Visitors to the 3rd annual “Corvettes in the D” gathering, held along Detroit’s riverfront on Sunday, June 28, were eager to view the stars of the show: seven stunning C5, C6 and C7 Z06 Corvettes.
“This year we featured the Z06 convertible,” said event organizer Larry Courtney, “and subtitled the show ‘Celebrating the Z06 Evolution.’”
The first of the all-star line-up was the velocity-yellow, full-competition 2015 Z06 owned by Royal Oak, Mich. resident Bill Murchison, who was happy to share the high points of owning that car – and his two other ‘Vettes.
“This is as close to a race car that you can have on the street,” he said. “The tires have very little tread and perform miracles on dry pavement – they’re as amazing in the turns as on a straightaway.”
Murchison also pointed out another design feature that looks great, but is, actually, purely functional. “See this feature that looks like a decorative side gill? Its purpose is to cool the transmission, brakes and rear axle.”
Murchison’s stable of Corvettes includes a blue 2009 ZR1 (the most powerful ever made) as well the anniversary edition of the convertible 427 in white with silver-blue stripes.
Standing in the shadows of the GM World Headquarters at the Renaissance Center, Murchison praised the Corvette line: “They give you what they say they’re giving you in a beautiful, totally-drivable, timeless car. More than you’d hoped for!”
And, scanning the aisles of hundreds of Corvettes and their owners, it was easy to feel that you’d arrived at the Emerald City of collectible autos, with organizer Courtney a most devoted wizard at the controls – though not behind any screen.
In the thick of the action, Courtney had several goals: to bring a fun, family event to downtown Detroit that honors and showcases a beloved make of car; to raise money for the Veterans Outreach Project of Southeast Michigan and Operation Care Package of Michigan, two charities that forward all proceeds to the cause of helping our veterans; and to keep Corvette owners updated, connected and able to share their special Corvette stories.
A Detroit News photographer also was on site to take some photos of the action. See those here.
Although Jerry Shoate of Detroit does not own a Z06, he does have stories to share about his “plain, regular, Corvette ’05 C6 series in red.”
“This car is very comfortable,” he said. “Starting with the C5 series, they got more comfortable due to the updated suspension and body style. For example, the C3 is a nice, really collectible car, but it rides a little rough. We just got back from a 3,000-mile trip, and it couldn’t have been a better ride – plus the fuel efficiency was great! Oh, yeah, now that I’ve taken that road trip with my buddy, my wife says I’ve got to take her on one. She loves the ride, too!”
Mahlon Cooks, Shoate’s friend and most recent road trip passenger, interjects and laughs, “Tell them how you dream about your car!”
Cooks brought his black 2014 Stingray with the Z51 package. “This is a wonderful car,” Cooks says. “It’s quicker than my other two Corvettes (a ‘99 convertible and a ’77 L-82), but not as roomy. I do take it on highway trips. My favorite road is I-65 through Kentucky.”
Although not one of the Z06 featured cars, the rare, Panama yellow 1958 C1, owned by Richard Pinke, was definitely a show-stopper with a special story.
“My dad bought me this car for my graduation in 1958 for $3,510 – a whole year’s pay for most!” As an owner of a tool-and-die shop in Panama City, Fla., where Pinke and his family lived, Pinke’s dad could foresee problems in that field.
“My dad said, ‘Go to school and be an engineer.’ So, I moved to Michigan and did just that and worked as a Cadillac prototype engineer,” he recalled.
Pinke’s car, stored in a Florida warehouse until it was brought to Michigan in 2006 with 167 miles on it, was still almost ready-to-go. “I replaced the tires, hose and battery and drained the brake fluid, adding silicone fluid.”
Everything in this gorgeous auto is original – even the straps that appear to be seatbelts. “Of course, these cars did not have seatbelts then,” said Pinke. “We’ve never been exactly sure why, but those are parachute straps with the label of ‘Irving Airchute Co.’”
As Larry Courtney (whose U.S. flag wrapped Corvette is sponsored by Matick Chevy as was the event) walked among the rows of gleaming Corvettes and happily chatting with owners and visitors, glad of the success of another huge event, he thoughtfully shared what really makes the Corvette unique: “The person behind the car.”
Guest post and photos by Honey Murray
Posted July 3, 2015