Great Car Story: Alfred Morris’ 1991 Mazda 626

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This story is not our typical barn find or even survivor car story. But it is about a car, and how one person’s love for it has inspired others. And at least for me, it’s always amazing – and even rewarding – to realize just how emotionally important cars can be to us.

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This particular Mazda 626 is a relatively plain Jane four door sedan. I am pretty sure it is the entry level DX trim line, as it has manual roll up windows (but a more knowledgeable reader may be able to correct me on this). In 1991 Mazda 626’s came equipped with a 2.2 liter 110 bhp four cylinder engine, and mated to the five speed transmission that this car features. These cars were able to get 26 mpg on the highway and could seat five people, but those three in the back would need to be children or tiny adults to fit, much less be comfortable.

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The Mazda 626 was a pretty typical Japanese front wheel drive mainstream sedan in 1991. So aside from the fact that this car is now 25 years old, what makes it special? Well, this particular example is owned by Dallas Cowboys running back Alfred Morris. He originally purchased this Mazda from his pastor for $2 when he was a junior at Florida Atlantic University, and gave it the nickname “Bentley.”

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Despite becoming a successful, well-paid NFL player, Morris continued to drive his old car as a reminder to stay humble. In 2013, while he was playing with the Washington Redskins, local Mazda dealers learned about Morris’ love for his car, and decided to restore it for him.

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They went all out to bring it back to as-new condition, and also to add a few safety and convenience features to enhance Morris’ enjoyment of his trusty old car. They even went to Mazda in Japan to have some impossible to find pieces made from original molds. And in addition to the restoration work, the DC Mazda dealers went all out making a new interior for the car, including a touch screen stereo and navigation system with high end speakers and a back-up camera, remote power door locks, alarm system, and a complete sound insulation layer.

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To match the car’s nickname, the Mazda dealers installed new seat upholstery and door panels with Bentley-style diamond quilting stitched into the fabric, a new headliner and plush carpet, all created to match the original gray interior color.

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Alfred Morris still drives his Mazda 626 every day, parking it in the Cowboys stadium players’ lot amid a sea of spectacular and expensive vehicles, and says he plans to drive the car forever. And I hope he does!

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Comments

  1. MH

    Reminds me of a pimp my ride episode. But probably nicer then they ever did on that show.

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  2. Terry J

    What a great story! I may start watching NFL Football again, at least the Cowboys. 🙂 Terry J

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    • AMX Brian

      Dak Prescott is worth watching

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      • Jesse James

        Nice guy from Haughton La, very humble young man as well.

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  3. Scotty Scotty Gilbertson

    That’s a great story, David!

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    • David Wilk

      Being from the NYC area I have always been a NY Giants fan and therefore to neither like nor follow the Cowboys, but I am now an Alfred Morris fan. Kind of like Mazdas too, it seems, having owned a few.

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  4. Bobsmyuncle

    Seems like a down-to-earth guy which is refreshing.

    Odd target for Mazda to direct their “charity” though isn’t it?

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    • David Wilk

      Bob — seems not really charity considering the PR Mazda got out of this 🙂 – but I take your point.
      -D

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  5. Len

    I had one of these as well as a few MX-6 Mazdas (Ford Probe clone). Those cars were bulletproof! As long as he does the maint it will run for a long time.

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    • biggles

      It was the other way around actually. The Ford Probe was built on the Mazda chassis after Ford acquired their stake in Mazda.

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  6. craZee

    Right on Bobsmyuncle. They could have helped 10 needy families driving clunkers for what they spent on this. I for one would think that would be better PR as well.

    Hope someone from Mazda figures this out.

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    • MeToo

      By the same token someone, …….oh let’s say someone willing to sink about 30k into a barn find restoration could redo a couple of clunkers for s few needy families.

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  7. pperros

    I remember when Alfred played for the ‘Skins and drove his old 626 before its restoration. He was indeed a genuine nice guy. He had an affectionate following among vendors and others who worked at FEDEX field, and he always spent time with them. Alas, his production fell off and he was released to sign with the devil Jerry Jones and the ‘Pokes, where his career has revived. Sigh — typical Washington sports story, but good on Alfred.

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  8. AutoArcheologist

    That’s just plain cool. Thanx David!

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  9. Douglas Plumer

    I am sure he is a great guy, but… Don’t you think Mazda could have donated all that work and money to someone who really needed it? Perhaps we are missing part of the story (like the car was then donated to a family in need), but this looks really bad to me. Wonder why a Mazda radiator cap costs $ 49.50?
    Glad my car was not at the dealer awaiting attention while the staff slaved on this project. Wasted opportunity in my eyes.

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  10. Rspcharger

    I’m guessing that engine picture is the before?

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  11. Pete

    I like Morris’s humility, I like that they restored the car. I just think they should have put it back together bone stock to maintain his down to earth perspective on life. Pimping it out like they did is just contrary to what he was doing with the car. The good idea fairy needs to be smacked in the head at that Mazda dealer.

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  12. Douglas Plumer

    No argument that he is a great guy.
    Do Highly paid NFL Players need Mazda’s charity?
    Not too sure.
    If I were him I would donate to a family in need and buy a proper Prius (just kidding!).

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  13. Mark-A

    He could always donate it back to the Church & Pastor that sold it to him for the $2 or do a raffle for $2 a ticket? Just my penny’s worth

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  14. Bo Wagner

    I had a navy blue 1991 626 5-door with factory wing and added gold BBS wheels. Probably my favorite car I’ve owned (though my old Omni GLH was fun, despite all its faults!

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