If you love listening to sports car stories, then the annual Corvette Generations Car Show is a great one to attend and talk with 'Vette owners. We heard all kinds of tales, from their first-time Corvette purchases to how they restored some classic beauties.
The midsummer show, traditionally held in downtown Birmingham, relocated to Culver’s while construction took place in Birmingham. (See the 2016 show here.)
“Just say the cars’ waxes were tested today,” joked George Garza about the rain during the North Oaks Club Corvette Generations show.
Show co-chairperson Skip Hartlerode surveyed the number of Corvettes that came out to the show this year, despite rain in the morning and the change of venues.
“We’re pleased with what we have here,” said Hartlerode, who displayed his 2005 Sunset Orange 'Vette he’s nicknamed the Evil Pumpkin. “We have great door prizes, great trophies. Our North Oaks club cars here number 25.”
Drivers took shelter under tents during the first half of the show as rain fell on the parked Corvettes.
“Just say the cars’ waxes were tested today,” joked George Garza.
Rod Grimes of Clinton Township pulled up in his 2003 50th anniversary C5. “It’s my first Corvette,” said the retired Detroit Police officer.
He wanted a Corvette back when he first joined the force in 1978. “But I got married and had a baby,” he said.
Grimes, a member of the Competition Corvette Club of Michigan based in metro Detroit, finally retired and was able to buy that Corvette.
The striking car, a burgundy called Anniversary Red, has become the car Grimes drives to car shows.
“I bought a 2017 Grand Sport and that’s my ‘play’ car,” he said.
He has placed a photo of himself under the hood, and keeps an airbrushed photo of him and the car under the trunk lid. The word, “Sirdeli,” appears on the trunk drawing.
“It’s part of my email address and means ‘So I remember don’t ever lose it,’” he laughed.
People often compliment him on his car. “They say it’s so classy,” he said.
Crystal and Al Andrews of Detroit brought their 2002 Corvette, which they purchased in 2012.
“It’s my husband’s dream car,” said Crystal, standing next to the Electron Blue convertible with a distinctive tan stripe. “He’s wanted a Corvette since he was in high school.”
Asked what she likes about the car, Crystal said, “Everything. The speed, the unique color. We do a lot of shows. We try to do a show every weekend.”
Ray and Sue Miller of Farmington Hills sold T-shirts to attendees. They own two Corvettes, a 1959 and a 2017 Z06. Helping them out were their dogs, Mandy, a Yorkshire terrier, and Rudy, a Maltese and Yorkshire terrier combination.
Dan Monaghan of Lake Orion, a member of the North Oaks Corvette Club for nearly eight years, drove his 2012 red Grand Sport.
“I’ve been helping with the parking and with door prizes,” said Monaghan.
He and his wife, Gloria, also come to Culver’s for classic car night on Tuesdays in the summer. The Matick Chevrolet-sponsored North Oak Corvette Club gathers at the restaurant on Fridays in the summer.
Dan, a retired electrical engineer, loves his Corvette convertible for its “standout” looks.
“We do a lot with the (North Oaks) club,” he said.
Gloria doesn’t drive the car much. “I’m afraid if something happened,” she said while looking around at the club members, each wearing a neon green club shirt. “They’re very protective of their ‘sweethearts,’” she said, laughing.
Heather Pascoe of Oxford and her husband, David, drove their 2015 Crystal Red Corvette to the show.
Heather, the North Oaks club treasurer and a retiree, was busy selling fundraiser tickets to attendees.
“I like our car’s styling and comfort,” she said.
The club, she said, is the ‘nicest group of people, down to earth and we thoroughly enjoy their company.”
Sitting under a lemon-yellow umbrella, Richard Pinke of Allen Park kept an eye on his rare, all-original 1958 Panama Yellow C1 Corvette.
“Every month, Chevrolet writes me a letter asking me to sell it to them,” he said. “They want it back in the worst way.” But he’s not selling.
His father bought him the car new for just over $3,500 when Richard was 22 in 1958.
He took a job with Cadillac after he finished college. “I made $315 a month, big money,” he said.
The award-winning Corvette, which has both a hard and soft top, has only 30,000 miles on it.
“I keep it in the garage between Halloween and mid-May,” said Pinke, now retired. He plans to give the car one day to his daughter, Kimberley.
Pinke said only 224 Corvettes were built in Panama Yellow.
Pete Shilland of Commerce Township likes to show people the name on his 2009 Crystal Red Metallic Callaway Corvette’s license plate.
“When I bought it the salesman said, ‘What name do you want on the plate,’ and I didn’t want anything (referencing speeding) to get police attention so I said, ‘How about Pokey?’ That’s the opposite of what it is.”
Shilland, who owns Top Lube in Commerce, said he has pushed the 700-HP car to 180 mph along one area freeway. The super-charged Callaway Corvette is supposed to do 210 mph, he said. “It’s a racing-type Corvette.”
Ben D’Anna of Yale arrived in his red, white and blue 2004 C5 24-Hour LeMans Commemorative Edition Corvette.
“I’ve had it for four years,” he said. He once owned a 1994 Corvette but had to sell it because his son was heading off to college.
“My favorite is the 1966 Corvette,” he said.
Retired from the pharmaceutical industry, D’Anna, who attached two U.S. flags to his car, likes going to car shows. “I pick out one show a month,” he said.
Jim Fouts of Flint Township happily talked with passersby about his 1980 white Corvette. “I’m the only one who has ever driven it,” he said. “It’s just the way I bought it, except for new tires and a battery.”
Fouts retired from Chevrolet in 1980. “I’d always loved Corvettes so this was my retirement present,” he said.
Fouts sang for Chevrolet and even toured with singer Dinah Shore, known for the famous “See the USA in your Chevrolet” jingle. “She was great,” he said.
When Texan Joe Denham came to the metro area to work with the Detroit Arsenal in the tank automotive division, he trailered his 1971 Corvette to town. The car looked like no other, its exterior a bright green called “Synergy Green.”
“I painted it myself,” said Denham, who lives in Harker Heights. When he bought the car in 2006, it was just a shell and he went to work rehabilitating the Corvette.
“Seventy-five percent of it was built off eBay (purchases),” he said. “Either I do it myself or it doesn’t get done.”
Paul Lemieux of Oxford wound up with his 1959 white Corvette for a pretty low price. His brother bought it in 1960 and after he found another car in 1967, the brother sold it to Paul for a buck.
“It sat outside for a year,” he said. The 'Vette was his regular vehicle back in Lemieux’s younger years.
“I repainted it in 1980,” said the GM retiree.
“It’s kind of rare. I’ll be out driving (with his wife, Cheryl) and you don’t see them on the road anymore.”
He loves the North Oaks club. “It’s a small club and the people are fun to be with.”
Show Trophy Winners
Many exhibitors drove home with a trophy for their Corvette Generations Car Show efforts. Listed below are the winners, city of residence and year of their Corvette. Those in first place are shown first, and then second place.
- Joe Feko, Troy, 1961; Harley Buchanan, Oxford, 1962
- Jack Driver, Commerce Township, 1960. No second place
- Gino Raffin, Rochester Hills, 1967; Tom and Bonnie Bailey, Oxford, 1964
- Andrew and Even Sulich, Birmingham, 1965. No second place
- Dick Molinare, Macomb, 1981; Ray Hoard, Grand Blanc, 1971
- Joe Denham, Harker Heights, Texas, 1971; Jim Schwab, Clinton Township, 1982
- Dale VanWormer, Vassar, 1996; Mark Mullin, Troy, 1993
- Crystal Andrews, Detroit, 2002; Ben D’Anna, Yale, 2004
- Jim Kaleto, West Bloomfield, 2002; Bob McGhee, Commerce Township, 2000
- Mitchell Sparks, West Bloomfield, 2007; Daniel Watts, Novi, 2005
- Tim Mayer, Utica, 2005; Skip Hartlerode, Macomb, 2005
- Tony Allison, Shelby Township, 20014; Bill Theurer, Plymouth, 2016
Chuck Harmon, White Lake, 2016; Fred Andalora, Clarkston, 2015
Matick’s Chevy Choice Award
Gino Raffin, Rochester Hills, 1967
Culver’s Choice Award
Joe Denham, Harker Heights, Texas, 1971
Best of Show Award
Jim Mayer, Utica, 2005
Rain didn't dampen the spirits of those attending this year's fifth annual North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show.
Exhibitors began lining up for this year's North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show, which temporarily moved to Lake Orion this summer while construction was being completed in downtown Birmingham, the show's home site.
Photography by Robert Brodbeck
Posted July 26,2017