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Continued: Vikings: Pat Williams’ games: football, cars

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 3, 2007 - 10:41 PM

"When we aren't playing football, that's what we do," Udeze said. "We buy cars off each other."

Big Pat, of course, is the undisputed King of Cars at Winter Park.

"I personally don't hear him talking about the cars, but every day I leave this place, Pat's in a different car," Vikings defensive line coach Karl Dunbar said. "I think that's how he gets all his publicity. All these young kids want the fancy rims, the nice paint job, the speakers, TVs in their cars, things like that."

'We got to move the seat back for Kevin'

According to its website, Automotive Concepts offers 44 products. There's the Katzkin leather interior, strut grills, suicide doors and stereo systems loud enough to make you grab your ears and ask, "Are we in the Metrodome?" Except when Williams cranked up the sound system inside his maroon Escalade, one could actually understand the words, too.

During last month's walk through the Automotive Concepts shop, there were cars being customized for New England Patriots and former Gophers running back Laurence Maroney, Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin, Wolves player Trenton Hassell and another local guy by the name of KG.

"That's Kevin Garnett's right there," Williams said. "We got to move the seat back for Kevin."

Williams moves around the room and mentions how the company recently had to fire a paint crew. Mistakes aren't an option when the company is traveling all over the country to pick up vehicles, transport them to New Hope, customize them and then deliver them.

"I know some guys who send their cars to Florida and don't hear anything for six months, even though they're calling and calling," Udeze said. "[Automotive Concepts] went to L.A. and picked up a car of mine and brought it here for me. They know they only have one chance to make a good impression, so they do. But then when a former [Southern Cal] teammate of mine like [Seahawks linebacker] Lofa Tatupu calls me and wants to know where he can get his car done, I send him to Pat, and the shop goes and gets his car in Seattle."

Birth of a businessman

Williams was involved in two similar shops in Buffalo when he played for the Bills from 1997 to 2004. He sold his share in one but kept the other. After he retires, he'd like to keep his interests in the shops in Buffalo and New Hope and open other shops, including one in Monroe, La.

"When I first moved here to Minnesota, and I was still staying at the Sheraton downtown, I'd just get in my truck and ride around looking for stuff," Williams said. "Today, guys ask me, 'How do you know how to get around like you do?' And I say, 'You got nothing else to do most of the time.' Basically, it was work out until 12 and get in my truck and ride and go get lost."

Williams found Automotive Concepts while lost two years ago.

"I had just bought a truck and I needed it customized," Williams said. "I found Jeremy and we just hit it off. And then I brought everybody else with me."

On the field or on the road, some guys can't help but follow "Big Pat."

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    Tuesday July 3, 2007

    When a ferocious, butt-kickin' beast who can dominate the storm that is an NFL line of scrimmage talks, we don't interrupt.

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