SOUTH PORTLAND — When it came to auto body work, Joseph Moustrouphis was your guy.

“Here, in southern Maine, he was one of the best (mechanics),” said his wife, Maria Moustrouphis.

David Flaherty, a friend, echoed her sentiments. Sitting in his garage are a number of muscle cars that were restored by Mr. Moustrouphis.

“People at car shows just could not believe how perfect these cars are,” Flaherty said. “We restored some of the rarest cars around. He did them basically from start to finish. He was one of the best body men that I ever met.”

Mr. Moustrouphis died Wednesday. He was 55.

He was born in Portland and traveled the world, living wherever his father was stationed in the military. The family returned to Maine so Mr. Moustrouphis could graduate from South Portland High School.

After high school, Mr. Moustrouphis had the opportunity to go to a trade school in Kentucky. His training there was all it took for him to build a career, and a good reputation, as an auto body mechanic.

Mr. Moustrouphis and his wife had three children and spent a lot of quality time together throughout the years.

“We did a lot of hanging (out),” she said, which typically meant camping trips, skiing, playing on dirt bikes or enjoying the backyard and pool. “Just a lot of being together.”

His daughter Elizabeth Moustrouphis remembers how he always wanted to do things with the family. A fan of heavy-metal music from the 1980s, Mr. Moustrouphis took her to her first concert when she was only 2 years old.

“I don’t remember it, but I hear it was fun,” she said.

She does remember the mini-concerts they had in their living room. She said he enjoyed playing music by Metallica, AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses.

Mr. Moustrouphis was diagnosed with cancer less than a year ago. Even though his battle was short, they enjoyed some great times, his wife said. She remembered making plans to go to the beach, where they sat and watched the surf.

He was still joking and laughing with his family, she said.

“When he got ill, he said, ‘What are my choices?’ You just go forward, you just do it. You deal with it and keep going. He always did that,” his wife said.

While Mr. Moustrouphis was well known for auto repairs throughout southern Maine, he reveled in restoring the muscle cars.

One car that Flaherty purchased was a 1971 Plymouth Roadrunner. Flaherty said it was one of Mr. Moustrouphis’ favorites, even though it took him seven years to complete.

“Of course, when we got the car, we thought it would be so easy to fix, but that thing was so bad,” Flaherty said.

Nothing stopped the duo when it came to finding the right parts to restore the vehicles. “We traveled down south together, down to South Carolina to find parts,” Flaherty said.

One of the biggest car shows Mr. Moustrouphis and Flaherty went to every year was the Bonny Eagle Car Show in Standish. This year was the 31st show, and the first that they were unable to attend since they started working together.

Typically, Mr. Moustrouphis’ son, Alex, would join them.

“I built so many cars that we all could drive one, and it was great,” Flaherty said. “He loved it.”

 

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

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