Our History: Over 55 Years in the Nation’s Capital
Founded in 1959 by Austrian-born Louis Mrak, Mark Motors originally opened its doors as a European car service center here in the Nation’s Capital. Today, Mark Motors is Ottawa’s leading luxury car dealership; whose showrooms house an impressive inventory of Porsche and Audi models.
At Mark Motors, we pride ourselves on our 55-year history. Our family owned and operated business was built on hard work and dedication, and these values have been paramount in our growth and success.
We are proud of where we came from, and how far we have come since our humble beginnings. We invite you to learn more about the Mark Motors story below.
The Mark Motors Story
Mark Motors Founder Louis Mrak was born in Maribor, Slovenia, just sixteen kilometers from the Austrian border. There, a foster family who had seven children of their own raised him. Louis later moved to Austria in attempts to escape Communist rule. His time in Austria was fulfilling, with an education at a mechanics college and a good job.
At the age of 21, Louis was hungry to travel the world. In 1956, he boarded the SS Columbia, one of the smallest Ocean liners crossing the Atlantic, and landed in Montreal. He then took the train from Montreal to Bourget, where the train slowed down just enough for him to jump off. He came to Canada with no knowledge of the English language, a suitcase and a few dollars in his pocket. Louis learned English as he worked at a service center in Rockland.
In 1957, Louis met his future wife Margaret Rapp, who also came to Canada from Hanover, Germany around the same time. She supported him during the earlier years with his room and board, as she was employed by the Chateau Laurier at the time. Louis and Margaret married in 1959.
1959 was a monumental year for Louis, as he also opened the doors to his business in Ottawa and called it Mark Motors. He originally opened the business as a central European car service center. Where he had just two mechanics that worked alongside him. One year later, Louis Mrak moved Mark Motors to 611 Montreal Rd. and hired another two mechanics to make up a team of five technicians who repaired European cars.
Over Mark Motors’ 50-year history, Louis Mrak represented some of the greatest car companies in the world: BMW, Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini, and Lloyd – but his focus and passion lay with Porsche and Audi. In 1974, Porsche gave Louis the franchise to sell and service the renowned sports car. The Audi franchise offer followed shortly thereafter. In 2005, Mark Motors opened a stand-alone Audi flagship store on Hunt Club Rd.
Louis and Margaret have four children: Andreas (Body Shop Manager), Michael (General Manager), Vincent (Assistant Body Shop Manager) and Liza (Business Development Manager). All of them currently work in the family business.
Tragically, in 2012, Louis Mrak passed away at the young age of seventy-seven. He is, and always will be remembered as a man of great pride, dignity and deep family values. Louis always valued the importance of discipline and hard work. He would come into work everyday, and sometimes even on Sunday’s if necessary. He is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Margaret, their four children and grandchildren who are honoured to continue his legacy of hard work and respect inside and outside the family business.