Art Moran, a longtime dealer in suburban Detroit, died Wednesday. He was 89.
Moran, a World War II veteran, got his start in the business selling used cars at Clohecy Pontiac in Detroit in the 1950s.
Moran partnered with owner Tom Clohecy in 1957 and opened Art Moran Pontiac-GMC in Southfield, Mich., in 1973. It later became Art Moran Buick-GMC and Moran Mitsubishi, and Moran retained ownership for the remainder of his life.
His son, Tom Moran, runs the dealership with his two sisters. Their father continued to visit the dealership once a week, often sitting in the lobby and chatting with customers and employees.
“Everyone knew him; he was a guy who truly cared about his employees and his customers,” Tom Moran said. “He was in the car business for the people.”
Moran recalled a time when one of his father’s customers was $100 shy of buying the car he wanted.
“My dad pulled out $100 and said, ‘You’re not short anymore,’ and never asked for a dime back,” Moran said. “That’s the kind of guy he was.”
Moran also owned Art Moran Auto Plaza in North Palm Beach, Fla., in the 1980s.
In 2000, he helped his son and daughter start two Moran Chevrolet stores and Moran St. Clair Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in suburban Detroit. All but one of Moran’s seven children own or work in dealerships.