Racer Kellermeyer Unveils His Newest Custom-Built C7 Corvette

Danny Kellermeyer Matick Chevy C7 Corvette
Danny Kellermeyer introduced his new C7 to members of the Flint Corvette Club, who visited his garage for DJ Racing’s annual Daytona 500 watch party.  

Matick Chevy-sponsored racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer heads into the upcoming 2017 racing season as last season’s T-1 Corvette racing champion – and as the owner/creator of a new Matick Chevy C7 Corvette Stingray.

“I built this one ground up from a bare frame,” says Kellermeyer, winner of the SCCA Great Lakes Division T-1 Championship and Waterford Hills T-1 Championship.

Cold-weather months are busier for Kellermeyer, of Ortonville, Mich., than many might assume. “That’s because we’re prepping and building race cars,” he says.

The other four cars in his fleet also are Kellermeyer creations.

Danny Kellermeyer Matick Chevy Racecar Driver
Danny Kellermeyer

He admits that after a long winter, he’s itching to get out onto the racetracks. This spring, he tested the new C7 after rains washed all the road salt off the highways. “I’m just fussy enough that I don’t take trailers out in the salt,” he says.

Races begin May 6-7 at Waterford Hills Road Course in metro Detroit, and Kellermeyer expects to take part in 22 races at tracks in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Fans can follow his progress at djrace.com.

Kellermeyer’s other Corvette cars, which he also built, are primed to hit the track.

He owns two C6s – a yellow 2008 and a silver 2011.

His C5 – one of only 42 GM kit cars constructed in 1999 – is his backup racecar.

The oldest in the garage, a C4 built in 1988, runs once or twice a season in vintage class races.

The new C7 has advantages over the others – better weight distribution in the rear, and a GM Stage 3 Aero package that provides more downforce.

The racecar weighs 3,250 pounds and has 395 horsepower, plus its coefficient drag also is improved. “It’s a smoother car going through the wind,” he says.

Matick chevy Danny Kellermeyer C7
Danny Kellermeyer unveiled his new C7 Matick Chevrolet-sponsored racecar to the public at the Waterford Hills Road Racing display during the Third Annual Motor City Hot Rod and Racing Expo in Novi on March 25-26.

Three seasons ago, track officials decided Kellermeyer had to have a restrictor on his racecar engine to slow him up, mainly because he was always winning races.

In the new Matick Chevy-sponsored C7, the L56 motor allows him to have the largest restrictor and the lightest weight. “It makes Corvettes competitive with the cars we run against – Porches, BMWs and Vipers,” he says.

Kellermeyer, who also is lead instructor at Waterford Hills, has assigned the number 41 to the C7, and it’s painted yellow, as are most of his cars.

“Yellow is a good color, a happy color,” he says. “It shows up good on the track.”

Fans may wonder how he decides which car in the pack to race. It’s an easy answer for Kellermeyer: “The one I think I can win with.”

As he enters another season, he says racing cars never gets old. “I love the camaraderie at the track and the competition. But when you hit the track, the friendship falls by the wayside and you are all competitors,” he says.

Kellermeyer has been racing since he was 8 years old, when he’d slip away from the family farm in Jackson, Mich., to race go-karts at a nearby track. And he’s always been a winner on and off the track.

He recalls races where he lost the lead on the “last turn,” he says, “but we got out and I slapped the winner on the back and said, ‘Good race, but I’ll do better next time.’”

Matick Chevrolet Performance

DJ Racing

Posted April 29, 2017

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Discount Tickets, Starter’s Banquet And Corvette Camaraderie Highlight June 3 Belle Isle Grand Prix Caravan

It's time to RSVP!  

Only 100 tickets are available for Matick Chevrolet's exclusive Detroit Grand Prix celebration of fast cars and racing entertainment in Detroit on June 3. 

Corvette enthusiasts from around Michigan and beyond will first fuel up on that Saturday morning with a caravan starter’s breakfast buffet and hear Corvette presentations in Matick Chevrolet’s huge metro Detroit showroom.

Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Poster 2017 1
2017 Detroit Grand Prix Poster

The excitement will build as the Corvette owners and their guests cruise off for an action-packed day at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle, along the Detroit River in view of the city's skyline.

Instead of having to take a shuttle to the racetrack as most ticket holders do, Matick Chevy Caravan participants will park on the island in a special Corvette Corral located right next to the track.

Discounted caravan experience tickets — provided by Matick Chevy to each Corvette owner and one guest — also come with reserved Grandstand 2 seating overlooking the track’s exciting turns one and two across from the pits, paddock passes to the garages, lunch and refreshments throughout the day at Chevy’s hospitality tent on Belle Isle, and a chance to check out Chevy product displays. 

See the flyer below for more details.

RSVP Today

Contact Ryan Esler at resler@matickchevy.com or 313-532-2570.

Matick Grand Prix Caravan 2017 Flyer
Matick Grand Prix Caravan 2017 Flyer
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Driver John Heinricy Reflects On Challenging 2016 Season And Looks Forward To Competing In Florida

Matick Chevy John Heinricy Sonic 2016 Winner
 John Heinricy won several races during the 2016 season in his Sonic racecar.   

While it’s time for most Midwest racers to tuck their cars and gear into garages until the weather warms again, racecar driver John Heinricy will slide back behind the wheel of one of his racing vehicles next month in Florida.

He’s looking forward to improve on his race results from last season.

Heinricy, the 2015 B Spec champion, had a challenging 2016, he says, coming home with a bronze (third-place) in races with his Matick Chevy-sponsored Sonic and also with his 2002 Camaro in the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at the Mid-Ohio Raceway in September.

Heinricy, the hard-working Clarkston, Mich. resident, drove his Matick Chevy-sponsored Sonic, winning several races during the season, including two in June and two in New Jersey in July.

Because he was the 2015 Spec B champ, he had an automatic invitation to the 2016 national runoffs in his Sonic.

But, he notes, officials required that he have a restrictor placed on his engine this season. That was done, he says, to ensure one car doesn’t dominate the field.

In the September championship runoffs, Heinricy attempted a pass, but had “significant contact” with another driver during the first lap — a situation that delayed him for several seconds.

The leader driving a Honda Fit then gained a considerable lead on Heinricy.

“Although I was able to pass four other cars to get to second place, I was never able to recover that time and was penalized one spot back to third due to the first-lap contact,” he says.

“I had a chance of winning had it not been for that contact.”

Heinricy has relived the contact moment in his dreams.

“One incident like that can ruin your chances,” he says.

Matick Chevy mechanics handled repairs on his Sonic and he praises the team for its work.

John Heinricy Sonic Matick Chevy On Track
Racecar driver John Heinricy takes a turn in his Matick Chevy-sponsored Sonic.

Meanwhile, in Class A Sedan competition, some challenges arose from mechanical problems that cropped up at the beginning and end of the season with his Firebird and Camaro.

Heinricy won the May 14 race in his Class A Sedan Pontiac Firebird at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex, but during the second race, his throttle stuck open and he hit a tire wall.

“That took that car out of contention for the rest of the year,” he says.

Heinricy, who was driving for Tom Aquilante Racing of Pennsylvania, says the team built a 2002 Camaro to replace the Firebird.

Heinricy then focused on gaining points during the rest of the season to quality for the national runoffs.

“If we had waited for (the Firebird to be repaired), we wouldn't have had enough points to qualify,” he explains.

Starting over brings on its own set of trials.

“The changes often don’t come out of the way you want,” says Heinricy, “so you have to fix issues.”

He praises Aquilante’s daughters, Amy and Beth, for the work they put into the Camaro.

 “Working with the two daughters is interesting,” says Heinricy.

The women, in their late 20s, are “such hard workers. They know what to do and they know what needs to be done.”

Beth even loaned Heinricy a car to run at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Mich.

“It was great she did that,” Heinricy says.

In New Jersey races in July, he finished second and fourth. In Pittsburgh, he wrecked on a final lap but still received points.

Then at Mid-Ohio in the A Sedan runoffs in September, he was thwarted halfway through the 23-lap race by electrical problems that reduced RPM capacity. The end result was the third-place finish.

HEINRICY OFF THE TRACK

We tossed a few questions Heinricy’s way as he gears up for his Florida competition next month.

john
John Heinricy

• Describe your personality.

I’m pretty driven; a Type A. It’s hard to relax.

• Do you think about the dangers of racing?

I do think about it in a pragmatic way in that I make sure my safety equipment is good and that the car construction is proper for the type of racing that I am doing. Once I am in the car racing, though, it rarely comes too mind.

• Who is your favorite race car driver, among all types of racing?

Dale Earnhardt, Sr. because he was a very aggressive driver but he was a racer from the time he was little. He did the work on his cars. Some younger people in racing have been helped by family and have had the road paved for them. Dale was working in the shop when he was a kid. (Earnhardt died racing in the Daytona 500 in 2001.)

• What's your 2016 proudest accomplishment?

Helping Alan Johnson, Matick Chevy Performance finance and sales manager, with his driving and C7 Corvette. He had had problems with his car’s handling. We were together at several high performance driving events and were able to figure out what was wrong, and together we improved his driving. He has gotten a lot better and he is the September Corvette Club of Michigan competition points champion. 

• What do you do when not racing in the off-season?

I spend time with my wife and seven grandkids, who are all boys. The oldest is 9. They all know I race and they come into my shop and want to climb into the racecars.

• You talked about doing some traveling. Where do you want to go?

My wife and I are looking at the northeast — Maine, New Hampshire and Newfoundland. We might be going to Europe to see areas we haven’t seen yet.

• We hear you enjoy remodeling houses. What’s going on?

We have three houses (in Clarkston) and they require a fair amount of maintenance because they are older homes from the 1950s. So I’ve spent a lot of spare time doing that work.

• What racing do you watch others do?

I am an avid Formula One fan, and watch most NASCAR and IndyCar racing, and sports car racing. It was great to see driver Nico Rosberg receive the F1 championship trophy last weekend.

• How do you keep fit?

I try hard to make up for getting older by keeping in shape. I’m usually racing against much younger drivers. I work out riding my bike several times a week, and I ride hard. I’ll ride until there is snow alongside the trail. When the weather turns, I switch to working in the gym at home. I look at the exercise as a different kind of challenge and I go do it and I look forward to it.

Read more about John Heinricy here.

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Racecar Driver Kellermeyer Pleased With ‘Fantastic’ 2016 Winning Season

Matick Chevy Kellermeyer Grattan Track Win 2016
 

Corvette racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer got used to carrying a checkered flag during the 2016 racing season. 

He won a whopping 70 percent of his 30 races – 11 in SCCA and 10 at the Waterford Hills Road Racing course, a record that resulted in him winning both the SCCA Great Lakes Division T1 Championship and the Waterford Hills T1 Championship.

“The No. 37 Matick Chevy Corvette won all the races and I also managed to set two track records along the way,” says Kellermeyer, now 70 and racing since he was. 8. “It was a fantastic season.”

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer Corvette Driver
Danny Kellermeyer

The Michigan-based racing veteran started with testing his Corvettes on the tracks in April, but his most memorable moment came at Waterford Hills in metro Detroit on Sept. 11 when he and his crew were able to change a broken steering rack in a speedy two hours instead of the normal six.

“Everyone just jumped in and started tearing things apart,” says Kellermeyer. “A steering rack is a pretty serious thing and we didn’t have one with us. My wife, Michaelle, jumped in a truck and drove to our home and brought us another rack. She made it just in time.”

His Matick Chevy-sponsored Corvette made it to the grid on time and Kellermeyer and top rival and close friend Tony Mac battled it out to the finish, with Kellermeyer winning.

“We had margins of victory this season that were within hundredths of a second,” says Kellermeyer. “It was mind-boggling.”

The off-season means Kellermeyer might have more time to ride horses at his Oakland County farm with his wife. He’ll work on his race cars in his shop.

Reflecting back over the race season, Kellermeyer says if he could redo any moment, it would be during races where he chose to turn one way instead of another to move forward in a race.

There were times, he says, when the “competition snuck in beside me.”

Matick Chevy Kellermeyer Win Mid Ohio Track 2016
Corvette driver Danny Kellermeyer often appeared in the winner's circle this season.

Here's more of Kellermeyer's take on his summer racing schedule.

What a season. How do you do it?

“Winning isn’t everything, but driving to your limit is. At competition school that I teach at Waterford Hills, I always ask drivers 'Who is your competition?' They will name people they know. But YOU are your own competition. You have got to figure out how much you can push yourself."

What drives you to keep racing?

“A lot of things – the relationships with people and sponsors. You get to sit down and talk about Matick Chevy. We have the Matick car there at races and people talk about that. I’ve made friends in racing over the years. I’ve always said if it’s not fun, I’m going to do something different.”

Who is your favorite driver and why?

“Paul Newman is my hero. He raced and set records when he was 78.”

You do your own work on the cars. What will happen in your shop over the off-season?

“I want to work on the C7 Corvette. I’ll rebuild the C6 I have. Most of it is fresh, but I still look at it all. All the suspension and bushings have to be relubed or replaced. We’ll go back out to start testing again in April.”

You are a member of the Flint Corvette Club. Will you see them again soon?

“We are doing something all the time. We have a large Daytona 500 party at my place (next one is Feb. 26). We have a big screen TV and we set up tables in the shop. About 100 or so came out last year. We break out the pizza and soft drinks and talk cars again. The racing Corvettes are there. Everybody likes to see something being built, especially the C7."

Matick Chevy Kellermeyer Mid Ohio Course 2016
Wins at Mid-Ohio helped Danny Kellermeyer capture two 2016 championships.

Ever worry about the danger that comes with racing?

“Well, at the last race at Mid-Ohio, I had to start from the back of the pack. We’d run half the race when another competitor had something break up ahead. He went left and right and then into a wall, and it knocked him unconscious."

"They bought the ambulance over and black-flagged the event. (In my position) I sat across from the ambulances and watched them cut the top off the car and helicopter (the driver) out. As I was sitting there, I was praying and hoping he was fine. But you look at that. That broken piece could happen to me."

“It’s a dangerous sport and that’s why you prep the car. I feel my prep work is top-notch and I don’t seem to be scared that could happen to me. I believe in God and so does Michaelle. (Someday) God will pull my number. Until then, that’s the way I’m going to live my life."

Matick Chevy Kellermeyer Boy Scouts 2016
Danny Kellermeyer loves to share his excitement for Corvettes and racing with youth and special groups.
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Racecar Driver John Heinricy Enjoys Running Autocross And HPDE While Helping Others Fine-Tune Their Cars

Matick Chevy Corvette Museum HPDE
John Heinricy instructs Corvette owners on how to drive their sports cars during a recent High Performance Driving Event on the National Corvette Museum's Motorsports Park racetrack.  

John Heinricy often doesn't knows what or where he might be driving any given weekend.

When he’s not racing his Corvettes or his Matick Chevy-sponsored Sonic, the Michigan racecar driver often spends time at road tracks and autocross courses training sports car enthusiasts on how to fine-tune and drive their vehicles.

A wide assortment of vehicles and drivers participate in these day-long gatherings.

At open events around metro Detroit, for example, “you’ll see every kind of make and model running,” says Alan Johnson, Matick Chevrolet’s Performance Vehicles sales manager. After participating in the events the past two summers, Johnson says Matick Chevy's Performance service team now offers many of the different car setups for Corvettes that he and Heinricy discuss with the autocross competitors.

At these entry-level events, miniature road courses are chalked out on a large parking lot and defined by pylons or cones. Drivers must wear helmets, but no special clothing.

“These are open to anybody,” adds Heinricy. “It’s very safe. You’re unlikely to do any damage to your car.”

Most who come out do this as a hobby. At any given event there can be 20 separate classes of cars, and up to 200 drivers signing up for time on the course. People who attend can expect to spend a full day because drivers also are assigned time to work at the course when not driving. Fees range from $20-$80.

Matick Chevy Schoolcraft College Autocross
Matick Chevy's Alan Johnson competes in a recent autocross at the Schoolcraft College Public Safety Training Complex in Michigan.

Autocross enthusiast Bruce Wentzel of Milford, Mich., attended his first autocross in 1964 and has been hooked ever since. “It’s a hobby that becomes addictive,” he says.

“My wife, Mary, is every bit as addicted as I am. If you enjoy driving a car fast, this is the safest way you can do it.”

The Wentzels, who own several Corvettes, are members of the Corvette Club of Michigan like many of the other participants in a recent event at Schoolcraft College Public Safety Training Complex in Livonia, Mich.

Wentzel says he does it to “get a thrill.” He recalls the first time he won the “fastest time of the day” honor back in the 1970s. “I was on Cloud 9,” he says.

He recommends newcomers give autocross a try. “There are a lot of people at these events to give you guidance. It’s multifaceted and that’s what I like about it.”

Here are resources to learn more about autocross events:

Matick Chevy Corvette Museum HPDE 2016
High Performance Driving Events at the National Corvette Museum allows owners opportunities to improve their driving skills.

 

FAST TRACK ACTION

For a real thrill, the beginner-to-expert driver who wants to drive a road course can step up to the fast action at High Performance Driving Events (HPDE).

Heinricy attends these events at various tracks around the country as a pro driver instructor, often sponsored by Matick Chevrolet, one of the largest Corvette dealers in the Midwest.

“It’s not as intense as racing, but you can damage your car,” he warns. “There’s more risk with HPDEs.”

Matick Chevy’s Alan Johnson had to ride with an instructor for a full day before he was permitted to drive solo at one track.

HPDEs allow “for passing when the person in front designates a pass,” he says. “It’s that way for safety.”

At an Aug. 27-28 HPDE event at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., participants each drove on the track for 20 minutes up to four separate times. Most drove their own Corvettes.

“But I did see some Camaros and Mustangs,” says Heinricy.

The cost can range from $150 to $250 per day, depending on the event.

To see what driving is like, take a virtual seat inside a vehicle at this HPDE event.

At Bowling Green, Heinricy ran his Matick C7 Corvette and Johnson drove his own C7.

“I enjoy it,” says Heinricy, who counted 120 attendees. "People came from all over — Michigan, Illinois, North and South Carolina." rel="lightbox353286"

Heinricy drove hot laps on the museum's track with six Corvette owners. Those lucky ones were selected in a hot-lap drawing, which was sponsored by Matick Chevy.

Corvette lovers also paid to ride with Heinricy during the weekend event, and that amount was donated to the museum, he says.

Heinricy and his passengers wore helmets with communications gear, which enabled him to narrate what was happening in the owner’s car while on the course.

“Sometimes the passenger can’t tell if I’m driving with an open or partial throttle,” Heinricy says, “so this allows me to talk with them.”

Matick Chevy John Heinricy New Jersey Winner
John Heinricy celebrates another summer victory in his Matick Chevy-sponsored Sonic at a New Jersey track.

HEINRICY RACING EVENTS

Heinricy, who won the SCCA National Championship in his 2012 Matick Chevy Sonic last year, will return to defend his title at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at the Mid-Ohio Raceway. The Sonic will race at 4:25 p.m. Sept. 24. Heinricy is also taking his 2002 Camaro to compete in the A Sedan class on Sept. 23.

All championship races will be broadcast live on www.scca.com.

Back home in Michigan, he’ll participate with his C7 at the Detroit Council of Sports Car Club autocross Oct. 2 at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.

Heinricy also is talking with promoters about taking his Matick Chevy Stingray for HPDEs to Grattan Raceway for a Devos Hospital benefit Oct. 6 in Grand Rapids.

On Nov. 10-11, he’s run the Trans Am series with a Corvette owned by Stewart Bachmann Motorsports, where his 800 hp vehicle could hit speeds of 200 mph.

Posted September 21, 2016

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‘Corvettes on Woodward’ Called ‘Coolest Thing Ever’ As Owners Gather To Help The Hungry

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy
This year's Corvettes on Woodward moved to the impressive 87-acre M1 Concourse in metro Detroit that includes a racetrack and repair shops. 
 

Neither hot sun nor rain stopped hundreds of Corvette owners from turning out on Aug. 17 to enjoy some fun and raise more than $6,000 to help the hungry at the annual Corvettes on Woodward gathering.

The big fundraiser was held at the new M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Mich., prior to metro Detroit’s spectacular 22th annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

Two food pantries – Open Hands Food Pantry, part of Royal Oak’s St. John’s Episcopal Church, and Woodside Bible Church – benefited from the event coordinated by Corvette enthusiast Larry Courtney.

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy 31
Event coordinator Larry Courtney.

Matick Chevrolet in metro Detroit, which sponsors Larry’s U.S. flag-wrapped Corvette, provided the van used to deliver donated non-perishable food to Open Hands.

A highpoint of Corvettes on Woodward involved a huge Corvette caravan, led by Oakland County Sheriff’s officials, driving from M1 Concourse through Pontiac and along Woodward Avenue to the Open Hands Food Pantry where participants delivered monetary and food donations.

Corvettes on Woodward this year drew more than 600 Corvette owners to the impressive M1 facility, an 87-acre complex featuring climate-controlled, private car condos, a racetrack, repair shops and restaurants.

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy 38
One highlight of the annual gathering was a Corvette Caravan along the Woodward Dream Cruise route to deliver goods and money to a local food bank.

Brad Oleshansky, M1 Concourse founder, called the Aug. 17 event “amazing,” one of many back-to-back events at the facility during Pontiac Power Week celebrated during the Woodward Dream Cruise.

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy 28
Enthusiasts were able to chat with other owners and check out the unique cars.


During the Aug. 20 Woodward Dream Cruise, Oleshansky says the Corvette remains the “dominant car on Woodward.”  

For the Corvettes on Woodward gathering Oleshansky says, “We’ve finally given them room to accommodate their event.”

Bleachers were being erected near Woodward Avenue. He anticipated up to 25,000 guests for a drag racing exhibition at M1 on Aug. 19.

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy 19
 Participants took hot laps around the new M1 Concourse racetrack.

M1 is expanding quickly, and currently officials are taking reservations for the next phase of its car condos.

Corvette owners and their spit-polished cars were the stars of  Corvettes on Woodward. Each paid $10 to enter, with the funds being donated to the food pantries.

Lucille and Dennis Thomas of Southfield chatted with friends before heading out to the infield, the main parking area for the Corvettes.

The Thomases have owned 7 Corvettes over the years, and now they drive a 2014 black Corvette Stingray.

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy 6
Dennis Thomas loves his 2014 Stingray.

“We bought the first Corvette after the kids left home in 1989,” says Lucille.

Dennis worked for Pontiac Motors for 39 years. The Thomas’ first Corvette was a 1989.

“They ride good,” says Lucille, who wore a red Stingray T-shirt that matched her husband’s.

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy 20
Rain threatened the event for a bit but it didn't dampen the excitement.
 

Corvettes on Woodward had been held at a hotel in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., for years, but the venue could only accommodate 500 cars. So event coordinator Larry Courtney decided it was time to find a bigger space and M1 came to the rescue.

Courtney and volunteers even lined up red, white and blue Corvettes to create a large American flag during the day.

A drone was able to capture the image from the air above the M1 Concourse infield, filled only with Corvettes.

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy 3
Corvette owners lined up their cars in red, white and blue rows to create an American flag.

Courtney said Oleshansky and staff were welcoming. “We had a good turnout considering it rained. It’s a perfect venue and we will make it bigger and better every year,” he says.

Out in the infield Mike Reed of Southfield was in attendance with his 2006 yellow Z06 Corvette – his third Corvette. “I always like Corvettes since I was growing up,” says Reed, 56. “I thought they looked like muscles.”

Reed, who works for Chrysler, looked around at the dozens of parked Corvettes in the infield.

“They are all beautiful cars to me,” he says.

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy 10
Dennis Pillsbury supercharged his 1957 engine and added a few other enhancements as well.

A few rows away, Ortonville resident Dennis Pillsbury walked around his 1957 red-and-white Corvette convertible, complete with a supercharged small block engine he built himself.

Pillsbury, a retired vehicle builder from GM’s Truck and Bus division, said a friend of his named the car “Alien” and that is the name that appears on the car’s front license plate. Pillsbury also owns a 1967 Corvette.

“They were perfectly made, the (two) prettiest cars they ever built.”

He said if he doesn’t sell the car, he will give it to his son, Scott.

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy 33
Corvettes on Woodward owners enjoyed  fast laps on the M1 Concourse 1.5-mile racetrack.

Because of the car’s age and stick shift, Pillsbury admits the car can be “finicky” to drive. Pillsbury changed the hood so that it opens at the front instead of the back. “People asked me why I did it, and I said, ‘Because I could.’ It came to me in a nightmare,” he jokes.

First-timers to Corvettes on Woodward, Elaine and Steve Meltzer of LaSalle, Mich., drove their 2000 red Corvette convertible to the infield. After Steve, a retired airline captain, had a heart attack in 2007 and subsequent heart transplant, Elaine said the couple purchased the car in Florida after Steve was recuperating.

“It makes him so happy,” says Elaine, a former sales representative. “Steve is generally the car’s driver. It has a six-speed so I don’t drive it that much.”

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy 12
Elaine and Steve Meltzer drove their 2000 Corvette to the day-long event.

Steve assessed the new M1 venue. “It’s awesome,” he says, and even drove the Corvette around M1’s new 1.5-mile track.

Rain Didn’t Dampen Spirits

Skies blackened after 3 p.m.at the event, sending some people to a large tent at the event entrance.

Barbara Walsh of Washington Township, Mich., stayed near her 1990 white Corvette. She works in the automotive weather stripping business and maintains her own vehicles. “This is my sixth Corvette,” she says. “This one is a C4 with only 17,519 miles on it.”

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy 11
Barbara Walsh has owned six Corvettes, including this 1990 C4 with 17,519 miles.

After being complimented for her skills, Walsh said she had recently replaced the gears in her headlights in the past week. When she runs into a situation where she needs help she says, “YouTube (how-to video) is great.”

A rare bird among the many younger owners at the event was 20-year-old Carl Rygwelski of Washington Township. He drove past a 1992 white Corvette coupe listed for sale along a road last year and ended up buying it. “I got it for $8,000,” Rygwelski says happily. “It only has 51,000 miles on the odometer. It’s been a dream car for a year.”

He said his father co-signed papers to help him get the car.

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy 14
Carl Rygwelski purchased his first Corvette at age 20, this 1992 coupe.

“I’d been driving my dad’s old Ford F-150,” Rygwelski says. “The Corvette’s my first car and the coolest thing ever.”

Rygwelski maintains two jobs – working as a videographer and Kroger employee. He’s also a student at Oakland University studying finance.

The new M1 Concourse complex was deemed “pretty sweet” by Rygwelski. “I’m impressed with it.”

Rygwelski was asking owners he met to sign the free Corvette yearbook Larry Courtney distributed to all who brought their cars to the Aug. 17 event.

One site caused many attendees to stop and ask for a photo – the Chesterfield Township man who pulled his tiny miniature Maltese dog Brutus on a wagon. The dog named Brutus serves as the Vietnam veteran’s service dog.

A cloudburst hit at 3:30 p.m., sending many scurrying to that large tent at the entrance.  The event DJ cleverly played the Cascades’ 1962 hit, “Rhythm of the Rain,” to lighten the mood.

Inside the tent, Harlan Charles, GM’s Corvette product and marketing manager, chatted with guests. “This is my first time here at M1 and it’s a great facility and a great place to have this event,” he says.

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy 29
Harlan Charles, Corvette product and marketing manager, shared insights on the Grand Sport.

Charles drove a 2017 white Grand Sport Corvette to entice Corvette fans.

He shared that the Corvette division doesn’t have to do much research on how to improve or upgrade the product. “The owners always give us suggestions,” he says. “The Grand Sport is what the customers want.”

He joked that people in the market for a new Corvette should “order early and order often.”

Buyers can purchase the new Grand Sport in Admiral blue, Black rose, Watkins Glen grey or Sterling blue.

Monalee Kubik of Sterling Heights, Mich., came to the event with husband John Kubik. She was looking forward to the Corvettes on Woodward caravan to deliver the donated food and funds to Open Hands Food Pantry.

She shared that she has enjoyed riding in the family 1994 red Corvette convertible. “I like the wind in my hair,” she says, moving her head to simulate the feeling. “It’s a fun ride, and fun to meet people who are new to Corvettes.”

After the rain let up at the event, people ventured back outside.

Tom Fielitz, a writer with Vette Vues, admitted he left his Corvette at home because of the chance of storms.

“I’m impressed with how brave people are to come out in the rain,” he says. “But when Corvette people get together, everyone is smiling.”

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Rain lasted less than 30 minutes during the Corvettes on Woodward gathering of more than 600 Corvettes.

Wearing a striking long dress, turquoise necklace and sun hat, Rosie Richardson of Pontiac walked near her sleek black 2016 Corvette, which she purchased this summer.

The car was a present for herself. Once her children completed college, she says, it was “Mommy time.”

In early August, she convinced her childhood girl friend to hit the road with the new car. “We went for a week and two days down to South Carolina, just stopping wherever we wanted along the way. The car handled so well. It was so cool,” said Richardson, chair of the Pontiac Library Board. “I enjoyed every bit of it.”

Tom and Joan Psillas of Milford stayed near their two Corvettes. Joan sat in her 2002 convertible coupe, and Tom hovered near his 1961 beauty.

“I love the car’s peppiness, rarity and it’s style,” says Tom of his 1961 wheels. “It’s just outstanding.”

The car, equipped with a plate that read “It’s A61,” stood out in Honduras maroon with Ermine white coves.

“It was the first year Corvettes had dual tail lights,” says Tom.

Joan’s plate read “O YESSS.”

Joan loves driving in the 2002, says Tom. “She found out Corvettes have air conditioning,” he says, laughing. Joan adds, “And mine has lumbar support.”

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A Matick Chevrolet van was used to collect food for the event's Drive2End Hunger campaign.

Money Donated Goes To Help The Hungry

The majority of funds and non-perishable food donated at the event went to St. John Episcopal’s  Open Hands Food Pantry. Three representatives watched the proceedings as the food was transferred from the Matick Chevy van.

“Everything goes directly to our clients,” says Bruce Donigan, chair of Open Hands. Chuck Tucker and Pete Baird assisted him.

Created in 1984, the pantry, which is open two days a week, serves 14,000 people every year, says Donigan.

For every dollar raised, organizers can purchase 10 pounds of food.

“Unfortunately, the need is growing,” Donigan says. “We’re seeing more families.”

Enjoy more photos from the 2016 Corvettes on Woodward gathering at the M1 Concourse in metro Detroit.

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Corvettes on Woodward 2016 coordinator Larry Country and his Matick Chevy-sponsored Corvette.
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Phase three of the M1 Concourse car condos are now under construction.
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Photos by Robert Brodbeck

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Corvette Generations Car Show In Birmingham Shines As One Of The Best

 
North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016 1The 2016 North Oaks Corvette Generations Car Show drew thousands of car lovers and shoppers to Birmingham.  

Les Perkinson III of Troy stopped to admire a “money-green” Corvette in downtown Birmingham, Mich. during the North Oaks Corvette Club’s Fourth Annual Corvette Generations Car Show on July 23.

“I like that one and the yellow one up there,” the 48-year-old said, gesturing toward a sleek Corvette parked near Old Woodward Avenue and Merrill Street. Both roads were closed to traffic during the Saturday day-long event.

“I like poppin’ colors,” he added.

Perkinson, and his 22-year-old son, Les Perkinson IV, share a love of sports cars. Both said they’d be happy with any of the more than 100 gleaming rainbow of ‘Vettes lined up on display along Old Woodward.

“I always have wanted to get a Corvette,” said Les III. “We are the Motor City. Why not have something that represents the city.”

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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show closed Old Woodward and Merrill Street to traffic for the big event.

The Corvette show is a major element of Birmingham’s “Day on the Town” where the city’s merchants offer sidewalk sales, music on three stages and giveaways. The event is sponsored by the Birmingham Shopping District.

North Oaks Corvette Club member Skip Hartlerode, co-chair of the Corvette gathering with Sue Miller, counted 40 members of the club – all in bright neon-green T-shirts - in attendance. Matick Chevy in Redford Township, Mich., sponsors the North Oaks club.

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Congratulations to members of the North Oaks Corvette Club for hosting another successful  Corvette Generations Car Show.

Many other clubs joined the party, including the GMC Corvette Set club. Member Robert Jason drove his 2013 torch red Corvette to the show. “Clubs support one another,” he said.

The Washington Township resident declared the Birmingham show “awesome.”
“I like the downtown atmosphere, people are wandering around and it’s neat to see,” Jason said.

Pat Bean with the North Oaks club sat under a show’s canopy selling club raffle tickets. “I like the camaraderie of the club,” said the Milford resident. “We give back to the community.”

Part of the raffle proceeds go to Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition, a non-profit group that works in drug and alcohol abuse prevention among teens.

Bean, who came in her Matick Chevy Corvette, looked around at the crowd. “Everybody down here has been absolutely wonderful.”

With temperatures in the steamy 90s, people at the show carried water bottles or bought cold drinks.

Chef Adam Galloway with The Bird and The Bread restaurant was selling watermelon-and-hibiscus drinks under a canopy on the street.

“I mixed strawberries, peaches, watermelon, vanilla, lime juice and hibiscus for the tartness,” he said. “We just started and I think it’s going to go fast.”

Across the street, Toledo Corvette owners Don Beam and Steve Kosik smoked cigars in the shade.

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Corvette Generations Car Show attendees were able to talk with car owners and look under the hood.

“We got here at 7:30 a.m.,” Beam said. They won out with their early arrival.
“We got the tree,” he said, pointing out one of the few trees along the wide street.
Beam ventures out in his 2007 victory red Corvette up to 30 times during a summer. “We’re in Michigan more than Ohio,” he said.

“I love it here. People are friendly. There are gorgeous flowers, and good restaurants.”

Kosik, who drove a 1991 black Corvette to the show, added that Birmingham was “nice and clean.” Both men, members of the Glass City Corvette Club, won trophies in the 2015 show.

When questioned what they love about Corvettes, Kosik quipped, “Is there any other car?”

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Every Corvette owner had a story to tell about his or her sports car.

Lolita Sierens of Rochester Hills showed off the family 2003 electron blue Z06 Corvette.

“I like this location,” she said. “Women who come like that there are stores (for shopping).”

Sierens said she snagged a good sale on shoes at one vendor’s sidewalk sale tent.
She and her husband Dennis, who joined the GMC Corvette Set club in 2002, own two other Corvettes – a 1996 and a 2007.

She walked over to point out the 2003’s snazzy painted engine covers that Dennis, who retired from Dura Convertible Systems, designed.

“He comes up with special things like this,” she said.

Wandering through the show were Pokémon Go players Ricky Kevonian and Tony Fabbri, both 17. The two laughed, talked and stared at their cellphones.

They said they had been searching for the game’s characters since mid-morning.
“We caught an Eevee (a Pokémon character that resembles a long-eared dog) on one of the (Corvette) cars,” said Fabbri.

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More than 100 colorful Corvettes lined both side of Old Woodward Avenue through downtown Birmingham.

Andrew Sulich of Birmingham sat near his 1965 Nassau blue Corvette convertible with son, Evan, 17.

Sulich, a North Oaks Corvette Club member, purchased the car a year ago from a Chicago resident.

“I don’t take it out in the rain,” he said.

Andrew and Evan take a ride in the Corvette every Saturday night.

The car has a 365 horse powered engine. “That wasn’t standard,” Sulich said.
Andrew, a physician, loves the Birmingham show.

“Corvette people are the most gracious and they seem to be happy,” he said. “Every car here has a story and people swap stories.”

He also appreciates the father-son time with the car.

“It keeps my son from the electronics. I’m glad he’s not at a (phone or computer) pressing buttons,” he said.

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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show visitors could walk main street while shopping during Birmingham's Day On The Town.

Just up the street, retirees Jim and Arlene Schwab talk with neighbors near the Schwab’s 1982 silver-and-dark blue Corvette.

“We’re out every week in it, maybe three times a week,” said Jim. The Clinton Township couple, which take part in the Corvette Club of Detroit and also Holy Cross Cruisers, have owned the 1982 since 2008.

“I just love old cars,” said Jim.

Arlene laughed. “We’re living out our past.”

The Schwabs once owned a 1967 Corvette, but it was stolen in Florida.
“We flew home,” said Jim.

Mainly Jim drives the 1982.

“The first time I drove, he was more nervous than I was,” Arlene said. "After that I thought, ‘I’ll let him drive.’”

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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016

Around the town, shoppers scanned stores’ sales along Maple Road, Old Woodward Avenue (home to the Woodward Dream Cruise later this month) and Pierce Street.

Near Pierce and Maple streets, shoppers looking to cool down walked through a device spraying a light mist onto the street.

Royal Oak residents Sara and Daniela, who didn’t give their last names, pushed two-month-old Simone in a stroller.

“We are here for the Corvettes and the shopping,” said Daniela, who sipped a cool lemonade.

Birmingham Shopping District director John Heiney said the day was going well for the town’s 100 vendors.

“The shopping day is great and the Corvettes are another reason to come out,” he said.

“The cars are a great addition to our event. And we’re happy there were no worries of rain.”

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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016

Diana and John Dawson of Clarkston, who own a 2000 pewter-colored Corvette, had just joined the North Oaks club. “It’s such a nice bunch of people,” said Diana.

“We’re keeping ‘the wave’ alive,” Diana explained, raising her hand and waving. People at the event talked about the tradition that Corvette owners on the road always wave to one another.

John, a former GM supplier employee, said North Oaks is a “small, intimate club where everyone is super-friendly.”

Around bustling Birmingham, people walked their dogs, rode bikes and chatted with friends.

 

At the Jabs Gym booth, one woman worked up a sweat during a boxing demonstration with a trainer.

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Matick Chevrolet sponsors the North Oaks Corvette Club and the show trophies.

A Chesterfield Township woman stood near her Corvette, surrounded by tire cleaners, buffing rags and special sprays.

“I’m meticulous with the car,” said Mary Beth Erne-Vanlewen about her 2011 gleaming black Grand Sport Corvette.

Wearing her blonde hair pulled back, Erne-Vanlewen grabbed a long-handled cotton swab and ran it along one of the car’s joints.

“Look,” she said, showing a tiny amount of wax on the swab’s tip.

She bought her “dream car” in 2015 and even recalls the exact date. “June 17,” said Erne-Vanlewen, who explained she is from a “car family.”

She said men often treat their cars with kid gloves “but I never met any woman doing what I do.”

She has prizes for her hard work. “I received first place for People’s Choice the first year I brought my car here,” she said. “And I just took first at the Canterbury Village Corvette Show.”

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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016

Rob Sopchak of Macomb stopped to admire a 1960 Corvette convertible – a show-stopping silver coupe trimmed with white.

“I own the 2003 50th anniversary edition over there,” he said, looking south on Old Woodward.

“Corvettes are just unique. I got mine new four years ago.”

Sopchak, whose anniversary-edition-red car won first place in stock C5s at the Birmingham 2015 show, raved about coming to town for the event.

“I love the way the streets are closed off and that the Corvettes get all the parking spots. I just love it.”

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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016

 

Corvette Generations Car Show 2016 Winners

BEST OF SHOW

Stock: Dennis Sierens, 2003 Modified
Matick’s Choice: Kevin Jeffery, 1969 Stock
Birmingham’s Choice: Steve Destrampe, 2014 Modified

GENERATIONS WINNERS
C1 Stock
1. Harley and Barbara Buchanan, 1962
2. Keith Honhart
C2
1. J.T. Johnson, 1962
2. Ron and Nancy Reale, 1964
C3
1. Kevin Jeffrey, 1969
2. Gordon Henry, 1971
C4
1. Walt and Sheryl Weiss, 1996
2. Mark Mullin, 1993
C5
1. Gary Woodlington, 1998
2. Martin Rosenbaum, 2000
C6
1. Mary Beth Erne-Vanlewen, 2011
2. Robert Jason, 2013
C7
1. Wayne Little, 2016
2. Mark Madion, 2016

MATICK'S CHOICE

C1: Jack Driver, 1960
C2: Tom and Bonnie Baiiley, 1964
C3: 1. Matt Leone, 1979, 2. Glenn Wurm, 1974
C4: 1. Steve Kosik, 1991, 2. Roger Steeley, 1974
C5: 1. Dennis Sierens, 2003 2. Alvin Kelley, 1999
C6: 1. Cindy and Don Boozer, 2008,  2. Michael Plumb, 2008
C7: 1. Jim Wolfe, 2014,  2. Roger Colosimo, 2014

 

Enjoy more photos from the North Oaks Corvette Club's 2016 Corvette Generations Car Show in downtown Birmingham.

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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016
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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016 
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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016
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Flint Club Hosts Record-Breaking NCCC Meeting; Now Eyes Corvette Crossroads Show In Mackinaw City

Matick Chevy Michigan Corvette Council
More than 200 attended the National Council of Corvette Clubs Michigan Region awards banquet sponsored by the Flint Corvette Club at Matick Chevrolet.  

In 1953, the first Corvettes were manufactured in Flint, Mich., a fact not lost on the Flint Corvette Club.

“Our club motto is ‘Birthplace of the Corvette,’” says Jim Harris, club president.

The club itself originally came together back in 1969.

Harris has been a member since 1973, when his ride was a 1971 red Corvette coupe. Now 74, he owns a 2003 Corvette coupe — and the car color is still red.

“My taste hasn’t changed a lot over the years. Black is beautiful, too, if you have someone else doing the polishing,” he jokes.

The Flint club’s 50 members get together monthly to attend events or just “dine and drive.”

“We do what the members want to do,” Harris says.

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Club member Stu Moore relaxes at last summer's Mackinaw City Corvette Show.

Some of the activities include participation in the Sloan Museum Auto Fair and Back to the Bricks where car lovers gather to park their classics in downtown Flint every August. 

This Aug. 27, hundreds of Corvette lovers — including members of the Flint club — will assemble in northern Michigan's Mackinaw City for the annual Corvette Crossroads Auto Show.

Harris, a retired electrician, and Flint club members helped organizers pull the first show together 27 years ago, he says, because people have a way of finding him because of his long association with Corvettes.

“I’ve gone every year except the one year I had to work,” he says. “It’s a nice place to go with a craft show, shops, and sights to see.”

The club members gather for an annual corn roast, ball games, and bell ringing for the Salvation Army or Super Bowl parties.

Matick Chevy Flint Corvette Club Danny Kellermeyer
A young Corvette lover checks out the Corvette racer driven by Danny Kellermeyer on display at a recent club meeting. Danny is sponsored by Matick Chevy.

The Flint club is also part of the National Council of Corvette Clubs (NCCC) and is sponsored by George Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township, Mich., a leading Corvette dealer and GM’s Chevy Dealer of the Year for 2014 and 2015

When a person joins the Flint club, they are also required to join the NCCC.

Harris, who lives in nearby Lennon, Mich., points out one of the national club activities involve competitive driving, including autocross.

“This year we’ll do our program Aug. 14 at Michigan International Speedway,” Harris says.

Participants line up for autocross, racing against the clock, not each other, on a course defined by plastic cones.

After the Flint club lost its dealership sponsor, one of the members who connected with Matick Chevy suggested calling the big Redford dealership, says Harris.

“It’s worked out great,” Harris says.

Matick Chevy and the Flint club hosted the April 3 regional awards banquet for the NCCC Michigan region. Read that story here.

More than 200 attended from 16 Michigan clubs. That was a record turnout, officials reported.

Funds raised were donated to Veterans Outreach of Southeast Michigan

“It was a good turnout and we recognized people who participate in rallies and shows,” he says.

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Club member Barbara Harris gets ready to lead the parade at the 2015 Mackinaw City Corvette Show, which the club has helped coordinate.

As for Corvettes, Harris has a trunkful of reasons for being a fan.

“They’re fun to drive and I appreciate the way the car handles and the technology that has taken place with the Corvette since the 1960s.”

Harris says he feels youthful behind the wheel.

“You see lot of us old geezers in newer cars,” he says.

The camaraderie connected with Corvette clubs might even affect an owner’s personal life.

Harris met his wife, Barbara, at a national Corvette gathering in the mid-1980s.

“A mutual friend of ours in ‘Corvetteing’ set things up for us to meet,” Harris explains.

Barbara was a Corvette owner and a member of a Toledo area club.

The couple met at a convention in Indiana, and Harris says, “The rest is history.”

The Flint club welcomes new members. “We are open and friendly,” he explains. “And we’re always looking for new people.”

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North Oaks Corvette Club’s Annual ‘Generations’ Show Transforms Birmingham Into Corvette Paradise

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The North Oaks Corvette Generations Show takes over the streets of Birmingham, Mich. on July 23. 

Skip Hartlerode’s neighbor walked over to his house in 2008 with an intriguing invitation. 

“I know a car you would look great in,” the neighbor said. 

Curious, Skip decided to take a look. 

The car turned out to be a 1994 Arctic white Corvette — and the neighbor was right.

Hartlerode bought the ‘Vette, enjoyed it for years and now drives a 2008 pumpkin-orange Corvette.

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Skip Hartlerode's pumpkin-orange Corvette.

That unique car and 120 others will be on display July 23 at the Matick Chevy-sponsored North Oakland Corvette Club’s 4th annual Corvette Generations Car Show in downtown Birmingham, Mich.

The show, free to the public, takes place along a quarter-mile stretch of South Old Woodward in front of the Birmingham 8 Theater and its classic marquee. Several main streets are closed to vehicle traffic during the event.

Skip, a North Oaks Corvette Club member for years, oversees the show with co-chair Sue Miller.

The event, which runs from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, July 23, began six years ago with a group of Corvette owners during Birmingham’s “Day on the Town” event.

Four years ago, the North Oaks Corvette Club committed to attending the show.

During the event, regarded as the city's biggest shopping day of the year, local merchants offer sidewalk sales, music on three stages, restaurant deals and other giveaways. The Birmingham Principal Shopping District sponsors the event.

"Our Day On The Town was a great success again last year and the car show was a big part of the event. Sales at our stores and restaurants were strong throughout the day. It was great to see all of the Corvettes and their owners enjoying the celebration!" says John Heiney, head of the Birmingham Principal Shopping District.

The Corvette classics on display will date back to the 1960s and vehicles from each generation from C1 to C7 should be on display.

“All kinds of things go on that day,” says Skip, a retired Bayer AG employee from Macomb, Mich.

“Our show is entwined with what the (merchants) are doing.”

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The North Oaks Corvette show attracts big crowds during the Birmingham Day On The Town event.

The North Oaks Corvette Club consists of 52 active members. “We’re like a family,” he says.

North Oaks club members have to fulfill club requirements, including having to attend three meetings and come to three of the club’s annual events, such as one of the dinner cruises or Birmingham car show.

The friendly car club members will raise money during the day with more than 50 door prizes. Part of the proceeds go to the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition, a non-profit group that works in drug and alcohol abuse prevention among teens.

Matick Chevy North Oaks Corvette Generations Show 2016 North Oaks Corvette Club members work the registration/information tent.

Skip says many of the car owners, their wives and girlfriends enjoy this outing because they can grab lunch in town and shop for bargains.

“It’s fun for the whole family,” he says.

The car owners vie for best of show trophies, chosen by participants attending the big Birmingham Day on the Town event.

Racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer may have a racing Corvette on site.

“We would like to have even more Corvettes at the show and park them on the next street over,” says Skip.

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The North Oaks Corvette Generations Show will have every generation of Corvettes on display.

That Arctic white Corvette started it all for Skip, who had never owned a Corvette until he bought his 1994 beauty.

“It had a damage title because it had been driven into a lake 15 years before,” he says.

The man Skip purchased the car from worked as a mechanic and bought it “for peanuts,” he explains.

The mechanic tore the car apart over three years, totally revamping the car. He drove it 10 years.

“I offered a ridiculously low amount and he took it.”

“I never had problems with it and won eight or 10 awards with it.”

Then in 2012, Skip placed a “For Sale” sign on his Corvette at a classic car show at Bakers of Milford, Mich.

Minutes later, a man stopped by, looked at the Corvette and bought the car the next day.

But Skip still wanted a Corvette.

“I always wanted a later model,” he says.

“And I didn’t want a car like everybody else’s. Most people have red or yellow Corvettes and I wanted a Daytona sunset orange or atomic orange Corvette.”

He looked online in 2012 and found a 2005 orange Corvette in Ohio. He drove down and bought it.

“Once you have one, you realize what a tremendous value they are for the money,” he says, adding that he has owned all varieties of vehicles in his lifetime, including a BMW.

“When you get one, you feel different. Everybody talks to you. You can go to car shows, and always meet someone who has one. They’re a lot of fun to drive, a great road car. And the C6s and C7s ride like Cadillacs.”

He says his orange ‘Vette is not a “garage queen.”

“My wife and I put 5,000 miles on it in the summer.”

The car even has a personality.

A North Oaks member once joked that the car looked like a big pumpkin and started calling it the “Evil Pumpkin,” Hartlerode recalls.

He decided to work with that image and found a Kentucky-based artist draw a pumpkin on the car’s hood blanket on the underside of the hood.

“The pumpkin has the Corvette logo as its eyes,” he says.

In August, 2014, while taking part in the National Corvette Caravan, a tractor turned into the Pumpkin, tearing up the car – and Skip.

He’s endured several surgeries, he says.

Matick Chevy took possession of the damaged car and fixed it, he says.

“The people there are just wonderful,” the Corvette lover says.

After a year of repairs, both owner and driver were back on the road in June.

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Those attending the show can view the Corvettes up close and talk with their owners.

Skip hopes people will come out to the Birmingham show.

“They'll see pristine Corvettes in all colors,” he says.

Owners will talk about their cars with the passersby, rain or shine.

“It’s a big deal, one of the premier events in the city, and I’m excited for another year of the show,” he says.

Visit the North Oaks Corvette Club's website to register. NOTE: Scroll down the entire page.

 

All blog photos by Robert Brodbeck.

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North Oaks Corvette Generations Show 2015
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North Oaks Corvette Generations Show 2015
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North Oaks Corvette Generations Show 2015
Matick Chevy North Oaks Corvette Generation
There's still time to register for the North Oaks Corvette Generations Car Show.

 

To view more photos from the 2015 Corvette Generations Car Show, visit the North Oaks Corvette Club's photo page here

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Detroit’s ‘Corvettes On Woodward’ Expects To Double Turnout Next Month With Move To M1 Concourse

Matick Chevy Larry Courtney Corvettes on Woodward Lining Up
Larry Courtney's annual "Corvettes on Woodward" event will draw scores of the sports car lovers prior to the Woodward Dream Cruise.  

Watch for a major Corvette convergence in Pontiac, Mich. on Aug. 17 as hundreds of the sporty cars gather for the first time at the new M1 Concourse in Pontiac for the annual “Corvettes on Woodward.”

Matick Chevy Larry Courtney Corvette on Woodward Logo

The three-day event, organized by Corvette owner Larry Courtney, occurs in advance of the Woodward Dream Cruise.


 

Courtney expects 1,000 Corvettes, double what he had for year ago at a Bloomfield Hills, Mich. hotel venue.

“It’s going to be fun,” says Courtney, who drives the unique, Matick Chevy-sponsored, flag-wrapped “American Pride” 2005 Corvette.

Matick Chevy Larry Courtney Corvettes on Woodward 2016
Larry Courtney and his famous Matick Chevy-flag-wrapped Corvette.

“We finally have the room at the M1 location and we’ll be taking full advantage of the property.”

M1 (named after Woodward Avenue’s route number) is an 87-acre complex featuring climate-controlled, private car condos, racetrack, repair shops and restaurants.

How fitting, say car buffs, that the huge facility is located on a former GM Pontiac West assembly plant.

Courtney can’t wait to host the event, which raises funds for the Open Hands Food Pantry charity. “It’s going to be the largest Corvette event in Michigan,” he says.

He even hopes to gather red-, white- and blue-hued Corvettes and park them in a way to form a huge U.S. flag.

As the M1 Concourse grows, says Courtney, “it will be extremely good for Pontiac, Oakland County and even the metro Detroit region.”

Another charitable activity this year involves Flint, challenged with lead-tainted water issues. “The Flint Corvette Club has challenged us to donate 100 cases of water to Flint and we’re going to do that,” says Courtney.

Because of the shift to Pontiac, Courtney is also planning to donate funding to a Pontiac-based food charity.

Courtney and wife, Verna, bought their Corvette in 1999. In 2012, Matick Chevy and Courtney agreed that the dealership logo and American flag could be decaled onto the car.

The car gets a workout between St. Patrick’s Day through Halloween. In the winter months, the Courtneys put the car in storage.

Courtney loves all things Corvette.

Matick Chevy Larry Courtney Corvettes on Woodward
 Larry Courtney at the 2015 event.

“When I meet a new Corvette owner, I tell them all the great things in store for them because they are now part of the Corvette family,” says the affable retiree who left his career in management.

“There are clubs, shows, road trips, autocross, National Corvette Museum, drag races and other speed events. It is even OK if all they want to do is park it in the garage and drool a little bit.”

Courtney’s influence is far-reaching. He keeps track of 2,000 contacts in his email database and travels to Corvette events across the U.S. and Canada.

Friends from Sweden even had their Corvette shipped to the U.S. one year so they could participate in Larry’s annual Corvettes on Woodward gathering.

That event started back in 2003 when Courtney spotted a pack of yellow Ford Mustangs going down Woodward Avenue. “I said to Verna, ‘We can do better than that because we know a lot of Corvette owners.’”

The gathering started out small, he recalls, but grew over the years with more than 500 Corvettes assembling each August.

About four years into the event, Courtney decided to begin collecting for a Royal Oak food charity. “When we’d parade down Woodward, we’d turn around at 11 Mile Road to head back north into Birmingham and beyond,” he says. “The place we turned around near was the Open Hands Food Pantry.”

Something clicked, and Courtney asked for donations.

Vette Magazine took notice, calling Corvettes on Woodward one of 10 best regional events east of the Mississippi, says Courtney.

He’s looking forward to Aug. 17. “It's going to be a crazy-busy eight hours,” he says. “We’ll try to make sure everybody has a good time.”

Matick Chevy Larry Courtney Corvettes on Woodward Viewing
Corvettes On Woodward participants check out the sports cars on display at the annual event in metro Detroit.

 

Corvettes on Woodward Details

♦ Aug. 17-19 for the “Drive 2 End Hunger”

♦ Arrive starting 2 p.m., Aug. 17, at the M1 Concourse, northwest corner of Woodward Avenue and South Boulevard, in Pontiac, Mich. Enter through the South Boulevard gate. Gates open at 2 p.m.

♦ $10 donation supports Open Hands Food Pantry. Food donations also are accepted at the Matick Chevy van that will also deliver the goods to the pantry. 

♦ An evening police-escorted parade through the four-mile Pontiac Woodward Loop begins around 6 p.m. Participants then continue south on Woodward to the Open Hands Food Pantry, 26998 Woodward Avenue at 11 Mile Road, Royal Oak, Mich.

Additional outings coordinated by Larry Courtney include:

♦ 10 a.m., Aug. 17, GM Heritage Center tour, Sterling Heights, 

♦ 10 a.m. Aug. 18, Lingenfelter Collection tour, Brighton.

♦ 10 a.m. Aug. 19, Webber Wildlife Museum tour, Clinton Township. www.facebook.com/pages/Webber-Wildlife-Museum/212244948809438

♦ 9 a.m., Aug. 20, Woodward Dream Cruise, Woodward Avenue. 

For more details, contact Larry Courtney at 586-876-6923 or vjnlcsvette@aol.com.Corvettes on Woodward letter 2016 Page 1

Corvettes on Woodward letter 2016 Page 2
 
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