Merriconeag High School Car Mechanics Class at Portland Motor Club

TWO-UNDERA group of students from the Merriconeag Waldorf High School in Freeport, Maine chose what must have been one of the coolest electives ever at a Waldorf school  — “Introduction to Auto Mechanics” taught by Portland Motor Club owner and muscle car enthusiast (and Merriconeag parent) Bill Waldron.

How did this get to be part of the Merriconeag curriculum? Waldron answers, “After a development meeting where the conversation turned to high school age kids and driving and cars, I was approached about the idea of doing a practical hands-on class about cars for the high school. I figured that some of the kids were probably like me when I was their age and might like working with engines and machines and getting their hands dirty. For me, it was the beginning of a lifelong passion. Hopefully this class really made a connection for some of them.”

The class ran eight weeks and the eight students were transported weekly back and forth from the New Gloucester, Maine high school campus to state-of-the-art Portland Motor Club facility on Presumpscot Street in Portland. The curriculum covered a lot of ground from the engine components and basic workings of the motor including the fuel system and spark plugs to wheel, tire and brake care. Students got practical experience with changing the oil, working on the brakes and even learning how to detail (professionally clean) a car’s exterior and interior. Topics related to safety and roadside emergency were also covered.

GROUP1When the students are saying things like, “class was too short” and “it’s fun to participate”, you know you’re on the right, well, road. They liked the hands-on aspect of the class, taking things apart and putting them back together, and learning useful things that will come in handy some day (on the side of the road).

If anything students would like to have had more time in class and even suggested that they’d like to “take an engine apart and put it together”. That may be a whole curriculum unto itself!

One of the most practical items learned in class? “Don’t stand under the oil filter while you unscrew it!” Good advice for us all — literally and metaphorically.

Portland Motor Club was very pleased to be able to produce this pilot program for the Merriconeag High School.

Special thanks to Yearbook Photographer Margie Ciolfi, a 9th grader in the class of 2013, who took these (and more) great photos.

Portland Police Chief James Craig Poses with his Z06 Corvette

Portland Police Chief James Craig poses with “The Beast”, his new 2007 Z06 Corvette

When asked where Chief James Craig wanted to have his picture taken for a newspaper article reviewing his first year on the beat here in Portland, Maine, he knew exactly where. Within minutes he and the photographer were in place at Portland Motor Club.

Chief Craig knew that he wanted to show off his new-t0-him handsome 2007 silver Z06 Corvette at Portland Motor Club where “The Beast” lives when it’s not out on the road driving the speed limit under the control of its master.

You can click through below to the actual article which is much more about his great service in our community and challenges he has and is facing as well as his unwavering dedication to keeping young people involved with positive things and working with at-risk youth. But next to his work and family, his love of cars is way up on the list. We’re thrilled to have him and his passion for cars at Portland Motor Club.

Please click here to read the article in the Portland Press Herald… http://www.pressherald.com/news/big-city-experience-paying-off-_2010-05-04.html. And thanks to the Portland Press Herald for granting permission to share this very cool photo of the Chief by staff photographer John Patriquin.

We are so very lucky to have such a great Police Chief in James Craig as well as an active member at Portland Motor Club. We are hoping to work on a car-related project with his department to do something exciting with youth locally and statewide.

MAINE CAR SHOW & CRUISE-IN LISTINGS UPDATED for 2010!!!

What an amazing car season we can look forward to in 2010! Thanks to our friends at CruiseMaine magazine and cruisemaine.net sharing their listings and adding some of our own, we have (hopefully) the state’s most comprehensive listing of Maine Car Shows & Cruise-Ins throughout the state. Kind of like that joke about Maine weather — if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute… if you don’t see a car show or cruise-in you like, wait a minute or a day, anyway. There’s something going on every day of every week this summer for cars and their owners. So, get out there and show it off and have some fun. It’s almost too bad that there aren’t any this April because it’s been so beautiful — hopefully a good sign for the summer season.

Here’s the link to the Cruise-in schedule which is also on the website under CALENDAR & EVENTS on the sidebar: 2010 CRUISE-IN LIST

And here’s the link to the Car Show 2010 Season in Maine or go to the CALENDAR & EVENTS button on the sidebar on the Portland Motor Club website: 2010 CAR SHOW LIST

And, by the way, we will be hosting the Labor Day Toys-for-Tots Cruise-In at Portland Motor Club again this year on Monday, September 6 — hard to imagine topping last year’s event but we’re game! We expect we’ll see and hear from our friends at the Monday Night Posse again this year — there’s actually music footage from last year’s show online on their website www.MondayNightPosse.com.

If you have any additions or corrections, please be in touch right at at <info@portlandmotorclub.com> or call us at 207-775-1770. We want this list to be absolutely accurate and could really use your help if you know that something’s not right on it — and thanks!

Getting “Social” with Portland Motor Club… Facebook & Twitter & YouTube now up!

Portland Motor Club was designed to be a fairly social place with a members’ lounge, meeting room, computers w/ WI-FI and HD-TV, but now we’re virtually social, too.

You can become a fan of our FACEBOOK by clicking on the FaceBook link just to your left below “Contact Us” on the navigation strip — it’s right there — go ahead… just click it!!! Or you can find it by searching under groups for “Portland Motor Club” while you’re on FaceBook another time.

You can quip clever and useful things to us via TWITTER (www.Twitter.com/mainecarstorage). We are using @mainecarstorage because using our name was too long and who is going to search for “mtr” instead of “motor” and we’re more about cars and storage than motors and clubs, on some level. Our business name is great for our business but different thinking needed to go into our Twitter strategy. Who ever thought we’d be discussing things such as “Twitter strategy” — but then, who ever thought we’d be discussing it on something called a “blog”?

Below is the link to our first (of many?) YouTube video. Why it’s our own Jason Michel demonstrating how easy it is to install and use both an easy on/off battery switch and trickle charger! Great solutions for short-term and/or long-term battery care when the car is off the road.

You can bookmark our very own YouTube “channel” here: www.YouTube.com/PortlandMotorClub

Easy Battery Care Solutions for Car Storage from Portland Motor Club

We would certainly appreciate your comments and links and sharing this information with your virtual friends and fellow car enthusiasts. We have more video coming including a walk-around the Labor Day Car Show last fall. And please put Monday, September 6, 2010 on your calendar for this year’s Toys-for-Tots Labor Day Car Cruise-In & Show at Portland Motor Club. We’re very pleased to be able to host it again at our amazing facility and can only hope that we would be granted another beautiful day on which to hold it.

0 to 60 in Just a Few Months!

Cars, that is. And that’s a rough number but early interior shots of Portland Motor Club certainly showed lots of room to grow (well, fill, actually). It totally makes sense, of course — we had just opened and we needed customers. Well, customers we have now! We’ve filled up the “Ground Floor” and soon will need to start using the “Mezzanine Level” (via heavy-duty lifts).

Seems that those that stop by pretty much fall in love with the place — the handsome amenities (hi-tech lounge & conference room), polished radiant-heated concrete floors, classic car gallery, onsite expert car detailing shop, professional staff and of course, state-of-the-art security system.

From Ferraris to Things, Mopars to Minis, we have a great random assortment of Classic cars, Muscle Cars, Sports Cars and even some everyday drivers that don’t need to be driven right now.

Thought you’d like to see the place with some color and some metal and rubber in it — enjoy!

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HUGE TURN-OUT at Toys-for-Tots Car Show at Portland Motor Club

Toys, Cars and Music make for a great event at Portland Motor Club

TOYS, CARS & MUSIC make for a great Labor Day TOYS-FOR-TOTS BENEFIT CAR SHOW at PORTLAND MOTOR CLUB

(see TV station video links below)

By the time the car show officially started at 10 AM, the main lot was almost full. Eventually, show cars ended up in a side lot, in the back lot and in the neighbor’s lot!!! What a great day at Portland Motor Club with an estimated 175+ show cars stopping by and perhaps 500 or so people passing through during the day. The U.S. Marines were taken by surprise (which doesn’t happen often) by the great toy turn-in which filled up a Humvee as well as a trailer. And the audience was energetically entertained by music from the Monday Night Posse, an area garage band.

Organizers Stan and Cheryl Page, members of several local car clubs including Knucklebuster’s as well as members of Downeast Street Rodz and Portland Motor Club Membership Director Kal Rogers were all overwhelmed by the support and the turn-out. Rogers’ assessment: “It couldn’t have gone any better — a huge assortment of truly amazing cars, some literally filled with toys; tons of other toys that actually took the Marines by surprise; a nice array of vendors including Cruise Maine Magazine, Downeast Street Rodz’ food cart, a local t-shirt maker, the AMVETs and the great DJ JP all added a lot to the event.” Adding, “And, much to everyone’s pleasant surprise, the local live music turned out to be a great and lively addition. And the weather certainly didn’t hurt — this amazing weather streak we’ve been having helped everything to come together perfectly. We certainly hope to be able to do this again but we may have to put cars on the roof!”

Hundreds of visitors were able to get a glimpse into the Portland Motor Club facility to see (from a respectful distance) some of the fine cars in climate-controlled (heated / humidity) and secure storage there as well as to get an up-close-and-personal view of one of the state’s finest MOPAR (Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth) muscle car collections — if not the finest.

Portland Motor Club owner Bill Waldron noted, “It was really great to help out the kids with all the toys and and a great day for everyone who came. And it was a chance for us to show off our beautiful car storage facility with its club lounge for members and on-site professional detailing at our Motor Club Auto Care shop. I think people were excited to see what goes on in here. I love cars and know that they need a good home to stay in good shape. Basically we’ve created that — a good home for good cars where they’ll be safe from all the things that damage and ultimately destroy vehicles — critters, clutter, condensation and cold. The four “c’s”, I guess. Oh, and crooks, I suppose. That makes five.” He added, “Every year you hear about this barn collapsing on a bunch of nice cars or that garage catching on fire — it kind of breaks your heart if you love cars. We have a super-reinforced building that is wired top to bottom for anything that can go wrong.”

Special thanks to all the folks who contributed all the wonderful toys as well as cash from the nickels to hundred dollar bills to the raffle prizes including membership/race passes from Maine Indoor Karting (www.MaineIndoorKarting.com) and a complete auto detailing from Motor Club Auto Care (www.PortlandDetailing.com). And, of course, to Maine’s Marines who are the great folks behind Maine’s Toys-for-Tots program. At the end of the event, it was suggested by the Marines that they may need help sorting out all the toys as they get towards the holiday season. To find out how you can participate in this program, go to http://www.toysfortots.org/donate/toys-city-county.aspx?txtState=MAINE.

And now, take a look for yourself at these video links and you’ll see what a busy and amazing event it really was. We’d love your comments, especially if you were there. Also, please feel free to send photos and videos that you’ll allow us to use to <info@PortlandMotorClub.com>

CHANNEL 8’s coverage… http://www.wmtw.com/family/20780622/detail.html

CHANNEL 6’s coverage… http://www.wcsh6.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=108863

Also, click on our Photo Gallery to see some more great photos from the event.

Marines collect hundreds of toys from Maine's generous car club members and visitors to Portland Motor Club

Marines collect hundreds of toys from Maine’s generous car club members and visitors to Portland Motor Club

Portland Motor Club's parking lot was full to overflowing into the neighbor's lot!

Portland Motor Club’s parking lot was full to overflowing into the neighbor’s lot!

Thirty Seconds of Greatness

A shorter take on Rich Brooks‘ (of Flyte New Media) visit to Portland Motor Club.

Why Professional Car Storage?

Providing a marina-like approach, some dedicated vehicle storage facilities offer car owners the freedom to come and go as they like while enjoying peace of mind that their vehicles are protected from the elements, damage and worse  While it is certainly possible for a private owner to create the ideal environment for protecting the condition and value of a collectible car, it requires a serious investment into designing and building a sufficient facility that will take into account many factors such as temperature, humidity, security, access and cost. Usually some sort of compromise results that either consciously or inadvertently jeopardizes the condition, value or safety of the vehicle. Seasonal storage usually means that the vehicle is unavailable for up to six months at a time while often cold temperatures, humidity, critters and other factors can do their worst on your four-wheeled friend.

Professional collector car storage can be the affordable solution that addresses all of the storage concerns of a car collector. By garaging with a company that has designed a facility that specifically addresses all the specific security, environmental and safety concerns of car storage, car owners gain the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their prized possession is getting the care that it truly deserves.

For the auto enthusiast, it is heart breaking to hear about the seemingly annual garage collapse or burned-down chicken barn housing irreplaceable cars. Imagine the sense of security that comes from knowing that one’s vehicular pride and joy is locked away in a fortified facility featuring smoke and heat detection, a sprinkler system, and continuous visual monitoring and video recording. It’s a bit like car storage heaven!

For certain vehicles, these are not seasonal issues: proper year-round care and housing is vital to protecting the condition and value of cars that have significant worth. Even if the owner lives at a distance from the storage facility, proper care and storage trumps convenience. Oftentimes such a vehicle is only used or shown occasionally anyway. For those who do live relatively close to a year-round storage facility, they can consider such a place a marina-like service where their car receives secure storage, care and maintenance, and it is prepared and ready to go when they are, any time of year.

Car owners might also like to know that their batteries are tended to regularly, that someone is watching out for leaking fluids and other problems, and that while the car is in storage, its condition can be maintained via reconditioning and restoration services. Also, concerns about the safe and proper transportation of vehicles to and from such a facility can be handled by professional covered transportation services that certain facilities may offer. A professional car storage facility can also cater to custom care concerns and requests such as specialized mechanical work or upholstery replacement.

Some facilities even offer a members’ lounge where one can talk shop with fellow enthusiasts and can enjoy the camaraderie of gathering with other collectors, or they take a meeting with a business associate. In some cases, they might have access to the facility for special business or social occasions. In many cases, other collector car events such as car club meetings, educational events, rallies, shows and even auctions can take place on the premises. For a relatively reasonable annual fee, collectible and special vehicles can get the home they deserve and their owners can get the protection they really want and need for their valued investment. It’s nice to know that there are a few places out there that are providing car storage done right.

Kal Rogers
Marketing Director
Portland Motor Club
Portland, Maine