Drive down Alvarado Street in Fallbrook, just east of Main, and you will see an old World War II Quonset hut surrounded by head-turning and awe-inspiring examples of the finest old cars ever made in the USA.
Jim and Mike Mroz have been restoring vintage cars since 2002. Want to walk back into automobile history? Stop by their garage to see what they are currently restoring.
Jim and Barbara Mroz moved to Fallbrook in 1993 so their son Mike could attend Fallbrook High School, which had nationally ranked SAT scores. They sought the nostalgic hometown atmosphere that Fallbrook offers and the low crime rate.
Jim said his most memorable project was restoring the jalopy used in the big race scene in the movie “Grease.”
Having sustained some damage during filming, the new owner brought the 1949 Mercury Hell’s Chariot to Jim for restoration. The car was a cut-down convertible, painted with flames, sporting Ford’s 1950s flathead top-of-the-line performance engine.
Mike has been restoring cars since he was 15. He worked for a while as a “cop” on an Indian reservation and his dad worked as a master stone mason. They decided they both really wanted to pursue their real dream: restoring vintage cars.
You’ll see 1950s Ford T-Birds roll out of their garage so meticulously restored they look better than when they first rolled off the assembly line. Every piece of chrome, every inch of upholstery, is so perfect that you are left to wonder if there is anything one could possibly improve.
In addition, 1930s rod conversions and ’70s muscle cars flow steadily into their hands, emerging later as car show award-winning restorations.
One of Jim’s and Mike’s favorite cars looks like a black and white cop car, except it’s a golf cart. It’s the 1952 Marketeer McGruff Mobile, driven yearly in the Fallbrook Christmas Parade.
It was originally made for use by the disabled with an electric motor built to operate at a zesty 8 mph. It is now capable of 55 mph. Kids, don’t try that at home!
The duo is very active in the Fallbrook Vintage Car Club (FVCC) and the community. Mike shares his restoration skills with the Boys & Girls Club.
Jim chaired last year’s FVCC car show. He also chaired the judging committee for more than a couple of years. When 400 cars show up to be judged, it is definitely not a trivial task.
Mike organized one of Fallbrook’s Hot Summer Nites events for Connections Networking and always volunteers to help with the Fallbrook Christmas Parade. They also provide cars for the Fallbrook Rotary Club’s annual Lobster on the Green.
The FVCC is always open to guests and new members. To receive more information, send an e-mail to [email protected].
Meetings are held at the Fallbrook Woman’s Club, 238 West Mission Road, on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.