Scarborough 350: Norman Morin

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I met Norman Morin when I went to check out “Cruise Night” at the Rock & Roll Diner on Route 1 in Scarborough. The diner opened a year ago, and it began sponsoring classic car nights this spring. About 50 vintage vehicles typically show up there on Tuesdays from 5 – 8 p.m. When my eye was caught by a hood ornament that looked as though it belonged on an ancient sailing ship, Norman stepped forward to tell me it was not merely decorative — it serves as the hood release, and he was happy to give me a demonstration.

Norman is the proud owner of a 1941 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 special. He bought the car 44 years ago and is its fourth owner. He waxed rhapsodic as he told me about the car’s distinctive features. It was the only Cadillac model of that year whose front fenders extend back into the front door, and is the only one that has real mahogany trim on the inside of the doors. The car’s original owner, George Tidd, was the president of American Gas & Electric in New York City. Tidd had a summer place in Biddeford Pool and only drove the car three months a year. Norman grew up in Biddeford and used to draw pictures and talk to his mother about the cars he had seen and wished he could own someday. He acquired his first classic car, a 1941 Cadillac convertible, in 1963.

Norman and his wife, Jane, bought a home in Scarborough in 1975, where they raised two children and three grandchildren. It turns out that they are virtually neighbors of mine, living on the street just opposite mine along Pine Point Rd. Now retired, Norman spent 34 years working at the Portsmouth Shipyard in the metrology lab, in optical tooling, and as a shop planner. He was in the US Navy from 1966-68, aboard “Triton,” a twin nuclear submarine patrolling off the Russian coast. Norman has passed on his fascination with classic cars to his grandson, Hunter Jones, 8.

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