Danny Amaral appeared resolute as he stood talking with The Newtown Bee in the mostly empty showroom of his family’s sold automotive facility on South Main Street in Newtown, CT.
“I’ve had to face the question of whether I want to do this for the rest of my life,” he said with the same warm smile that has greeted customers over more than half a century since he began working there under the watchful eye of his dad, Anthony, back in the mid-1950s.
“This is the only job I’ve ever had,” Amaral said of the former auto dealership and filling station that has sustained as a service garage, emissions testing location, and body shop in recent years after the gas pumps and Chrysler dealer affiliation disappeared.
While Amaral Motors closed at the end of September, the familiar landmark will remain, albeit under the new ownership of the Modzelewski family and James Modzelewski — a third-generation member of his family who is known throughout western Connecticut for operating vehicle repair, recovery, and towing services for more than 50 years.
Amaral said he was not too concerned about finding something else to do in his semi-retirement, but added that he never worked anywhere else — and never really wanted to.
“My earliest memories are sitting on my father’s lap steering some of the cars as he drove them around the lot,” the retiring local business owner said.
According to Dan Amaral, his dad, Anthony, built and opened the garage — which is relatively unchanged in its appearance from the street — after he purchased an acre of land from his future wife, Mary Helen Eghan, back in 1932.
Nine years later, Dan came along, and it was not long before the youngster became a fixture at the shop.
Aside from the addition of a body shop in the 1980s, Amaral said the physical layout of the garage has not changed.
‘A Prime Location’
James Modzelewski said he has plans to add a commercial building on the south end of the lot where his company will house specialty towing and recovery vehicles the company will be operating from the site.