Before Motion Products, Inc. came to be, Wayne Obry and John Kies were working in aviation. Wayne was painting airplanes while John was the upholsterer at the company. Wayne’s dream was to work on rare cars, and in 1979 he was asked to paint a Shelby Cobra and a Ferrari. He couldn’t pass up the opportunity and painted the cars in his own garage.
“Those were the days. Not only did I have a wife, new baby and a mortgage, but I didn’t have a plan or a clue on how to run a business. I was in my mid 20’s and knew I was infallible,” said Wayne in an interview in 2016. “Thanks to my wife, her level head and support I was able to turn a few side jobs into a real business.”
After painting his dream cars, Wayne knew exactly what he was meant to do. One night at a tavern in rural Wisconsin, Wayne and a friend, sketched out a plan and a name on a napkin; Motion Products, Inc.
As Wayne and John started their journey of managing their business, they quickly discovered they needed someone to help manage the business side of Motion Products. A few years in, they met their business partner, Bill Murphy. The three of them decided to invest more into the company with hopes to reach new milestones. What they didn’t know was what would become. Wayne, John and Bill worked to make what MPI is today; one of the most capable automotive restoration businesses in the world.
Going the Extra Mile
Many say Wayne was an overachiever and full of passion. Staying up all night studying the inner workings of a vehicle, analyzing new techniques he could try in the shop, and keeping up with the industry news was his way of aligning where MPI started, our milestones, and future visions for the company. After Wayne set the foundation of MPI, he took a step back from the daily hands-on work to mentor his staff and pass on his knowledge.
Wayne not only taught his skill to his employees, but he emphasized the importance of quality craftsmanship and to respect the clients and the history of their cars. The commitment to the industry Wayne gave still shows through the work MPI employees give today. Wayne loved everything about MPI and his career as a classic automotive restorer.
John was known for his award winning upholstery. He certainly left an impact on the automotive industry and Motion Products with his passion to complete upholstery projects at a high level of authenticity. John restored some of the toughest interior projects. He had to research and learn the techniques and follow the exact design used by the original manufacturers throughout his process to complete high quality projects.
Making Our Mark
Wayne has been called a leading expert on Ferraris and with good reason. He was not only a lifetime International Advisory Council for the Preservation of the Ferrari Automobiles judge or IAC/PFA, but also became a Vintage Ferrari consultant.
Motion products met major milestones along the way. Wayne, John, Bill and the staff at MPI have had the privilege of helping their clients cross the ramp at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance over 60 times. MPI also had the honor of receiving the first ever 100-point Ferrari at Pebble Beach with a 1953 Ferrari 212 Inter PininFarina Coupe #0263 EU in 1993.
“When Wayne was around, he was the brand,” said Jim Seelow, MPI assembly technician. “If there was an article with his name or Motion Products mentioned, people from the area and in the industry would read it. Even though Wayne’s passing was a difficult challenge, we continued to grow and perform quality work to provide some of the best restorations for our clients.”
Continuing the Legend
As Motion Products grew, the company took on more projects. To keep the progress at a climb, MPI hired an assembly technician, Dustin Wetmore. Early on, Dustin showed interest in the history and documentation of the cars. Gradually, Wayne started passing on his knowledge about the history of the vehicles to Dustin. Dustin was researching and managing a restoration project, while continuing to work as an assembly technician.
At first he was given smaller projects, and after he started attending shows to help with clients he never stopped. Early on, Dustin even went on a solo trip to a car show. He trailered the vehicle to what was then, Meadow Brooke Concours, a show in Michigan. He assisted our clients at the show and took care of the car at the highest of standards.
Wayne not only passed on his knowledge to Dustin, but also taught him how to work with each individual client to best fit their needs. Whether Wayne knew it or not, Dustin observed the way Wayne worked with people, the way he carried himself and presented information about clients’ vehicles. Even today, Dustin catches himself showing similar characteristics to Wayne, like using certain words Wayne used while giving new clients tours of the shop.
Dustin’s passion to learn as much as possible about a car for a restoration is stronger than ever. He grew MPI’s extensive archive to assist them in their restorations to make each car as authentic as possible. Today, Dustin and Steve Ast, our historian, continue to grow our classic automotive library one make and model at a time.
The Future of MPI
Since the beginning, MPI has helped clients from around the world with over 500 restorations. With cars competing at events such as the Cavallino Classic, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, MPI has become a major influence in vintage restorations.
MPI has grown in many ways to adapt to the everyday changes and expectations of the industry. We’ve expanded our shop space to 75,000 sq. ft divided amongst the three facilities, partnered with some of the most well-known companies in the industry and increased our capabilities that allow us to complete some of the most elite restorations known to date. Today, on average, MPI will complete six or more full restorations a year. We also preserve 50 plus vehicles of different marques that are stored in our facilities.
As the industry grows, Motion Products will continue to expand our knowledge, skill, capabilities, and craftsmanship while supplying even higher quality experiences and restorations for our clients.