Moloney Coachbuilders - Innovation, Exploration and Expansion

LCT Staff
Posted on January 1, 1985

Imbued at an early age with an eye for automobile styling, Earle F. Moloney, chairman and founder of Moloney Coachbuilders, Schaumburg, IL, is an innovator willing to explore areas where others fear to tread. He is willing to experiment, willing to invest in ideas that may be his own, or those of the experienced craftsmen he attracts. At 37, he has already produced more than 11,000 limousines, armored security vehicles, and custom units. Every single year has shown growth and expansion despite the limousine industry’s cyclical ups and downs. Now, with an ’85 production forecast of 2,200 units, Moloney Coachbuilders is the country’s largest converter of Cadillac, Lincoln, and Mercedes-Benz limousines.

As 1985 begins, business at Moloney Coachbuilders is booming. The 100,000 square foot facility in Schaumburg and the 245,000 square foot plant in Chicago are operating at capacity, on a heavy overtime basis. These production plants are the hub from which 11 over-the-road Moloney-owned carriers transport Flagships, Grand Flagships, 6-door limousines, and the company’s yield of armored and specialty vehicles.

Dramatic changes occurred at Moloney Coachbuilders in ’84. “It was time to either jump ahead with some giant steps, or slide back,” said Moloney. “In order to take advantage of what we perceived to be real opportunities for growth, we have added several new divisions, added key, experienced executives, and looked beyond our shores for new international business opportunities. We have increased the investment in the future of this company, and see only good things ahead.”

A new vehicle has been introduced for ’85. Although not named at press time, it is referred to as the 8´8, “E/M Series,” and is a front wheel drive Cadillac that has been stretched eight inches in the passenger compartment, with the trunk also stretched eight inches. “It makes the Cadillac Brougham a Brougham again,” said Moloney. “It has great appeal to the individual who likes a larger car which he can drive, or be driven in, without the assumed ostentation of a large limousine. The car has the get-up-and-go of the new transverse-mounted engine, with its fuel economy. With an overall length of 211 inches, it is still 10 inches shorter than a standard rear wheel drive Brougham. We predict strong sales through Cadillac dealers nationwide.”

Moloney Armor Corporation has been formed to develop the world market for security vehicles of the highest quality and ballistic performance. Matthew Baines, executive vice president of Moloney Coachbuilders, has been named president of Moloney Armor. “It is a great time for us to expand this area of our business,” according to Baines. “We have been in this field for many years and have served heads of state, ministers, and VIPs throughout the world. Now, market conditions and the disappearance of some competitors in this narrow field indicate we should expand our efforts, particularly in the Middle East, Africa, and the Far East.”

Another area of expansion pointed out by Baines is reflected by the recent decision to increase the production of Cadillac 6-door limousines. Primarily used in the funeral service industry, this unit has also found appeal in the overseas markets. A few months ago, Gordon R. Johnson, well known in the funeral service industry, joined the Moloney team as vice president, commercial sales. He brings to Moloney over thirty years of direct experience, having served as the key sales executive with three major funeral car or limousine manufacturers, after being with the Lincoln zone organization.

Not content to be limited by national boundaries, Moloney is also looking at foreign expansion. James L. Centner has been named president, Moloney International. A proven executive with thirty-eight years of domestic and international business experience, his responsibilities will include a wide range of foreign-shore activities servicing the limousine and armored vehicle markets. From his Schaumburg office, Centner works with Moloney distributors in Canada, Europe, West Africa, South Africa, South America, and Tokyo.

On the technical side, another key addition has been Douglas Opsahl, a body engineer with over thirty years of Fisher Body experience. Opsahl is director of manufacturing and is already credited with a number of quality-improving production innovations such as redesigned looms and wiring harnesses with snap-on connections. Integral stiffening ribs, also designed by Opsahl, add to the strength of the stretched chassis.

For the ’85 line, Moloney continues to offer both Cadillac and Lincoln rear wheel drive limousines. The 46² Flagship and 50² Grand Flagship have been improved, with a new all-around sound system, new proprietary climate controlled rear air conditioning, and new Sharp color television. The Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL 40² stretched limousine has also received new appointments which will enhance one of the most luxurious vehicles on the market.

Matthew Baines, who is responsible for sales, marketing, and Moloney’s network of sixty-four dealers, is optimistic about the future. “Our dealers are loyal, productive, and vital to our national distribution system,” he remarked. “Several, like Sansone Cadillac and Hanley Dawson Cadillac have done superior jobs for us this year. We have also added several new dealers and predict great sales performance for ’85. An important part of our marketing program will be our exhibits at regional automobile shows throughout the country including the National Funeral Directors Association ’85 Show.”

From a modest beginning with two limousines in his first year of operation, Earle Moloney, to use a cliche, has come a long way. He has done it out of a love for fine cars, a critical styling eye, and a willingness to invest in the future. He is the only stretch-limousine builder with a safety-conscious attitude that compels him to barrier crash-test his limousines. Where safety is concerned, he is conservative. Where quality is concerned, he is a martinet. Where price is concerned, he is relentless. The company motto, “Quality is Our Future,” is read and understood by all who associate with him.

A few years ago, Limousine & Chauffeur pointed out that if you stand on Central Park South in Manhattan and watch the limousines roll by, you will see, one after another, the name “Moloney... Moloney... Moloney.” But now it is not just in Manhattan. Beverly Hills, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and even Tokyo will produce the same result.


Related Topics: coach-builder profiles, Earle Moloney, Moloney Coachbuilders

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