Murray Motors celebrates 75 years of success

With cars lined up across two separate blocks, twinkling in the sun on nice days, Murray Motors makes quite an impression on First Street passersby.

Ask anybody who works there and they will agree: Murray Motors is more than just a new and previously owned car dealership.

In fact, the business is a family legacy celebrating 75 years of hard work, dedication and prosperity this month.

In March 1934, Bart Murray Sr. was awarded a Chrysler franchise in Clallam Bay. More than seven decades later, his grandson Mark Murray is continuing the family tradition and providing "great products, competitive pricing and awesome service" from generation to generation in Port Angeles.

"Many families have been customers of ours for generations," Murray said. "Repeat business from them is part of the tradition."

Customer Jack Chaisson has been coming to Murray Motors since before Mark Murray was born.

"He's essentially been a customer of my family for the entire 75 years ... and he's still a good customer," Murray said.

Murray has a soft spot in his heart for his staff of 13. General manager Dale Rose has been onboard for 15 years.

Murray's son Matt Murray is on the sales team.

"There's not a lot of turnover here. Several people have been here their whole working careers," he said.

"My employees are like family to me and so are my customers."

The staff includes the only union service department in the area and all the mechanics are ASE-certified and Chrysler-trained.

Having seen a lot of changes in the automotive industry over the years, Murray said he wishes he'd kept a journal.

For example, one customer was so anxious to see the new Chrysler Cordoba that he had Murray bring it to the hospital where he was a patient.

"The next thing I know, he's putting on his robe and slippers," Murray said.

"We snuck out of the hospital, went on a test drive and when he got out of the hospital he bought the car."

Another customer was skeptical about the value of the new airbag in the early-1980s Dodge Aries. She bought the car but still had reservations. A few months down the road, she was glad she paid extra for the car after being involved in a bad collision.

The woman thanked him with a big hug and said, "I wouldn't be here if I didn't have that airbag," Murray said.

Prices are one of the biggest changes he has witnessed over the years.

Paperwork for a new Plymouth sedan in 1946 shows the vehicle selling for $1,260.13 with $394 down and a $36.31 monthly payment.

Ten years later, a Plymouth Savoy four-door sedan went for $2,500 with all the options, including seat belts, a heater and defroster.

Murray is optimistic about the future, having weathered tough economic times in the past. He remembers the 1970s gas shortages when "gas wasn't just expensive; you just couldn't get it."

"Cars were lined up around the block trying to get gas," he said.

Nonetheless, he believes that opportunities abound in the car industry.

"The quality and safety features of the product have never been better," he said.

"And factory support and incentives mean there's never been a better time to buy."

Port Angeles born and raised, Murray said there's no place he'd rather live.

"I feel it's a privilege to have been raised here and stay here making a living doing something I enjoy doing," he said.

"It's been a great ride."

Seven decades

and counting

Murray Motors, Inc. is celebrating its

75th anniversary this month.

The dealership, which sells new Chrysler and Dodge vehicles as well as an array of used cars, trucks, SUVs and mini-vans, has two locations.

Previously owned cars are sold

at 402 E. First St., in Port Angeles,

and new cars are sold at 302 E. First St.

Business hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Monday-Friday in the parts

and service department and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday

in the sales department.

The company's Web site is

For more information,

call 457-0454 or 457-6314.

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