Tuesday, 31 January 2017 17:32

Griffith Auto Body in CO: Traditional Values As Driving Force

Written by Jon A. Yamamoto, Fort Morgan Times

Shop Front

Griffith Auto Body now is housed at 301 W. Platte Ave. in Fort Morgan. The shop moved to the new location at the beginning of the year. (Photo credit: Jon A. Yamamoto / Fort Morgan Times)


Driving west on Platte Avenue in Fort Morgan can take one on a ride down memory lane, as old American-made cars from the '50s through the '70s can often be seen in front of Griffith Auto Body, located in the 300 block on the north side of the street.

Many of the vehicles are ones that Troy Griffith owns, or they are some his customers' cars waiting to be restored.

 

The new home of Griffith Auto Body is in a building that is deceptively larger than it looks. The shop is open for business, though some of the areas are still being renovated. Two painting booths remain to be completed.

 

Not only did Troy Griffith grow up here in Morgan County, but he also has spent 36 years working in the auto body business. Eleven years ago, he started Griffith Auto Body.

 

His grandfather had a hog farm outside of Wiggins. It was a business that his father continued, so Griffith grew up on a farm. "I really did not like farming," said Troy.

 

Griffith remembers purchasing his first vehicle when he was 14 years old.

 

"The first one I bought from a junk yard was a 1961 Ford pick-up truck, and by the time I was 16, I had a car to drive," said Griffith.

 

He attended Fort Morgan High School, but did not graduate. Griffith had already discovered his career.

 

"I actually started painting cars when I was 16," said Griffith.

 

Troy and his wife, Lori, are the primary owners of Griffith Auto Body, and Angel Vargas also has a percentage stake in the business. It is just one of the family-owned businesses that the Griffiths have here in Fort Morgan.

 

This business is unique, though, and it does more than just auto body work.

 

"We are set up to do things that other shops cannot do," said Troy.

 

A quick visit to their website shows that Troy and his shop will restore just about anything made of metal, including refrigerators, pedal cars, pop machines and old gas pumps.

 

Both Griffiths have a love of old cars and are avid motorcyclists. The shop also works on restoring motorcycles.

 

"We are the only place in town that restores motorcycles," said Troy.

 

While restoration work is a passion for Troy, he points out that many customers don't realize the cost of doing it. Finding some of the old parts and the time it takes to do the job right are some of things that people don't really consider when starting a project.

 

"On restorations work you are lucky if you can break even on it," said Troy. Even though it is not the money-making part of the business, he said if he could just do restoration work, he would.

 

Insurance and collision work provides the solid financial base for operating an auto body shop, according to Troy. Griffith Auto Body offers free estimates on repairs.

 

The shop can fix anything from minor dents to major collisions, including ones that require frame straightening.

 

Troy takes pride in the quality and service that his business provides its customers. One of the advantages dealing with a family-owned business is that Troy stands behind his shop's work.

 

"We guarantee our work for as long as you own the car," said Troy.

 

The shop also offers detailing, window tinting and complete exhaust system work.

 

"Though we are not advertising the detailing service, we are doing about one car per day," said Troy.

 

Having a chrome machine is an additional benefit for Griffith Auto Body, as they are currently the only place within 50 miles to offer the chroming service.

 

As Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations have changed, so has the process of chroming. Fewer body shops offer this service, as many car manufacturers have gone away from using chrome on their vehicles, said Troy.

 

He noted that having a chrome machine is a real plus. With the machine, not only can bumpers and trim be restored, but he can also chrome just about anything, including a tennis shoe.

 

Walking into the business, one will see two of Lori's cars. The first being a white 2012 Chevrolet convertible, and behind it in the back room is a blue 1972 Pontiac Le Mans. Both have been fully restored. This room also is decorated with a collection of Hot Wheels cars still in their original packaging, old motorcycle and car signs, license plates, various posters and photographs.

 

Troy admits to having a couple of thousand Hot Wheel cars, which is more than enough to cover all of the walls in his shop.

 

The showroom/lobby area is a tribute to Americana, a shared passion for both Troy and Lori. Old Harley Davidson, automotive signs, pictures and posters cover the back showroom wall.

 

Griffith Auto Body is open seven days a week at its new location, 301 W. Platte Ave., in Fort Morgan. Weekday hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call for weekend hours. The phone number is (970) 867-9071, and they have two websites: griffithautobody.com and griffithautobody.net. Their e-mail address is restorationsbytroy@hotmail.com.

 

We would like to thank Fort Morgan Times for reprint permission.

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