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.”
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.
“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.
“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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.