MotorCities National Heritage Area
Frank_Wulfers_Elizabeth_Cropped.jpg

2022

By Jeffrey D. Brasie
Images Courtesy of Restoration Unlimited 2, Inc.
Published 9.28.2022

The restored Alpena Flyer Restorations Unlimited 2 5

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is part two of the story we brought you two weeks ago about the lone surviving 1911 Alpena Flyer. 

In a town called Cary, Illinois 45 minutes northwest of Chicago, you’ll find a company known as Restoration Unlimited 2, Inc. (RU2inc). The 3,500 square foot facility is owned by Ralph Morey, whose business for the past 51 years has refurbished hundreds of vehicles. 

Through an article in Hemmings auto magazine, Alpena, Michigan resident Ron Winter became aware of Morey’s company. Winter RU2inc began bringing back to life a 1911 Alpena Flyer which Winter had located in Washington state and purchased. 

Morey transported the vehicle from Alpena to Cary where he began a 42-month process to reassemble what Winter believed was the lone surviving Alpena Flyer. 

alpena flyer five

According to Morey a rolling body frame was delivered to RU2inc with the engine, radiator, differential, hood, and air cowl intact. Accompanying the frame were containers of various parts, many of which offered no relevance to the vehicle. To Morey’s amazement the tires, wrapped in canvas, still held a level of air.

Winter provided RU2inc with a variety of photos, advertisements, sales brochures, and related materials offering how an assembled Alpena Flyer would appear. 

alpena flyer four

Morey indicated the majority of the restoration was able to be conducted and fabricated by his firm. This included fenders, aprons, seating, and numerous other aspects. He commented, “Certain mechanical and trim items were farmed out to other companies who had specific expertise.”

Morey added, “This was possibly the most complex restoration his firm has ever undertaken.” 

alpena flyer one

An interesting aspect was the Alpena Flyer’s steering was on the right-hand side. According to the Antique Automobile Club of America Library and Research Center’s Chris Ritter, “It is my understanding that cars were originally right-hand drive so that the driver could exit the vehicle on the curb instead of the road where there could be oncoming traffic.” 

During the restoration process, Morey commented Winter had a well-defined vision of how the Alpena Flyer should finally appear. He started, “A prime example was mixing the right colors to bring out the factory original gleaming dark royal blue.” 

In reflecting on the cost to undertake this restoration, which occurred over a dozen years ago, Morey estimated the price tag at nearly $275,000. 

Once the project was completed, Morey and his staff fired up the 35-horsepower engine and took it for a brief drive. 

The operational Alpena Flyer was transported by motor carrier to Plymouth, Michigan for a brief showing. Then, it was on to Alpena where the vehicle is proudly displayed with an accompanying visual history at the Besser Museum of Northeast Michigan.

 

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of GM Heritage Archives
Published 9.21.2022

 

By Jeffrey D. Brasie
Images Courtesy of Ralph Morey of Restorations Unlimited 2, Inc.
Published 9.14.2022

by Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Motor Trend Magazine
Published 9.7.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Ford Motor Company Archives and Car and Driver
Published 8.31.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Ken Dallison
Published 8.17.2022   

by Bob Sadler, MotorCities Communications Manager
Image Courtesy of Adam Bernard
Published 8.17.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images courtesy of Ford Archives, GM Archives, Studebaker Museum and Chrysler Archives
Published 8.10.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Ford Motor Company Archives and Tom Maruska
Published 8.3.2022

by Bob Sadler, MotorCities Communications Manager
Published 7.27.2002

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images by the Stahls Automotive Foundation
Published 7.20.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Ford Motor Company Archives
Published 7.13.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of GM Design Archives
Published 7.6.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Chrysler Archives, Viper Quarterly magazine, ACR
Published 6.22.2022

By Bob Sadler, MotorCities Communications Manager
Images are Public Domain
Published 6.17.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Buck Mook/Dean’s Garage, Ford Motor Company Archives
Published 6.15.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images from Various Sources
Published 6.8.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of GM Media Archives
Published 6.1.2022

by A. Wayne Ferens
Images Courtesy of the New York World’s Fair, Bill Cotter, GM Media Archives
Published 5.25.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the Ford Motor Company Archives
Published 5.18.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images courtesy of SpicerCollectorCars, Dean Jeffries Kustomrama
Published 5.10.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian & Researcher
Images Courtesy of the Chrysler Archives
Publsihed 5.4.2022

by A. Wayne Ferens
Images from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Wayne Ferens Collection
Published 4.27.2022

EDITOR'S NOTE: April is Arab-American Heritage Month, so we're sharing a recent interview done by our Director of Programs Brian Yopp with Ismael Ahmed.

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the Ford Motor Company Archives
Published 4.13.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Chrysler Archives, Hemmings, Ray Barton/Cars Online
Published 4.6.2022

Published 3.30.2022 

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images courtesy of General Motors Media Archives, Richard Quinn Collection, Mechanix Illustrated
Published 3.23.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Nellie Goins, Ebony magazine, NHRA
Published 3.16.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images courtesy of Ford Motor Company and Superformance
Published 3.9.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Multiple Sources
Published 2.23.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Lewis Hamilton
Published 2.16.2022

by Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Camilo Pardo, Yoshiharu Miyakawa, Elaine Pesser and Joe Williams
Published 2.9.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy Mary Ellen Green Dohrs, GM Media Archives
Published 2.2.2022

by Bob Sadler, MotorCities Communications Manager
Images Courtesy of Detroit Electric, Car and Driver, and Coachbuilt.com
Published 1.26.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian/Researcher
Images Courtesy of the GM Media Archives/Chevrolet SS Concept 2003 Brochure
Published 1.19.2022

A STORY OF THE WEEK EXTRA

by Bob Sadler, MotorCities Communications Manager
Images from Walter Reuther Library, Motown Records
Published 1.14.2022

EDITOR”S NOTE: In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, MotorCities is sharing this story of the 1963 March to Freedom event in Detroit and the role played by UAW President Walter Reuther and area auto workers.

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Chrysler Archives and Mecum Auctions
Published 1.12.2022

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images courtesy of the Ford Motor Company Archives
Published 1.5.2022