It’s just minutes before some 100 ‘Vettes will roll out of George Matick Chevrolet and hit the highway, bound for Kentucky.
"Let's roll," shouted Michigan Captain Larry Courtney. With that, the Michigan delegation in the 5th National Corvette Caravan began its multi-day road trip adventure to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky.
Of the thousands of Corvettes from around the United States traveling to the museum today in the National Corvette Caravan, at last 100 departed this morning from the sparkling, newly renovated George Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township, Mich. ‘Vette owners from Michigan, Ontario and beyond converged here with friends, spouses, fellow drivers and others for a hearty send-off breakfast party.
Mark Barton of Orlando, Fla., and Al Stone of Ludington, Mich., longtime friends, get ready to hit the highway in Mark’s beauty.
This 5th National Corvette Caravan celebrates the 20th anniversary of the National Corvette Museum, located near GM's sole Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green. There are some 26 other caravans — totaling about 4,500 Corvettes — from states around the country participating in the big event.
Matick Chevy is a sponsor of the 2014 Michigan Caravan and one of the nation's top Chevy dealers. The colorful kaleidoscope of zippy vehicles ribboned its way out of the dealership and onto I-94 to a gathering point at Caron Chevrolet in Marshall, Mich.
There, the Matick Chevy delegation teamed up with more Corvettes from western and northern Michigan. The northern delegation started at Graff Chevrolet near Flint, Mich.
This combined Michigan Corvette Caravan, more than 160 cars strong, headed out to meet the Indiana contingent in Indianapolis tonight, where the caravan has special events planned at the Indianapolis Speedway tomorrow and at Churchill Downs, Ky., on Thursday. The Corvette owners will get a photograph of their car crossing the speedway's finish line.
Corvette Caravan captain and coordinator Larry Courtney and his wife, Verna, prepare for departure in their U.S. flag-wrapped stunner.
The Michigan, Indiana and West Kentucky Caravan, lead by Captain Larry Courtney of Warren, Mich., will join with the other national caravans on Thursday for three more days (Aug. 28-30) of Corvette-related activities, speakers, competitions and tours at the National Corvette Museum.
Some of the Corvette aficionados at Matick today included Ira and Billie Hill of Southfield. They pulled out in their dark metallic 2002 C5. “The C5 was the model that had increased horsepower,” said Billie. “I believe it’s the best made so far of all the Corvettes; it’s too early to see the results of the C7.”
Meanwhile, Joe Sabelli and Tom Wissing, from America’s Corvette Club, are hitting the highway in a 1964 beauty. Florida’s Mark Barton joined his lifelong friend, Al Stone, formerly of Redford, Mich, and now living in Ludington, Mich. “The last caravan we did together was in 1999,” Mark said, after spending time with local newspaper reporters and photographers.
The pals are driving off in Barton’s second Corvette, which he purchased in 2008, opting for a special “Museum Delivery,” which meant he enjoyed all the bells and whistles when picking up his Velocity Yellow stunner. “They had our names in lights as we drove up to get it,” Mark recalled of the exciting pick-up day in Kentucky at the museum, right across from the plant where it was made. “The museum delivery was I think $500, and it was money well spent.”
Les and Chris Langenderfer of Shelby Township, Mich., also attended, joining folks such as Claudia and Dan Warmus of Sterling Heights, Mich. The Warmuses were more than happy to attend the event in their brand-new C7 that they won in a Corvette Museum raffle on Aug. 14. “We entered for $150 and look what we won,” they said, beaming about their new vehicle. “We were number 503 in a total of 1,500 entrants.”
Claudia and Dan Warmus of Sterling Heights, Mich., won this C7 on Aug. 14 in a Corvette Museum raffle.
Pat Bean, who purchased her spiffy C7 from Matick Chevy, was also excited to get the "show on the road."
Also in attendance was Police Officer Scott Ivey of Redford Township. A former ‘Vette owner (he was crazy about his 1996 Collector’s Edition Sebring Silver ‘Vette), he certainly understood the anticipation swirling about during the event. He joined four other police officers who all helped to usher and escort the lengthy, colorful caravan onto the highway.
"It's a truly fascinating event," said Caravan Captain Courtney. "We've put a lot of time into this and probably started the planning, well, back at least two years ago. We're fortunate to have Matick as a sponsor; they put on a great event."
Courtney had earlier been interviewed by legendary broadcaster and Corvette owner Frank Beckmann for a WJR-AM radio segment about the event.
As the various contingents joined each other, the revving pack grew larger, with anticipation growing by the mile. Check back here through Sunday (8/31) for updates on this exciting and memorable 'Vette adventure.
Fill ‘Er Up: Dozens of drivers fuel up on a great breakfast at Matick Chevrolet before pointing their ‘Vettes in a westerly direction.
The newly renovated Matick Chevy dealership hosted the 2014 Michigan Caravan for breakfast and a happy send-off.
Jessica Paciorek, who works with Chevy enthusiasts from all over, prepares to hand out gifts to Caravan attendees.
They're off! The Matick Chevy staff ensured that participants were well fed and ready to roll!
Photos by Robert Brodbeck Photography.