They’re off to the Detroit Grand Prix with the Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan. The sixth annual event drew more than 125 Corvette owners for a day packed with a starter’s breakfast, Corvette camaraderie, racing fun and more.
Corvette owners and their passengers packed the big showroom at Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township on June 3 for Matick’s sixth annual Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience.
The more than 250 attendees arrived at the dealership, picked up their special discounted Corvette Corral tickets for Belle Isle race day and enjoyed a hearty breakfast, courtesy of Matick Chevy, a 2016 Chevy Dealer of the Year. Some had set the alarm as early as 4:30 a.m. in order to make it in time to join the early-morning caravan's 20-mile trek to Detroit.
Darryl Thomas of Detroit walked into the Matick showroom around 7 a.m. with date Lamerra Hobbs of Ferndale.
A Plante & Moran employee, Lamerra says this was her first time attending.
Darryl, a retired building engineer, was a veteran of Matick’s Corvette Caravan Experience, attending all but one of the six annual events. “ I like the Corvette camaraderie,” he says.
Matick Chevy Sales Director Paul Zimmermann shared details of the day with the more than 250 people attending the Grand Prix Corvette Caravan bash.
Muhammad Abdur-Rahman, a contractor from Flint, arrived in his 1999 black Corvette. He purchased his Corvette beauty on eBay from a seller in Chicago. "It was shipped to me,” he says. “I was up all night waiting for it.”
Muhammad ordered the car last year.
“It’s comfortable for a sports car,” he says. “Sounds good, looks good.”
He was ready to get the day started. “I’m here to experience everything,” he says.
Ericka Kocian had just finished breakfast with her father, Gary Kocian, both of Redford.
Gary lives a block away from the dealership at Telegraph Road & I-96, and grew up in the neighborhood.
A barber by trade, he admitted to always having a thing for Corvettes. “I’ve been into cars my whole life.” He showed photographs of his five special classic cars, including an award-winning 1968 AMC AMX muscle car.
Ericka, who works for 1-800-4Blinds as a customer service representative in Southfield, says her father is “always working on a car.”
Maybe being a car buff runs in the family? Ericka looked over at the new Corvettes on display in the showroom and dropped a hint. “I like that gray one with the blue stripe,” she shared.
Canada was well represented at the event. A dozen members of the Windsor Corvette Club signed up for the caravan.
Dave Hitchcock, a retired Chevy dealer, drove to Redford in a 2014 yellow Corvette convertible with his daughter, Jessica.
“I always had Corvettes,” he says. “The one before this was orange.”
He reminisced about driving across the U.S. in his ‘Vette on Route 66 in 2013 over 28 days. “We met people from all over the world,” Dave recalls.
Jessica didn’t make that journey, but was looking forward to going to Belle Isle.
“It’s a day with dad,” she says.
What a great event at which to check out more than 125 Corvettes, all lined up and ready to caravan to the Belle Isle Grand Prix.
Ed Jones from Windsor, and a friend of the Hitchcocks, tucked his 2014 Laguna Blue Corvette convertible, his sixth Corvette, into the dealership parking lot lined with 125 other Corvettes.
The Windsor club’s event coordinator, Ed has been to Belle Isle several times, but this was his first venture out with the Matick caravan.
Ed brought his son, Derek Jones, who works as an information technology director.
The Canadians got up at 4:30 a.m.to make sure they had time to get through customs.
Ed says: “This (caravan) is really neat. We all have a common interest, common bond. It’s fun to get together.”
Retiree Mary Sagat, wearing a shirt with the words, Indy 500, in sparkly lettering, sat with the Windsor group next to her husband, Steve. The couple owns the actual 2008 Corvette Indy Pace Car.
Mary explained the Sagats were on a mission to get more Grand Prix drivers to sign the car’s fuel rail cover. “I’m excited,” she says.
Windsor residents Gary McGuinness, an OEM sales representative, and his wife, and Jenny McGuinness, a school board employee, own the actual black-and-silver 1978 Indy Pace Car.
“It’s been in the family since it was bought new in Ypsilanti,” Gary says.
Jenny notes, “You take care of things and they last.”
Janice Payne, a court reporter, and her husband, Roy, of Southfield, drove their gunmetal gray 2016 Z06 Corvette to Matick Chevy.
This Corvette-loving couple is on their fourth ‘Vette.
“Corvettes are exciting to drive. I love the car,” Janice says.
“When we caravan, it’s like we’re in another world. I feel like I’m in a special group.”
Fred Edwards of Farmington, who drives a black 2014 C7, was on a date with Arnita Murray of Detroit.
The retired GM designer acquired his first Corvette in 1991.
He said he is drawn to the car not only for its performance, but because the styling is great, “especially now. It has a futuristic reach,” he says.
Lucille Thomas of Southfield was wearing her black “Vette Girl” T-shirt.
Her husband, Dennis, drives a 2014 black Stingray convertible.
“I like the people,” says Dennis, of the crowd. “There is no difference where you come from (among Corvette lovers).”
Matick Chevy-sponsored Corvette racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer and Matick Dealer Karl Zimmermann discuss Danny's upcoming racing schedule.
Matick Chevy had several key managers at the event, including GM Molly Williams, Sales Director Paul Zimmermann and Dealer Karl Zimmermann.
“This gathering is a wonderful opportunity to share fellowship with amazing friends. In the Corvette, we have GM’s most technologically advanced product,” says Karl Zimmermann, the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Chevy Dealer of the Year.
“This caravan allows Matick to connect with community, car culture, our employees and customers.”
Over at an all-male table, Jim Hagglund of Brighton was sitting with his nephew, Dave Pohlod. Pohlod of Livonia was Hagglund’s passenger.
Hagglund drives a black 2003 Z06 Corvette. “All totally original,” he says.
“I’ve always been into cars.”
Women also arrived together with friends. As Matick employees requested people head out to their vehicles, Connie Esposito of Fenton – a member of the Flint Corvette Club – moved quickly through the crowd.
“I brought my friend Marilyn Epps,” says Connie, who drove her 2002 silver Z06.
Gary Kramer of Shelby Township and his brother, Jeff Kramer, of Macomb Township, were among the guests.
Both own Corvettes: Gary drives a 2001 red Corvette and Jeff, a 1993 ruby red Corvette.
Gary was teamed up with his friend, Dave Taylor, of Washington. Jeff invited his pal, Dave Corbin, of Sterling Heights.
“It’s fun getting together with friends and meeting new people,” says Jeff.
Gary agreed. “This is a nice relaxed event, the food is awesome and people friendly. Well put together.”