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- Sinkhole Stabilization Begins Today At National Corvette Museum (2)
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Owners of 2014 Corvette Stringrays can save up to 60 percent off the tuition costs of attending the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School at Spring Mountain Motorsports Motor Resort near Las Vegas, Nevada.
You can save more than $1,500.
The program is designed for drivers of all experience levels and includes dynamic car control exercises, visual skill development and proper cornering techniques while learning to master the performance enhancements of the award-winning 7th generation Corvette.
This two-day program includes a one-night, two-day stay, meals and the opportunity to experience the true on-track performance capabilities of the Corvette Stingray. Developed and managed by legendary Corvette racer Ron Fellows, the curriculum is designed to accommodate drivers of all skill levels and teach them how to handle the precision offered by this completely reengineered sports car. Along with classroom instruction and challenging car control exercises, participants will spend extensive time on Spring Mountain’s road course.
This exclusive offer is good for one year from the retail purchase of a 2014 Corvette Stingray and is applicable only to the original owner. Only one attendee per vehicle is eligible for the discount and he/she is responsible for his/her transportation costs.
Click here for more driving-school details.
Our blog sponsor, metro Detroit's George Matick Chevrolet, is one of the midwest's largest Corvette dealers with national sales and delivery. Its sells 2014 C7s at or below the MSRP. Visit www.matickchevy or call sales director Paul Zimmermann at 313-532-5016.
"It's a pretty big deal when a bustling city like Birmingham (MI) turns its two main streets over to you for a day-long Corvette show," says North Oaks Corvette Club past president and Corvette Generations Car Show chairman Skip Hartlerode.
The metro Detroit club will host this premier annual show in conjunction with Birmingham's "Day on the Town" shopping event. The community's downtown crossroads -- Old Woodward Avenue and Maple Road in the heart of the main shopping and entertainment district -- will be closed from early morning on Saturday, July 26 until early evening for pedestrian traffic only.
Show Corvettes, car enthusiasts, guests, shoppers and diners will have the town to themselves. All stores and restaurants remain open during this busiest shopping day of the year in Birmingham.
The club's event tents move north to the Maple-Old Woodward intersection, providing prime real estate for the show's award stage this summer. There is room for up to 150 Corvettes to line Old Woodward Avenue both north and south of Maple Road.
But the rain-or-shine show is limited to the first 120 Corvettes that register.
"We're looking forward to a bigger event for 2014, with more Corvettes of any generation whether stock, custom or modified, people's choice voting, trophies in 13 classes, more door prizes, raffles, entertainment, a kids' zone and a huge sidewalk sale," adds Hartlerode.
Pre-registration is $25 per Corvette or $35 the day of the show, space permitting.
Trophies are courtesy of Matick Chevrolet, the club's Corvette sponsor.
For more information or to request a show flyer, email email@example.com or call Skip Hartlerode at 586-719-0660.
New photos show the extent of the damage to these priceless Corvettes. The pace car is buried and the Spyder is pretty crunched.
Work begins today to stabilize the gigantic sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum, museum Executive Director Wendell Strode said this morning.
After setting up equipment and opening a hole in the Skydome's exterior to gain access inside, construction crews now will work on supporting the walls around the huge sinkhole. They'll clear out the concrete, rock and dirt and then the Corvettes as they become available to extract. This may take several weeks.
For daily updates on the sinkhole project, visit the museum's Facebook page, which has changed its profile photo to highlight "The Great Eight" that dropped into the 40-foot wide, 30-foot deep sinkhole.
Strode said that the project engineers do not believe there is any danger of more sinkhole activity at the museum. The rest of the Skydome and the museum are safe, he said, and the museum is open.
"This is Mammoth Cave territory," he said, "and it is different from any other place in the world. We have sinkholes (around here) regularly." title="Aerial view" rel="lightbox351745" He added that engineers are accustomed to working in these situations.
He also said that the museum worked around 77 sinkholes in the last nine months while constructing its new 184-acre MotorSports Park. This facility, which is adjacent to the museum, will open in August as part of the National Corvette Caravan activities.
Three other sinkholes in the area occurred on the same day as the museum's sinkhole. While there is technology today to build on sinkholes, Strode said one of the possible contributing factors for the local sinkhole activity could have been the more than normal rainfall the area has experienced over the past several years.
Visitation is 6-8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14 at the A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home on Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak. A funeral service is planned for 11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 15 at the First United Methodist Church on Maple Road in Birmingham.
Remembering George Stephen Matick, Jr.
Founder of George Matick Chevrolet
“Like a rock.”
Indeed, that popular 10-year-running Chevrolet theme song by Bob Seger that touted the dependable, strong, solid characteristics of the Chevy pickup truck also could have been written to describe George Matick Chevrolet dealership founder George Stephen Matick, Jr.
“Like a rock” were the exact words used to describe Matick by his wife and three daughters as they gathered recently to reflect on Matick’s prolific life both on the car-industry stage and off, raising a family and enjoying boating, golfing, his dogs (including the lovable recent shelter-rescue, “Chuck”), games of gin rummy and gatherings with high school, college and dealership buddies Frank, Jimmy, Al, Steve, Norm, Terry, etc., all of whom he cherished.
Matick died peacefully in his Bloomfield Township, Michigan home Feb. 9 with his wife, Kathryn “Katie” (Kathryn Lee Murdick) at his side after a full day of visiting with daughters and family following a 22-month-long battle with cancer. He was 86.
Matick was born on Oct. 23, 1927 in Detroit and grew up in the Hazel Park area. He graduated in 1951 from Hillsdale College with a degree in business. At Hillsdale, he was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity.
Following his first semester at college, Matick left school to serve his country from 1945-46 in the 11th United States Army Airborne, which took him to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Benning in Georgia, and Sapporo and Hokkaido, Japan, among other places.
“He was a paratrooper, if you can imagine that,” recalls Matick’s sister-in-law, Elizabeth “Betty” Matick of Bloomfield Hills (she was married to Matick’s brother, Bob). “I was so impressed with that and if you asked George to tell you what it was like to be a paratrooper, he’d joke and say things like, ‘It’s a good thing there’s someone behind you pushing you to pull the cord because otherwise you might not do it.’ He had a great sense of humor. He also told us that he wanted to be a paratrooper because he didn’t want to ‘walk through the war as an infantryman.’ No walking for him.”
Betty met George in 1946 right after he returned from the service and before he re-enrolled at Hillsdale College. “The brothers (George and Bob) were very close.”
Dealerships in the Making
Following graduation, Matick returned to Detroit to work for his father, George Matick, Sr., at Northwest Motor Sales, a Dodge dealership on Grand River Avenue in northwest Detroit. Bob Matick also worked for his dad and eventually left to open a Chevrolet dealership in Branford, Connecticut.
“But they both worked somewhere else first because their dad insisted on it,” Betty recalls. “He said, ‘You go work for someone else and then come to me and we’ll talk.’”
Their father, George Matick, Sr., was a Croatian immigrant who had sold cars for a living. He was 13 when he arrived to America, walking from Ellis Island in New York straight to Milwaukee. “He threw his papers away,” Betty recalls, “and said he’d never need them again, so he never was really sure of his birth date.”
George Matick, Sr. — and many like him at that time — helped to define the American dream. “If he were living today,” Betty says, “and saw how folks today believe that it’s who you know that gets you places and not how hard you work, well, he’d really be shocked and saddened. We all had great respect for him, and he passed down those characteristics to his children, who in turn have done the same.”
Through diligence and determination, George Matick, Sr. became a sales manager and then general manager of a Chevrolet dealership on Woodward Avenue in Detroit before buying his own Dodge franchise.
It wasn’t long before George Matick, Jr., who “started in the parts department at his dad’s dealership,” recalls wife Katie, also followed in his father's footsteps. “His dad wanted him to work his way up the ladder,” she says, “and not just get a top job because he was the dealer’s son.”
Adds Betty: “The Matick sons learned the business from the ground up, but they also already knew a lot about automobiles because they were around them all the time. Pop (George Matick, Sr.) always had different cars in his driveway — that was part of the boys’ lives.”
Their father passed away at age 65 when Matick was only 28 years old, leaving him and Bob to complete their training on the job and on their own.
While Americans continued buying more and more cars and trucks through the 1950s and 1960s, consumers began to demonstrate their preference for what became known as America’s brand: Chevrolet.
So, in 1967, Matick purchased a Chevrolet dealership — Paul McGlone Chevrolet — on Joy and Evergreen roads on the west side of Detroit. Success came almost immediately and soon after, a larger facility became necessary.
In 1977, just months before the opening of I-96 at Telegraph Road, George Matick Chevrolet bought the building and property for what is now the dealership’s current location in Redford Township.
With more than two acres of floor space under one roof, the dealership, a former Topps department store with an adjacent Farmer Jack grocery, has long been recognized as the “largest indoor showroom in Michigan.”
“That was an exciting day,” recalls Katie, his wife of almost 50 years. “He was so proud of that space — it was huge and went on forever, with dirt floors in some spots. Our young kids were running around and I was standing in awe at George and his accomplishments and vision.”
Matick had the vision of the high-volume, high-capacity facility long before anyone ever coined the term “super-store.”
Unlike many dealers of his generation, Matick never desired the limelight and was uncomfortable with self-promotion. He was far more comfortable supporting his leaders and team as a “coach of the fundamentals.” The hardworking entrepreneur was adamant about living by “the Golden Rule” and treating everyone he encountered with dignity and respect. He would never get visibly upset and instead stayed outwardly calm during even the most upsetting of circumstances.
While Matick was demanding and had high expectations for his staff and their performance, he was known for his big, soft heart, his keen sense of humor and the fun loving, twinkle in his eye. He was deeply loved by his staff, some of whom came from his old dealership and still work at George Matick Chevrolet today.
After more than 50 years in the retail automotive business, Matick retired from day-to-day involvement in the company in 1998, turning over the reins to business partner and son-in-law, Karl Zimmermann, of whom he was extremely proud.
Zimmermann purchased Matick’s remaining ownership interest in 2008. And Matick stayed current on all the details of Zimmermann’s expansion plans until he died.
Today, the Redford dealership ranks in the top one percent nationally of Chevy dealers for new-car sales. The dealership still features Michigan’s largest indoor new-car showroom with up to 100 vehicles parked inside at any time. Matick Chevy is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation and recently opened a state-of-the-art body shop complex near the dealership.
“It’s an honor to see that these businesses were so successful for as long as they were,” Betty says. “My father-in-law working with his two sons — they learn and move on … none of that’s easy, and now George, Jr.’s business continues to be in family hands. That’s honorable.”
George Matick at Home
“George was a dependable, caring, conservative, protective, honorable, attentive, hardworking person and a wonderful husband,” says wife Katie, a former Birmingham schoolteacher who met George on a blind date in 1962. They married in Gaylord and were blessed with three daughters, including Sarah Zimmermann (married to Karl); Susan Baranowski (married to Tom); and Elizabeth Storrie (married to Scot).
“We were so excited that he met Katie and was getting married,” says Matick’s sister-in-law, Betty. “He was thrilled and we were more thrilled!”
“He was a great father and husband because he left his work at work,” Katie recalls, “even when times were tough, like during the labor strikes of the 1970s.”
Matick was a member of Orchard Lake Country Club in Orchard Lake Village, Michigan, where he had caddied as boy, hitchhiking back then all the way from Hazel Park. He and his wife enjoyed traveling all over the world and creating fond memories of going on trips with other car dealers and personnel to destinations such as Hawaii, Switzerland, Japan and China.
A lover of “the latest car,” Matick seemed to always have a convertible parked in his garage and adored driving his Corvettes well into his 80s. “He loved the classy, sharp hotrods,” Katie notes.
Matick recognized the value of solid friendships and made it a point to stay in touch with several pals from high school and college. Every week until recently, he would meet them at the Clawson Steak House, to reminisce about old times and enjoy a good meal served by Barbara, his favorite waitress.
“He also loved golf and playing gin rummy,” note his daughters, “but it was more about just being with people and enjoying the spirit of the game, rather than the competition and winning. He was all about the banter, joking and being with his buddies, enjoying a drink and cigar after a round of golf.”
Boating outings also ranked high on Matick’s list, whether with friends and/or family. He and Katie own vacation homes in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Harbor Springs, Michigan. They kept boats at both locations.
Matick is son of the late George and Josephine Matick. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and their spouses as well as grandchildren Max, 13; Anna, 11; George, 6; Will, 6; and Sam, 3; sister-in-law Elizabeth “Betty” Matick; niece Suzanne Matick and her daughter, Isabel; nephew James “Jim” Matick and his children, Tammy Dinatale and Jim Matick.
National Corvette Museum sinkhole update from Chevrolet, 2-13-14
DETROIT – To help the National Corvette Museum recover from the massive sink hole, Chevrolet will be overseeing restoration of the Corvettes damaged. The process will be managed by General Motors Design in Warren, Mich.
“The vehicles at the National Corvette Museum are some of the most significant in automotive history,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of General Motors Global Product Development. “There can only be one 1-millionth Corvette ever built. We want to ensure as many of the damaged cars are restored as possible so fans from around the world can enjoy them when the Museum reopens.”
The restoration will be overseen by Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design.
When the cars are recovered, they will be shipped to the Mechanical Assembly facility, a small specialty shop within GM Design, where the best restoration approach will be determined. Mechanical Assembly has been part of GM Design since the 1930s, and today maintains and restores many of the vehicles in the GM Heritage Collection and GM’s historic concept cars.
The National Corvette Museum is independently owned, and supported solely by charitable donations from enthusiasts. It is currently accepting donations on its website to assist in refurbishing the facility. Donations are tax-deductible.
"How do you replace a priceless one-millionth or one-of-a-kind Corvette?"
That was among the questions asked at a National Corvette Museum press conference today.
We'll find out soon as work continues to fix the sinkhole that swallowed eight priceless Corvettes in the museum's Skydome exhibit area on Wednesday.
At the press conference, sources said the vehicles will be returned to the GM Tech Center in Warren, Mich., where Global Design Chief Ed Welburn's team will oversee any potential restoration.
It was not clear whether all eight vehicles involved in the sinkhole, or just the two special ones that were on loan from GM, or any of them due to possible extensive damage, will be returned to the Tech Center. The cars dropped about 20-25 feet into the sinkhole, some deeper.
Sinkhole project engineers said it will take two to three weeks before they are ready to retrieve the Corvettes without more damage once the sinkhole is stabilized.
Then it is projected to take four to six days to remove the Corvettes, after which they will begin to replace the earth lost in the sinkhole.
Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode said that the museum's 20th Anniversary Celebration and the National Corvette Caravan will not be affected. He anticipates the museum's Skydome to be fixed by this major event schedule for the end of August.
Corvette Musuem Sinkhole
At least eight priceless Corvettes were gobbled up in the huge sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum.
Check out more videos of the collapse here.
Update below from the National Corvette Museum, 2-13-14
The National Corvette Museum will be open beginning Thursday, February 13 for tours. The Skydome portion of the tour will be closed to the public. The Museum is open daily, 8am-5pm CT and is located at I-65 exit 28.
The structural engineering firm did determine that the perimeter of the Skydome is stable. We have worked with our insurance adjustor to retain Scott, Murphy and Daniel as our construction manager and they will be coordinating all work moving forward.
All cars that were on display in the Museum's Skydome not affected by the sinkhole have been safely removed.
As an update, photos of the sinkhole, cars that were affected (before the collapse), and readerboard information on each car can be viewed and downloaded here.
Video footage, including surveillance footage of the sinkhole collapse, helicopter drone footage inside the sinkhole and more are on our You Tube channel here.
Those wishing to make financial contributions to the Museum may do so on our website here.
Release from Wednesday, 2-12-14
We received a call at 5:44am from our security company alerting us of our motion detectors going off in our Skydome area of the Museum. Upon arrival it was discovered that a sinkhole had collapsed within the Museum. No one was in or around the Museum at the time. The Bowling Green Fire Department arrived on the scene and secured the area. The Fire Department has estimated the size of the hole is 40 feet across and 25-30 feet deep.
It is with heavy hearts that we report that eight Corvettes were affected by this incident.
Those cars include:
1993 ZR-1 Spyder on loan from General Motors
2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” on loan from General Motors
The other six vehicles were owned by the National Corvette Museum including:
1962 Black Corvette
1984 PPG Pace Car
1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette
1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette
2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette
2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette
None of the cars affected were on loan from individuals. The Skydome exhibit area of the Museum is a separate structure connected to the main Museum. A structural engineer is now on-site to assess the existing damage and stability of the surrounding areas. The Museum is closed to the public for the day to allow us to carefully assess the situation. We will keep everyone informed as we know more.
With the 20th Anniversary celebration, Grand Opening of the NCM Motorsports Park, and the National Corvette Caravan coming August 27-30, we’ve got a lot to be excited about in 2014, and look forward to getting the Skydome repaired and reopened very soon.
Want to see how the new C7 Corvette is made? Here's a great road trip opportunity.
The National Corvette Museum offers VIP tours of the Corvette's remodeled Bowling Green Assembly Plant in Kentucky. The VIP treatment also includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum, located nearby.
These up-close tours pair visitors with a knowledgeable guide who can explain the complex manufacturing process and the engineering wonders of the C7 sports car. The plant underwent a $131-million upgrade for the production of the Stingray so there are lots of new things to see at the facility.
VIP tours cost $200 for up to four people. Additional guests are $50 each with a group limit of seven.
Find out more VIP details here.
After being closed last year for the renovations, “we are delighted to invite the public back into our facility so we can continue our close-knit customer relationships and educate enthusiasts from around the world about the unique Corvette manufacturing process,” says Dave Tatman, plant manager.
Regular public tours include a one-mile walking tour of the Corvette production line. They are offered Monday through Friday at 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. CDT. Tours are $7 per person and reservations are strongly recommended. Tour guidelines and reservations are available at corvetteassembly.com.
Customer experience programs
Other popular customer programs coordinated with the National Corvette Museum include Museum Delivery, Buyers Tour and the Corvette Photo Album. These offer new owners a variety of ways to personalize their Corvette purchase experience.
“These are truly unique programs and opportunities for customers, because no other manufacturer allows such personal access to the assembly and delivery of their cars,” says Wendell Strode, the museum’s executive director. “They make the magic of Corvette ownership more special with memories that will last a lifetime.”
- Museum Delivery: Available as a dealer option, this program allows customers to take delivery of their Corvette at the museum. Museum schedulers notify the customer when their car will be completed and help the customer pick their delivery date. On arrival, customers receive a private tour of the plant. They then take delivery of their new Corvette from the museum showroom, where their car is on display.
- Buyers Tour: This tour allows customers to watch the assembly of their Corvette at the Bowling Green plant. Museum personnel use a vehicle’s order number to track the build schedule for a customer’s Corvette Stingray and contact him/her when the build date is scheduled. The customer and a guest receive a guided tour of the plant – including viewing areas not included in the general plant tour – often following his/her Corvette from the start of body assembly to the end of the line.
- Corvette Photo Album: Whether they take delivery of their Corvette Stingray at the museum or at their local dealership, all Corvette customers can purchase a photo album that documents the assembly of their car. The leather-bound album includes more than 20 pages of text and photos devoted to capturing the build process, as well as a letter of authenticity from the National Corvette Museum.
For costs and more details on these special programs, visit corvettemuseum.org.