and are fully Dyno tuned and guaranteed from the Chrysler factory. I then had famed auto upholsterer Greg “Harry” Dietch, strip out the interior and lay in a fresh white “Tuck and Roll” job, resplendent with green piping to match the original dashboard and steering wheel colours.

A massive “Kicker” Car audio system was installed thanks to my good mate Tony O,Toole from Kicker and by that stage the car was almost complete. Last but not least it was back to Steve Levine’s to give the paintwork a machine buff (the first in 8 years) and apply the first ever “Air brushed” BurgerFuel Wings on the doors.

You know, I remember when I first got that car I took out the back seat to look for seat belt mounts and maybe a stash of Greenbacks only to be surprised by the strong smell of flowers and the remnants of thousand of flower petals still on the floor, left over from Mrs Orr’s flower arrangements all those years ago.  Man, if that car could talk she could sure tell some tales, like the time somebody stole her and I found her two weeks later in a ditch missing her Chrome spoke 20 inch wheels or like that one time at ... (No, can’t tell that story, what am I thinking!) but you get the idea, she and I have seen and been through a lot in our time together

It was a great experience when six months later I got to drive her around Dubai and Abu Dabi  for the grand opening of our first BurgerFuel store there. Having left her behind I feel I miss her terribly, but at the same time I'm comforted to know the next owner will love this car as much as I did. Yes, from Detroit city USA to New Zealand and then finally all the way to Dubai, in the Middle East, that car has done it all and this very special BurgerFuel icon continues her adventures to this day.