Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A Life: James Noorigian, 1919-2016

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A Life: James Noorigian, 1919-2016

Article excerpt

With his good looks and winning smile, Jim Noorigian was made for the movies.

Alas, his 1933 Dodge got more screen time than he did.

But that was OK with the Fair Lawn businessman, whose vintage car collection provided him a taste of Hollywood in semiretirement.

Mr. Noorigian, who died Oct. 2 at 96, was the longtime owner of State Tire Co. He was a product of Paterson, a World War II Navy veteran who founded the automotive service in the early 1950s. He originally toiled out of his Fair Lawn basement and garage while holding down a second-shift assembly line job, before moving the business to busy River Road in 1956.

In the 1960s, Mr. Noorigian bought the '33 Dodge, a black coupe with a rumble seat, from a customer. He liked it so much that he began acquiring more old cars.

A 1936 LaSalle. A 1950 Pontiac. A 1953 Buick. A 1961 Corvette. A 1965 Dodge Dart ...

Mr. Noorigian went on to own a veritable fleet of classics -- all original, all cream puffs. He drove them in parades, and the hobby even launched him into real estate. Needing places to store the cars, he bought properties around Fair Lawn. The cars went into the garage, and Mr. Noorigian rented out the home.

Before long, Jerry McSpirit of Alpine learned about "some guy in Fair Lawn with a lot of old cars."

McSpirit's business, Cars of Yesterday, supplies vintage vehicles for use in movie and television productions.

Through McSpirit, Mr. Noorigian started taking his cars to movie and television shoots in the metropolitan area.

"Quiz Show." "Pollock." "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles." "The Talented Mr. Ripley." "Summer of Sam."

Fine movies all, and all featured wheels owned by Mr. Noorigian.

"It wasn't just about having the car in the movie," said Mr. Noorigian's son, Rich. "Dad loved being on the set with the fellow car enthusiasts who became his friends. They'd pass the time and eat the food set up on the table, and when called, they would put their car into position. …

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