Timmy Wojtowick’s Flying Horse - Pegasus - used to sit out on the north side of 12 (close to Tierneys) directing travelers to Highway Mobil. Wojtowick’s father, Ed, closed that business many years ago and gave the sign to Tim’s brother-in-law in Sacramento, CA.
When Tim purchased the property from his father in 1980, he decided the Flying Horse should return home. He drove out to California and brought Pegasus back. The Horse now stands out boldly in Wojtowick’s front window.
Ed Wojtowick had come to Harlowton in 1940 to run a repair shop and took over the Buick and Pontiac dealership in 1941 at Wojtowick Auto’s present location. In 1950, Ed bought out Olaf Lain and moved his Wojtowick Motors dealership there (presently Huck Mini Storage), keeping Highway Mobil with hired help. “Dad had a full line of GM autos. He sold a lot of cars.”
In the 70s, Highway Mobil closed and the building became a body shop for a time run by Brian Rogers and Tom Curley. Ed Wojtowick eventually sold his dealership to Bob Willems, Sr.
Buying the old gas station was not without some pains. Tim had to sell the second of the TWO Corvettes he once owned. The first had been sold previously. “Well, I got married and bought the station and started my business in 1980. I had driven that Corvette everywhere.”
Tim grew up mechanicking. He started working at Leary’s Exxon when he was in the 8th grade. Old Duane Kolman was employed there for many years. Later, Tim went to Northern Montana College (‘72 and ‘79) for training in auto mechanics. Tim’s brother, Mike, was an instructor at NMC for 30 years. Tim is the youngest of seven in the Wojtowick family with two brothers and four sisters.
Wojtowick worked for the Milwaukee Railroad for a time in 1973. He even got to run E57B around the roundhouse. He was on a power line construction crew from ‘74 to ‘79 before starting his general automotive repair business. “I do a little bit of everything.”
First car? A ‘55 Chevy. “I probably got it when I was 15. I would pull it into Leary’s garage and work on it after hours. Put in a 427 engine on my ‘56 Chevy.”
His favorite car, believe it or not, is not one of those Corvettes. “I wish I had my ‘71 SS Chevy Nova back.”
Tim and Julie Wojtowick are known for being perennial winners in Harlowton’s 4th of July Rodeo Parades. Unique and original describe their entries. (The Wojtowicks have two childdren, daughter Jesamyn and son Paxton. For more about Julie and the family, read the December issue.) “We do it because we do it. If nobody did anything, there would be no parade.”
Both Tim and Julie are also antique collectors. For the last few years, Tim has been collecting old fishing lures. “My dad had a bunch of lures and was quite a sportsman. It’s kind of like the gas and oil antiques.”
Tim has a collection of presidential campaign buttons going back to Kennedy now on display at the Wheatland County Treasurer’s Office.
But, Wojtowick is most especially an automobile memorabilia collector. “I don’t sell it. I collect it. Sometimes, I will trade a guy for an item I want.”
Tim started collecting gas station memorabilia after he sold his gold Corvette and bought Highway Mobil. Wojtowick’s oil company signs are more visible these days inside the station than out. The old Mobil gargoyle which was replaced in 1930-31 is prominently on display along with the more modern flying red horse.
The latter is his favorite piece of memorabilia, then a Conoco Minuteman globe, and some vintage Coca Cola items. It’s clear that it would be hard for Tim to part with some pieces in his collection.
Another memento that Tim Wojtowick has is a photo of himself under glass on his front counter. It was taken of him while he was doing his very first repair job - a carburetor for Don Bain - at Wojtowick Auto Repair in 1980. Intent then as now, Tim Wojtowick makes the best out of his automobiles and antiques.