LOVELAND — In 1976, waves of automobile imports had started to wash ashore in the United States, and Lovelanders were driving cars with nameplates that didn’t say Ford, Chevrolet or Chrysler.

Three local businessmen who saw the need for a shop to repair imports opened Metric Motors in a red barn north of Loveland on April 1, 1976.

Dan Moyer, who bought the business 10 years ago from original owner Merritt Davis, has launched a yearlong celebration of Metric Motors’ 40th anniversary.

The business is celebrating with the theme “Recommended by your neighbors for 40 years.”

“It comes down to loyal customers,” Moyer said.

The shop’s first owners, Davis, Doug McGovern and Gary Maul, moved it to a location on North Garfield Avenue in 1979 before finally settling into a new building built for it in 1985 at 821 S. Lincoln Ave., where it remains.

VWs, Datsuns, BMWs

In those early years, most imports rolling into the shop were Volkswagens, according to a press release, along with some Datsuns, BMWs, MGs, Saabs, Jaguars and Toyotas. These days, Moyer and its six full-time employees handle American cars as well.

Longtime Loveland residents Gil and Susan Garcia said they’ve always driven imports — since replacing their ’57 Chevy with a VW Beetle in the early ’60s — and they’ve always taken them to Metric.

“These guys do a fantastic job, and they’re very honest,” Gil Garcia said. “We recommend them to our friends, and they say, ‘Hey, those guys know what they’re doing.’

“Merritt was a neat guy, and when he sold the company to Dan, the integrity of the company never missed a beat,” Garcia said.

“They’re one of the best-kept secrets in the greater Larimer County area,” he said.

Dan Moyer, owner of Metric Motors, stands Thursday inside his business at 821 S. Lincoln Ave. in Loveland. The business is celebrating its 40th anniversary

Dan Moyer, owner of Metric Motors, stands Thursday inside his business at 821 S. Lincoln Ave. in Loveland. The business is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. (Michael Bettis / Loveland Reporter-Herald)

Moyer trained as an auto mechanic in the 1970s and worked for a few years in Sterling before deciding that his heart wasn’t in it. He spent many years selling auto parts to Loveland repair shops but wanted to own his own business. So when Davis was getting ready to retire, Moyer stepped up, knowing “this was one of the best shops in town.”

Greening up

In recent years, Moyer has worked to make Metric Motors a greener business.

“People look at us as being a dirty business, but for years we’ve recycled the antifreeze and oil,” he said. “Even when you come in for a tuneup, we’re helping your car run better (and cleaner).”

The shop has been recognized as a certified green garage by the Green City, Clean City initiative.

Metric Motors has reduced its waste by 75 percent since 2013, lends bicycles to customers while their vehicles are in the shop and recycles more than 50 gallons of used antifreeze each month, 200 gallons of oil, 500 pounds of paper and cardboard, 550 pounds of glass and plastic and more than 1,000 pounds of scrap metal, according to the release.

At Metric, used oil filters are crushed to remove as much used oil as possible, and automotive electronics are recycled.

Metric Motors also has been honored by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Business Ethics last year and the Reporter-Herald’s Readers Choice Awards for the past four years.

The company has planned monthly events to celebrate its anniversary, with many tied to health themes — “the health of your car being as important as your own health,” according to the release.

For more information, call 970-292-6756.

Craig Young: 970-635-3634, cyoung@reporter-herald.com, www.twitter.com/CraigYoungRH.