Malcolm S. Pray Jr., creator of a car dealership empire, avid car collector, philanthropist and strong supporter of civic life in Greenwich, CT, died Sunday morning.
He was 84.
Pray grew up in Greenwich and graduated from the University of Virginia and served in the U.S. Air Force. In 1955, he became a Volkswagen salesman at Morlee Motors in Greenwich.
By 1963, Pray owned the dealership. In the following years, Pray built a dealership empire that included Porsche, Mitsubishi, Audi, Nissan and Infiniti dealers. Pray was the largest Audi dealer in the United States.
In 1999, Pray sold his companies and created a car museum and Pray Achievement Center near Greenwich.
The Achievement Center helps children from inner city neighborhoods.
Pray was an avid car collector, and he enjoyed sharing his 80 or so cars — which included a 1939 Lagonda Rapide V12 and a 1930 Duesenberg Dual-Cowl Phaeton — with children.
Pray believed that seeing the wonderful cars inspired children to set big goals and reach them, said his wife, Natalie Pray.
Pray’s favorite car was a 1937 Delahaye 135M Roadster, which he first saw at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. He ended up buying that very car.
Pray was also an active supporter of the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance.
Pray is survived by his wife, daughters Melanie, Sabrina and Tina, and several grandchildren.
Services have not been announced.