Birmingham, MI – Colorful, classy Corvettes electrified the crowds attending the annual Birmingham “Day On The Town.”
The July 26 event, the city’s largest retail shopping event of the year, was one of the most successful ever for downtown merchants.
And the Corvettes were a big contributor to the turnout.
The north metro Detroit community’s two main downtown cross streets were closed to traffic from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and shoppers were treated to lots of retail specials and other entertainment activities.
The big draw: more than 100 new and classic Corvettes participating in the North Oaks Corvette Club’s Generations Car Show.
Now in its second year, the day-long Generations show took the term "street rod" literally as these beauties blanketed the street. Here, Old Woodward Avenue in this swanky city’s business district turned into a veritable showcase of color, thanks to seven generations of Corvettes.
“It was quite a display of beautiful cars … we had show entries from all seven generations … C1 through the exciting new C7 Stingray. That’s impressive for a second-year show,” reports Skip Hartlerode, club show chairman for the past two seasons.
“Nowhere else do you get to see only Corvettes take over a downtown shopping district like this. People were constantly telling our show volunteers and car owners how much they loved the Corvettes filling up the streets. And they loved the variety of Corvettes on display that they could look at up close and personal, and talk with the owners and ask them questions. They had a lot of fun and there was a lot of action all day long,” he adds.
For Birmingham organizers, the day went smoothly and better than anticipated. “The 2014 event was one of the best we have seen in years,” says John Heiney, executive director of the Birmingham Principal Shopping District, which hosted Day On The Town. “Foot traffic was up, sales were up, and the car show really dressed up the downtown and created another unique attraction for shoppers.”
Adds Ryan Cykiert of Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, who displayed one of his company’s cars: “What a great show! It had something for everyone. Outstanding Corvettes for the car lovers, friendly people, and for those who don’t like Corvettes … there was shopping. Just a well-rounded show. It was my pleasure to bring out one of our Lingenfelter powered Karl Kustom Corvettes.”
That 2009 Z06 Corvette, rebodied to look like a 1967 fastback, sports a Lingenfelter 427 CID LS7 under the hood and lots of other customized features.
Tim Duncan, a long-time Corvette enthusiast representing George Matick Chevrolet, the Generation show’s sponsor, sums it up: “Remarkable cars. Fun people. A great Corvette club with lots of new friends. Beautiful weather. Just a stunning view of Corvettes showcased along Woodward Avenue. Simply a great time all around. I can’t wait for next year’s show!”
In addition to 50/50 raffles and 45 door prizes, the North Oaks Corvette Club also raffled off a high-efficiency furnace from Air Repair Heating & Cooling as its top prize.
The Best of Show award was presented to North Oaks Corvette Club members Ray and Sue Miller for the 1959 Corvette Ray has owned since he was 13 years old.
“He wins a lot of trophies with that car,” says Hartlerode. “He’s painted every nut and bolt by himself in his driveway piece by piece. It also sat in a garage for almost 25 years. It’s quite a story.”
The “Birmingham’s Best Car” award went to Allen Brown and his C7 2014 Stingray.
Trophies also were presented in both the stock and modified classes, with two winners from each generation. George Matick Chevy was the trophy sponsor.
“The show organizers did a great job. We love to see the cars come through in the morning and line up. It's a thrill to see them all come in and park one by one in front of the stores. The merchants have told me that they love to see the cars too,” says Heiney. “We absolutely expect the club back next year. Their car show has really enhanced our event and shopper experience. We would love to see it continue and maybe even grow a little in size!
“I also want to recognize Dave Barran," says Heiney, "for bringing the idea to us a few years ago, and Skip Hartlerode and the rest of the North Oaks Corvette Club planning committee and volunteers. They are very organized, and a pleasure to work with.”
Adds Hartlerode: “We enjoyed the support of many sponsors this year, including our club sponsor George Matick Chevrolet. They donated our great looking trophies and their team really knows their stuff about these beautiful cars we love so much.”
(Photos by Robert Brodbeck Photography)