Meet John Heinricy, AKA “Heinrocket”


johnWe’d like to introduce you to our partner, John Heinricy, better known as “Heinrocket!” Mr. Heinricy has had a long and distinguished career at General Motors, serving as Assistant Chief Engineer for the Corvette and as Director of the GM Performance Division. John retired from GM in October 2008 and is a noted racecar driver who was recently inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame. John’s relationship with Matick began in 2012, and since then he has represented Matick at various events, including several races where he drove Corvettes and his Matick Chevrolet Sonic. We had a chance to talk with John and get to know a little more about him and his racing experiences.

1. How did you get into racing?

I have been interested in driving fast and at the limit since my early years on our family farm in South Dakota. Once I got to Chevrolet Engineering I pursued work in Vehicle Dynamics and High Performance vehicles. Through this path I was able to become friends with some pretty important names in Corvette racing like Dick Guldstrand and Tommy Morrison. Dick gave me sound advice on how to get started in racing and the need to prove myself from a driving standpoint. I quickly progressed in SCCA Club racing and Tommy Morrison gave me the opportunity to drive with his team of winning Corvettes starting in 1984. It helped immensely that we also had a very famous name in racing engineering, Paul Van Valkenburg working on Tommy’s team. Paul worked with Penske Racing and Mark Donahue in the ‘60s and ‘70s. It also helped that Dave McLellan, Chief Engineer for Corvette, who I worked for at the time was very supportive of my racing activities because he felt that it would help to develop the racing credentials of Corvette as well as be a catalyst for improving the performance of the vehicle.

2. How did you get the nickname, “Heinrocket?”

In 1989 I was racing with Mecum Racing in the IMSA Firehawk series in a Chevrolet Camaro and the SCCA Escort Series with Don Knowles as a co-driver. The Mecum team also had a second car that was driven by Leighton Reese and Mitch Wright (who is currently the General Manager of the new Motorsports track and facility at the National Corvette Museum). There were conflicts in both series and several times I needed to get into the Mecum car with little or no practice and was able to get up to speed very quickly. Leighton Reese is a very funny guy and he used the nickname Heinrocket to describe me and my driving performance in these circumstances. The name stuck and I have since registered it and use it as the name of my engineering and racing business, Heinrocket Inc. 

3. What was your first car?

I had a number of old junker-type cars in high school and college - about 10 of them that just got me through for transportation. The car that I consider my first real car was a 1970 SS396 Chevelle that I bought new from a dealer in Rapid City, South Dakota. I kept this car for several years after I started working for Chevrolet until I was assigned my first company car. I drag raced the Chevelle at a few local tracks.

4. What was your favorite race you’ve competed in?

In the early ‘90s I was racing Corvettes with Tommy Morrison in the World Challenge series. We were racing a Corvette ZR1 in the Mosport 24 hr. race. One of our main competitors was Bakerracing in another ZR1 Corvette. Don Knowles was driving the Bakerracing ZR1. It rained hard throughout the night and the Mosport track had no auxiliary lighting so the conditions were very poor with limited visibility and very little grip on the track. Don and I found ourselves racing against each other in a very close battle for 1st and 2nd places for about two hours in the middle of the night. The experience was very taxing but also very rewarding. 

5. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a child I was very interested in mechanical things, in particular those powered by internal combustion engines. On our farm we did almost all the maintenance and repair work on our farm machinery. I thought that I wanted to be a mechanic but my mother encouraged me to go to college and become an engineer, while assuring me that engineers work on cars!

6. What is the fastest speed you’ve ever reached?

I have driven over 200 mph a number of times, once in a Corvette on the autobahn in Germany and in a modified Corvette on test tracks. I think the fastest is about 220 mph in the Hennessey Venom GT Supercar.

7. How long have you partnered with Matick?

My relationship with Matick Chevrolet started in 2012 while discussing racing Corvettes at the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle. Those discussions continued and my work on the Chevrolet Sonic racing parts package for Chevrolet Racing led me to racing the Sonic in 2014 with Matick Chevy sponsorship. It has been a very successful racing season with 6 wins, 1 second and 1 fifth place finish. I recently purchased a C7 Corvette from Matick and am looking forward to representing Matick in a number of different Corvette activities.

John and Corvette

8. Why do you like working with them?

I have had quite a few interactions with Matick personnel at all levels of the organization parts, service, sales and body shop, including maintaining the transportation needs of my family as well as my racing business. I have always looked forward to these interactions as highlights of my day because the service experience is second to none. The whole facility is a first class Chevrolet dealership that I am proud to be associated with.

9. How many Corvette models have you driven?

My career at GM, racing, and my relationship with Corvette owners worldwide has given me many opportunities to drive virtually every production model of Corvette in its history as well as many prototypes, race cars, and styling Corvettes like the Stingray.

10. Which would you say is your favorite and why?

It is always hard to pick a favorite, but I have come to the realization that it is always the “next” Corvette that is my favorite since each new one is always better than the last one because of improved technology.

11. What do you like best about driving a Corvette?

For me, driving a Corvette is always about the driving experience. The performance is exhilarating and the Corvette gives the driver this feeling of oneness with the machine that is hard to explain. The Corvette is also very easy to have as a daily driver because it is comfortable and roomy enough for travel. One of the best parts is that owning one makes you a part of a very large yet close community of Corvette owners who appreciate owning and driving the Corvette as much as I do.

12. Who are your nemeses out there and why?

I really don’t have what I would call a nemesis, but I guess that the main competitor in each race could be called a nemesis. But, it is only for the moment. Each year at the National Championships there are competitors who should have a good chance of winning, so for the moment, they are the nemeses.

13. Can you tell us about your crew?

My crew changes a lot depending on what team I am driving for, or if it is my own team. Most of the time I am driving for someone else and they provide a crew to maintain the racecar for the race weekend. For my own team with the Matick Chevy Sonic, the workload is fairly light and I am able to do most of the duties myself. For this year’s Championship races I will be driving in two classes and the other team I will drive for will also provide support for the Sonic.

14. What do you do for fun on the road traveling to races? Does your family go along?

My wife has attended most of my races until the last several years because now grandkids are taking up a lot of her time. In the past, though, we often tried to take in the local sites as much as possible, but the responsibilities at the racetrack are pretty encompassing so staying focused on the racing is usually the rule of the day! For me racing is the fun!

15. What equipment have you had worked on at the Matick body shop?

Recently I raced the Matick Chevy Sonic in the Pirelli World Challenge race at the Mid Ohio racetrack in Lexington, Ohio. During the race I had contact with competitors that required body and paint repair. The Matick body shop did a great job of getting the Sonic back into shape for me so that I can focus on preparing the Sonic for the next races.

16. What are some of your best racing memories and worst experiences?

The best memories are usually the wins! But there are specific experiences that are also very memorable. For instance, the opportunity to drive the Callaway GT3 Corvette racecar competitively in Germany and Belgium at some of the most famous tracks in the world. Also, driving the factory C5R Corvette prepared and raced by Pratt and Miller at the Daytona 24 and Sebring 12 hr. races were definitely high points for me. Setting World Speed records in the Corvette ZR1 was also very memorable.
The worst memories were crashes. I’ve raced several hundred races so crashes are inevitable. The saying is that there are only two kinds of drivers, those who have crashed and those who are going to crash. Twice the crash has resulted in trips to the hospital in an ambulance, once in Sonoma, California and the other in Miami, Florida. Fortunately, neither one resulted in serious injuries.

17. Why drive a Sonic vs. some other car/model?

Racing sanctioning organizations like SCCA and Grand Am started classes for the Sonic class of cars due to requests from various manufacturers. I was contracted by Chevrolet Performance to develop a racing package for the Chevrolet Sonic that Chevrolet could sell to Sonic owners who wanted to race the car. While developing the racing parts, took a liking to the class of racing and decided to give it a try. It has been very rewarding in that there’s quite a big difference in driving style compared to high horsepower cars like the Corvette that I am used to. So it has required learning new skills.

18. What do you think about while driving?

Most of the time I am analyzing the performance of the racecar and am trying to adjust my driving to get the most out of the car. This could be for handling/cornering, braking or acceleration. I would be adjusting the location of the apex of the corner or when and how hard I may be able to start accelerating depending on how the race car is performing or when and how hard I might be able to brake. The grip of the tires change a lot during the race so I continually need to adjust my driving to the changing conditions. If I am attempting to pass someone, then I am analyzing the competitor’s actions and am strategizing on when and how I am going to attempt the pass. I may be attempting to keep from getting passed also. Suffice it to say that there is never a dull moment.

John’s racing activities this year have qualified him to enter the SCCA National Runoffs in Monterey, California October 6th through the 12th. He will be competing for the National Championship in his Matick Chevy Sonic and also in a 2002 Pontiac Firebird. John currently holds 12 National Championships in Corvette, Camaros, Firebirds and the Chevrolet Cobalt. And we would love to see him add the Matick Chevy Sonic to the list. John is also planning on participating in the High Performance Driving Experience events at the National Corvette Museum September 26, 27, 28, and 29 with the C7 Corvette.

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Auto News: GM issues 2 recalls, stop-sale orders for 2015 Corvettes

 
2015 Corvette
2015 Corvette

About 2,800 cars being held back for airbag, brake cable problems.

From Automotive News, Sept. 11, 2014.

To visit Automotive News, click here.

By Nick Bunkley

DETROIT -- General Motors is issuing two more recalls, both on the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette, according to stop-delivery orders sent to dealers today (9-11-14).

The recalls, GM’s first in more than a month, bring its total number for the year to 67. They cover problems with airbags and parking brake cables on a total of nearly 2,800 cars, though very few have been sold to customers, a GM spokesman said.

Neither recall has been announced publicly yet, and parts are not available for the airbag repair. They come amid strong sales of the redesigned Corvette Stingray, forcing dealers to turn down potential buyers until the problems are resolved. GM sold 2,679 Corvettes in August vs. 655 during the same month last year.

The airbag recall covers about 2,000 Corvettes, many of which are still at the plant in Bowling Green, Ky. According to the stop-delivery order, the driver’s side airbag in those cars could separate from the steering wheel in a crash, increasing the potential for injuries. Dealers will be instructed to replace the airbag module with a revised version.

The second recall covers about 800 Corvettes, 700 of which are on dealer lots. GM said the cars were “built without one of the rear parking brake cables fully seated and engaged.

That means the parking brake will only operate on one of the rear brake drums, reducing its operational capability and potentially allowing the car to roll away if parked on a steep hill. The defect means the cars would violate federal rollaway-vehicle standards.

Both problems were discovered in recent weeks, the GM spokesman said. They are the first recalls affecting the 2015 Corvette, though four others cover earlier model years of the car.

They come after GM CEO Mary Barra said during a visit to India that the automaker is substantially done issuing recalls on older vehicles as a result of a months-long comprehensive safety review.

GM has recalled more than 29 million vehicles this year, almost single-handedly setting a new one-year record for the auto industry.

The safety review began after GM recalled 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other small cars for faulty ignition switches, a problem tied to at least 13 deaths and 54 crashes.

GM dealers have replaced more than 1 million of the ignition switches as of Sept. 4, according to a GM website with information about the recalls.

Mike Colias contributed to this report.
You can reach Nick Bunkley at nbunkley@crain.com.

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Driver Kellermeyer Competes In Fierce Battles For Two Racing Titles

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer 5
Danny Kellermeyer maintains the lead heading into the turn. 

Our "Danny Boy" of DJ Racing Enterprise in Ortonville, MI, has been zippin' busy these past few weeks.

Buzzing from event to event in his Matick Chevy- and Corvette Central-sponsored racecar 'Vette, driver Danny Kellermeyer has been busy as a bee (and looks like one, too, in his honey-bee yellow shirt and car and always-black pants).

First off:

The C6 Corvette and its driver, Danny, are on target for not only one, but also possibly two championship honors for the 2014-racing season.

With two more Sports Car Club of American (SCCA) races to run, Danny is leading the Touring 1 (T1) SCCA Great Lakes Divisional Championship.

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Car handling and driver skills are what keep Danny Kellermeyer in the running for two T1 titles.

He is also leading the T1 Waterford Hills Road Racing (WHRRI) Championship in Clarkston, MI, which has three races yet to go.

T1 is the ultimate class for production-style cars. These cars do not resemble cars that come off the showroom floor. T1 is the stomping grounds for not only Corvettes, but also Porsches, BMWs, Vipers and other high-horsepower production cars.

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Danny Kellermeyer's #37 Corvette.

Incidentally, this year, Danny’s Corvette was somewhat handicapped with the addition of more weight and an intake restrictor plate in an effort to equalize the class.

“It's a tougher class this year," Danny tells us. “We had a little more power last year that we could rely on, but this year we are equal with the other cars. It has produced tighter and closer racing.

 

At any race, you will see leaders change positions and lots of door-to-door racing. We have been running strong, taking the SCCA championship lead after Mid Ohio and taking the WHRRI points lead."

What's Next?

Danny and his cars will next be on display at the grand reveal of the completely renovated Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township, MI.

There’s an evening VIP event planned for Thursday, Sept. 18, and an open house for everyone from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20. Danny will attend both events and will be on hand all day Saturday to talk about racing and his Corvettes.

“Back To The Bricks” 
The Matick Chevy-Corvette Central-sponsored DJ Racing Enterprise Corvettes do more than race.

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer 4DJ Racing's display at the Back To The Bricks show in Flint.

Driver Danny and his little yellow racers also show up at various auto events.  Recently, the DJ Racing team displayed its racecars at “Back To The Bricks” car show in Flint, MI.

Danny reports that event organizers were happy with their turnout of the thousands of cars on display and an estimated 450,000 spectators.

An event highlight was a "Corvette Reunion," which drew some 800 Corvette lovers and their Corvettes during the same day as the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit.

Danny and his crew enjoyed a prime spot, displaying three of their racing Corvettes along with teammate Tom Janos’s C6 racecar.

A highlight of the display area was the beautiful 1954 black Corvette, owned by General Motors Executive V.P. Mark Reuss.

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Mark Reuss and Danny Kellermeyer talk about Reuss' '54 Corvette.


 “I signed our posters 'til my hand hurt,” shares Danny. “The day started with a 3 a.m. set-up, and we were busy 'til tear-down in the afternoon. These display-and-show days give us the opportunity to talk to a lot of our fans and let them see the Matick Chevy–DJ Racing Corvettes up close."

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer
Back To The Bricks filled downtown Flint with thousands  of cars and fans.

Have you seen Danny in action? Tell us about your experience with Danny and his little yellow wonder!

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While Your Corvette’s in the Shop: Repaint, Replacements, & Repairs

When your Corvette’s involved in an accident or needs major work done, you want to make sure it’s being serviced by a certified technician. Below we will focus on three common areas of collision work: repainting, replacement parts, and repairs. One of the most common procedures performed during auto body repair is repainting, so it’s understandable that one of the most frequent questions from car owners is, “How do shops make sure the new paint matches my car?”

An auto painting technician assigned to your vehicle will use paint codes to match your paint correctly, taking into account common possible variances, such as geographical location and metallic color applications. The technician will also need to take into account any custom paint layouts, color fading, and tinting in order to obtain an exact match. Another thing they’ll need to consider is the longer your paint takes to dry, the darker the color will become as it dries. Using their training and experience, along with spray panel testing procedures, an excellent technician will have your car’s paint looking beautiful in no time.

Another hot topic of auto body repair is part replacement. There are two categories of replacement parts, Aftermarket parts and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) replacements. Aftermarket parts are parts for cars that do not originate from the manufacturer. OEM parts are made by the vehicle's manufacturer and match the parts that came with your vehicle when it rolled off the assembly line.

There are pros and cons to both Aftermarket and OEM parts and one is not necessarily better than the other, which means that you sometimes must deal with reputable repair shops. Although Aftermarket parts tend to be less expensive, the quality of the parts can vary greatly and some are sold without a warranty. When it comes to collision repairs, make sure you are getting OEM parts, since aftermarket body panels may not fit properly or have proper crumple zones for crash safety. With OEM parts, you don't have to worry about assessing the quality of different brands and prices since dealerships usually have one type of part. OEM parts should work exactly like the one you are replacing, but these are typically more expensive.

So which one is better? It depends on what you are replacing and your knowledge and skill with aftermarket parts. If you're familiar with a number of brands or work on your own car, aftermarket parts can save you a lot of money. If you’re not familiar with aftermarket brands and prefer to have everything done at a dealership, then OEM is a good choice for you.

Since its release in 1953, the Corvette’s body has been constructed of fiberglass, and as such, the replacement and repair techniques are far different than traditional stamped sheet-metal panels. There have been different generations of fiberglass used on the Corvettes throughout the years and replacing cracks and holes can be a complex project that often requires taking your Corvette to a body shop. If you have questions about Corvette repairs, replacements, or repainting, contact the experts at George Matick Chevrolet for assistance.

14001 Telegraph Rd (@ I-96) Redford, MI 48239

Sales: (866) 667-5147 Service: (866) 561-0521
http://www.matickchevy.com/ContactUsForm

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While Your Corvette’s in the Shop

It’s a fact that many Corvette owners love to work on their cars. But what if you just don’t have the time or capability? Then you should look for a certified technician to make sure your Corvette is in the best hands. And to make sure all repairs and detailing are accurate, there are some questions you need to ask and common concerns that you need to know about.

Questions to Ask the Mechanic
When you first arrive at dealer you should always ask the mechanic to take a test drive with you to fully explain what is wrong. If your problem affects the exterior including lights or mirrors, then ask them to inspect the car with you present. Once that is complete, you should ask them a few questions such as:

  • What is your warranty on parts and labor?
  • Will I have the option to choose new or used parts?
  • What repairs should I get done for safety? What can wait?
  • What would you do if this were your car?

Minor Repairs and Tune-ups
No car part is made to last forever, but Corvettes tend to have some common occurrences that affect several models.

If your car has been overheating or is leaking green fluid, it is most likely an issue with the water pump. Water pump issues are typical for 1992 – 2007 models. Most water pumps are designed to last 100,000 miles, but it’s not unusual to see leaks at 50,000 miles. Leaks can be caused by a broken seal or cracked connector.

Another common issue with Corvettes is steering. Things often go wrong the control valve or steering column. Of the two, the most common is the steering column and it’s commonality to lock the steering wheel in place. The cause of this issue is the Electronic Column Lock (ECL) failing. It affects pre-2000 A4 and all MN6 or MN12(Z06) cars.

To prevent these issues, as well as others, it is recommended that you keep up with routine maintenance. You can also contact your local Chevy dealer for any additional problems that come up.

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Indy Speedway Laps and Churchill Downs Lunch Highlight Day 2 Of Michigan/Indiana Corvette Caravan

Michigan Corvette Caravan Matic Chevy Indy Track
Michigan/Indiana/West Kentucky Caravan participants take a lap around the Indianapolis Speedway on Wednesday.

"It's been an absolute blast."

Reports from the Michigan/Indiana/West Kentucky Corvette Caravan echoed Mark Madion's enthusiastic response to his two-day adventure driving his Corvette to Bowling Green, Ky.

"Despite driving through monsoon-type rainstorms, and construction zones that seemed to last forever, it's been a blast," says Madion, of Chesterfield Township, Mich. "Arriving at the museum yesterday made the whole trip worthwhile. Check-in lines at the National Corvette Museum could have gone quicker, but it was all worth the wait. Corvettes of every kind are everywhere." 

Michigan Corvette Caravan Matic Chevy Caron Lunch
Michigan Caravan Corvettes begin lining up at Caron Chevy on Tuesday for lunch.

After a Tuesday morning breakfast send-off at Matick Chevrolet in metro Detroit, the Michigan Caravan enjoyed lunch on Tuesday (Aug. 26) at Caron Chevrolet in Marshall, located in south central Michigan.

Michigan Corvette owners from east (departed from Matick Chevy), north (departed from Graf Chevy) and west Michigan converged on the Caron dealership to form the 160-plus Michigan Corvette delegation that would then snake south along I-69 intro Indianapolis, Ind., to meet up with the Indiana delegation.

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Cockpit view: Corvettes take a lap at the Indy Speedway.

Once there, one highlight of the delegation's cruise to Bowling Green were laps around the Indianapolis Speedway. Sixty Corvettes at a time, all from the Michigan/Indiana/West Kentucky Caravan, were able to enjoy early morning sprints around the legendary track and have photos of their cars taken crossing the finish line.

"It doesn't get much better than that for a Corvette owner," said Larry Courtney, a Warren, Mich. resident and captain and coordinator of the Michigan/Indiana/West Kentucky Caravan. His group was one of 26 other caravans from around the country heading to the museum to party this week.

"Our Indy Speedway event was very unique. This is a memory they'll never forget and the photo of their personal Corvette crossing the finishing line with the track background will be a memento they'll talk about for the rest of their lives," added Courtney.

Michigan Corvette Caravan Matic Chevy Churchill Downs
Corvette Caravan enthusiasts enjoyed lunch at Churchill Downs

After the Indy track experience, Courtney's caravan raced to Louisville, Ky., where the 300-plus Corvettes, now the official combined Michigan/Indiana/West Kentucky Caravan, enjoyed lunch at the famed Churchill Downs horse-racing track. Louisville Corvette clubs hosted the luncheon.

Michigan Corvette Caravan Matic Chevy Larry Courtney
Caravan Captain Larry Courtney readied to lead the Corvettes from Churchill Downs to Bowling Green Wednesday afternoon.

The Michigan/Indiana/West Kentucky Caravan "arrived excited and happy," according to Courtney, at the National Corvette Museum Wednesday afternoon. More than 4,500 Corvettes will cover the museum's grounds to help celebrate its 20th anniversary.

"We're a little tired, but thrilled with what's to come over the next several days," said Courtney. "It's a Corvette lover's playground here."

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Corvettes at Churchill Downs.
Michigan Corvette Caravan Matic Chevy Lining Up
Corvette Caravan cars line up to enter the National Corvette Museum celebration complex.
Michigan Corvette Caravan Matic Chevy On the Road
Michigan/Indiana/West Kentucky Corvette Caravan on the road.
Michigan Corvette Caravan Matic Chevy Gift Shop
Finally, owners have time to enjoy activities at the National Corvette Museum.
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Dashboard View: On-The-Road In A C7 With A Corvette Caravan Rookie

Michigan Corvette Caravan Matick Chevy 22
Michigan Corvette Caravan Captain Larry Courtney directs activities at the Marshall, Mich. meeting site.

“It was like watching a huge, colorful snake speeding down the highway.”

That’s how George Matick Chevrolet Owner Karl Zimmermann described the Michigan Corvette Caravan on its first interstate leg Aug. 26 of a multi-day adventure to the National Corvette Museum’s 20th anniversary celebration in Bowling Green, Ky.

Michigan Corvette Caravan Matick Chevy 26
Michigan Caravan participants lined up at the site where east, west and north contingents met Tuesday afternoon (8/26/14).

While most of the 160+ owners in the Michigan Corvette Caravan sport veteran credentials from previous caravans of some type, Zimmermann, whose dealership is in metro Detroit and was a sponsor of the Michigan Caravan kick-off event, was the rookie – both to the caravan experience and driving the new C7 Stingray.

“I’m a driving enthusiast who loves Corvettes and I’ve been on road tracks and ovals at high rates of speed. But I’ve never participated in an extended Corvette caravan like this,” said Zimmermann. “The novelty of this caravan event and my exposure to such Corvette camaraderie is outstanding.”

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Michigan Corvette Caravan enthusiasts headed back to their vehicles.

“The experience was purely wonderful and enjoyable. I’ve now come to better appreciate the friendships that develop during these caravans … and being with fellow Corvette owners who have aspired to enjoy "America’s Sports Car" and being on the open road in them,” he added.

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Michigan Caravan Captain Larry Courtney's U.S.-flag wrapped Corvette.

But Zimmermann made a rookie caravan mistake: running low on fuel.

Michigan Corvette Caravan Matick Chevy Karl Zimmermann
Dealer Karl Zimmermann (right) and Art Sprong.

“The fact is, that despite having a significant allocation of these beautiful new Stingray C7s in our dealership's inventory, this is the first time that I have driven one. To personally participate in the caravan, I drove a new convertible home the day before the caravan was to begin so I could get a feel for the car,” he admitted.


 

“Problem is I didn’t check the gas gauge before I left because I was so excited to be involved in the caravan, especially since our dealership was hosting the send-off breakfast for Caravan Captain Larry Courtney and 100 Corvette owners.”

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Day-Two Update: The Michigan Corvette Caravan readies for photo laps around the Indianapolis Speedway Wednesday morning (8/27/14).

So before he reached the Caron Chevrolet staging area in Marshall, Mich. more than two hours away, where the east (Matick Chevy), west and north (Graff Chevy) Michigan contingents of the Michigan Caravan met up, Zimmermann had to pull off I-94 for gas.

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On the road!

While trying to catch up with the caravan, he ran into highway construction delays and decided to take a different route, passing his alma mater (Albion College) on the way to Marshall. “Another fun part of this adventure was seeing scenic Michigan in an iconic American car on old country roads and cruising by my old college.”

So how does he rate the new Stingray?

“It’s unbelievable. Its capabilities … its refinements, its touch points, its performance … its accommodations in five different driving modes is just exceptional. I enjoyed four of the modes and found them very nice,” he said.

“Plus, I was able to make several business calls along the way. The Bluetooth quality of experience talking hands-free with the top down while driving on the expressway is outstanding. And then the new large-screen navigation system is just fantastic.”

Matick Chevy’s multi-million-dollar renovation added to the excitement for Zimmermann. “Leaving our 13-acre campus all shiny and new as the caravan pulled out was a sight to behold. Everything looked beautiful as Redford Township Police escorted our leader, Larry Courtney, and the caravan onto the highway."

“Looking forward and backwards in my rear-view mirror on the road … wow … what a thrill to see that extended column of Corvettes stretching out in the distance. The more than two-hour ride from Matick Chevy to Caron Chevy gave me time to think about how thankful I am for Corvettes, Chevrolet, our customers and a great staff back at the dealership taking care of business while I’m out here having some fun.”

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Michigan Corvette Caravan members gather for the second-leg meeting for their trip to Indianapolis.

The Caron Chevrolet gathering point for the Michigan Caravan also provided Zimmermann a chance to see Larry Courtney, the Michigan/Indiana/Western Kentucky Caravan captain, in action. “The staging site was exciting and it took more than 10 minutes to get all the Corvettes back on the interstate. I came to appreciate Larry and the affection so many Corvette owners have for this guy. He takes a thankless leadership position in the Corvette community, especially in organizing all these fun events for so many. He does it all so wonderfully and remains pleasant the entire time. Corvette owners just love him.”

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Larry Courtney detailed activities planned for the group's overnight in Indianapolis.

What’s next for Zimmermann?

“I’m looking forward to spending more time in a Corvette … yea the incredible C7s  … and hopefully being involved in a longer caravan in the future. I'm enjoying this special Corvette community more and more!”

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The Michigan Corvette Caravan Winds Its Way To The National Corvette Museum Celebration

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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. 

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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.

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Happy trails to these two from Ontario, rollin’ in a true classic!

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.


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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.


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Ira and Billie Hill sign the commemorative Caravan banner, which will hang at Matick Chevrolet.

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.”

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Matick Chevrolet GM Molly Williams directs the parade of ‘Vettes as they enter parking lot.

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.”

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Les and Chris Langenderfer of Shelby Township wave hello as they arrive for the activities.

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.”

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Claudia and Dan Warmus of Sterling Heights, Mich., won this C7 on Aug. 14 in a Corvette Museum raffle.

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Pat Bean awaits her driver, Stephen Bean.
 
 

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."

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Ladies ‘n Gents … start your engines! 

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.

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Anxious participants can’t wait to get behind the wheel for days of caravan-ing fun!
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Fill ‘Er Up: Dozens of drivers fuel up on a great breakfast at Matick Chevrolet before pointing their ‘Vettes in a westerly direction.
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The newly renovated Matick Chevy dealership hosted the 2014 Michigan Caravan for breakfast and a happy send-off.
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News reporters and photographers await the revving of the engines.
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Jessica Paciorek, who works with Chevy enthusiasts from all over, prepares to hand out gifts to Caravan attendees.
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Corvette lovers get ready for the Caravan send-off.


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They're off! The Matick Chevy staff ensured that participants were well fed and ready to roll!

Photos by Robert Brodbeck Photography.


 

 







 

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America’s Supercar: 2015 Corvette Z06 Starts At $78,995

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The 2015 Corvette Z06 will deliver unprecedented levels of aerodynamic downforce.

From Chevrolet News, Aug. 22, 2014

The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – the most powerful and technologically advanced model in the iconic car’s 62-year history – will be offered at a suggested retail price of $78,995 while the convertible model will start at $83,995, Chevrolet announced today.

2015 Corvette Engine Matick Chevy
2015 Corvette Z06 engine.

“The 2015 Corvette Z06’s performance and technical capabilities place it in the elite fraternity of supercars,” said Harlan Charles, Corvette product and marketing manager. “Very few cars in the world deliver 650 horsepower, true aerodynamic downforce, carbon fiber and performance technologies such as Magnetic Ride Control, Performance Traction Management and an electronic limited slip differential – and none gives the driver a transmission choice or the choice of a coupe with a removable roof panel or a full-power-top convertible.”

Leveraging learnings from the Corvette Racing program, the $2,995 Carbon Fiber Ground Effects package enables the Corvette Z06 to produce true aerodynamic downforce for increased stability at high speeds. The package adds a functional carbon fiber front splitter, carbon fiber rocker panels and a larger rear spoiler.

2015 Corvette Lineup Matick Chevy
For 2015 model year, Chevrolet offers four Corvette models, including the Corvette Stingray coupe and convertible, delivering up to 460 hp and 29 mpg, and the Corvette Z06 coupe and convertible, which deliver at least 625 hp and 635 lb-ft of torque.

For the ultimate performance, the Z07 Performance Package is available for $7,995, adding Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors that improve braking performance and contribute to better handling through reduced unsprung weight. The Z07 package adds adjustable front and rear aerodynamic components to the Carbon Fiber Ground Effects package for unprecedented aerodynamic downforce and Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tires for enhanced grip.

“The Z07 performance package enhances overall performance to make the Corvette Z06 one of the most track-capable cars you can buy off the dealership floor and still drive it to work every day,” said Charles.

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2015 Corvette front view.

Z06 models are offered in 1LZ, 2LZ and 3LZ trims. A range of available features enables customers to tailor the look and feel of their Z06, including:

  • Premium Package with leather-wrapped interior
  • Aero-enhancing carbon fiber ground effects package
  • Performance Data Recorder and navigation
  • Competition sport seats offered in leather or sueded microfiber
  • Carbon fiber interior trim and carbon fiber convertible tonneau cover inserts
  • Visible carbon fiber roof panel (Coupe)
  • Tintcoat exterior colors, several available wheel finishes and several available brake caliper colors.

Most powerful, technologically advanced Corvette ever

The Z06 rejoins the Corvette lineup for 2015 with a stronger aluminum frame than previous models, an aero package designed to produce performance-enhancing downforce and an all-new, supercharged 6.2L V-8 engine rated at an SAE-certified at 650 horsepower (485 kW) and 650 lb-ft of torque (881 Nm).

That makes it the most powerful production car ever from General Motors and one of the most powerful production cars available in the United States.

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An interior view of the 2015 Corvette Z06.

To balance performance and efficiency, the LT4 leverages the same trio of advanced technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray – direct injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and continuously variable valve timing – and leverages them with a new, more efficient supercharger. Combined with the fuel-efficient multi-speed transmissions, aerodynamic design and lightweight construction, they help make the new Z06 surprisingly efficient.

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The 2015 Corvette Z06 console.

The Corvette Z06 also leverages other technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray, including the strategic use of lightweight materials and advanced driver technologies, with calibrations tailored for its capabilities. The aluminum frame structure, for example, is 20 percent stiffer than the previous, fixed-roof Z06.

Additional technologies support the car’s tremendous performance capabilities and enhance the driving experience, including:

  • Third-generation Magnetic Selective Ride Control dampers are standard and can be adjusted for touring comfort or maximum track performance via the standard Driver Mode Selector
  • Performance Traction Management is available in the Track mode of the Drive Mode Selector and offers five settings of torque reduction and brake intervention for track driving
  • Launch control is available in Track mode for manual and automatic transmissions, providing maximum off-the-line acceleration
  • An electronic limited-slip differential, also standard equipment on Z06, adjusts the rate at which the limited slip engages, to balance between steering response and stability in different driving conditions with more aggressive performance in Sport and Track modes.
2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible Matick Chevy
The all-new, 2015 Corvette Z06 will be one of the most capable convertibles on the market, offering at least 625 hp, 0-60 acceleration in under 3.5 seconds, true aerodynamic downforce, and available performance hardware including carbon-ceramic brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires.

The Z06 offers three increasing levels of aerodynamic downforce:

  • The standard Z06 features a front splitter, spats around the front wheel openings, a unique carbon-fiber hood with a larger vent, and an aggressive rear spoiler.
  • The available carbon-fiber aero package – in either carbon flash paint or a visible carbon-fiber finish – adds a carbon-fiber front splitter with aviation-style winglets, carbon fiber rocker panels, and a larger rear spoiler with a fixed wickerbill, which combine to create true aerodynamic downforce
  • The available Z07 package adds larger winglets to the front splitter, along with an adjustable, see-through center section on the rear spoiler for track use. With this package, the Corvette Z06 delivers the most aerodynamic downforce of any production car GM has tested.
  • Drivers can monitor the Z06’s performance without taking their eyes off the road via a standard color head-up display that, among the range of performance readouts, displays a g-meter in Track mode.
2015 Corvette Rear View Matick Chevy
2015 Corvette rear view.

The Z06 also offers the award-winning, industry-first Performance Data Recorder – or PDR – which enables users to record high-definition video, with telemetry overlays, of their driving experiences on and off the track. The racing-derived system is included with the available navigation system.

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“Corvettes On Woodward” Kicks Off Motown’s Woodward Dream Cruise

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Some 400 Corvette owners and friends participated in Corvettes on Woodward.

Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014 — What an awesome day for Corvettes to party in Motown.

Close to 400 Corvette owners and friends participated in the sun-filled 10th annual “Corvettes on Woodward” funfest Aug. 13 that kicked off the massive 20th annual Woodward Dream Cruise in metro Detroit.

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A Corvette cruiser.

“It’s a pretty amazing event” was a common theme the Corvette lovers used to describe two days worth of Corvettes on Woodward activities, which included tours, dinners and other special things to do.

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Corvettes on Woodward's Larry Courtney.

“We have Corvettes from all over … California, New York, Florida, Ohio, Ontario and even one from Hawaii,” said event coordinator Larry Courtney. “This is another great event leading up the Woodward Dream Cruise and then the 5th National Corvette Caravan on Aug. 26.”

Courtney is the captain of the Michigan, Indiana and Western Kentucky caravan, with its delegation of 360 Corvettes, heading to the National Corvette Museum’s 20th anniversary celebration Aug. 28-30 in Bowling Green, Ky.

“I basically started Corvettes on Woodward back in 2004 as a Corvette club event to get more involved in the Woodward Dream Cruise,” he explained. “We switched to only Corvettes, moved to the Radisson Hotel grounds in Bloomfield Hills, and started the Open Hands Food Pantry (based at St. John’s Church in Royal Oak) food drive back in 2006. The first few years we had about 200 Corvettes. Now we’re enjoying Corvettes in the 400 to 500 range.”

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Checking out the Corvettes.

One plus of Corvettes on Woodward is the opportunity to see things you don’t normally see at a Corvette show. “We’re lucky to have such super Corvette players join us,” said Courtney, adding some examples that he likes to highlight:

  • Three decked out and modified Lingenfelter Corvettes and the opportunity to talk first hand with the Lingenfelter staff.
  • Jeff Nowicki and his 2014 Concept 7 Corvette with carbon fiber components, unique new stabilizer bars and a host of other amenities with a $90,000+ price tag. One of these Mobil1 designer cars will be auctioned off at the National Corvette Museum.
  • GM’s Corvette product and marketing manager Harlan Charles, several of his Corvette team members, and three stunning Corvettes. Charles mingled with the crowd, did interviews and answered Corvette questions.
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Harlan Charles from GM's Corvette team mingled with the crowd.

“This is a great event … the food drive, everything,” Charles said. “The Woodward Dream Cruise is exciting for everyone, especially Corvettes. This is our hometown and we’re excited to be part of that. The turnout here for Corvettes on Woodward is fabulous ... just to see all the Corvettes from every generation and year. It’s awesome."

To participate in Corvettes on Woodward, Corvette owners are encouraged to bring a food donation for the Open Hands Food Pantry and pay a $5 admission. George Matick Chevrolet sponsored the food donation truck and, escorted by hundreds of Corvettes, delivered the goods to the food bank.

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Verna Courtney (center) and John Avery, an Open Hands volunteer, load food donations into the Matick Chevy van. 

“This all is now done to support Open Hands. They have 10,000 names on their needs list that they take care of. What really bugs me is that people are hungry. That’s why we do this. The pantry helps people locally,” said Courtney. “We can’t change the world, but we can help change the lives of a few people right here in our hometown.”

Courtney and his wife. Verna, also visit the food bank after the Woodward Dream Cruise to present more food donations and cash, which in the past has totaled in the thousands. The food pantry also is open during the Dream Cruise.

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Corvettes on Woodward attracted every year and generation of Corvette.

Alan Brown “loves the show and has been coming every year.” What makes it special? “It’s great fun with great Corvette friends. The best part is when we get all of these Corvettes revved up and head south along the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise route. I’m driving my 2014 lime rock green C7. They don’t make them any more and they are hard to find.”

Said Bob Stoler: “This is my first time. Never got around to getting here before and now I’m hooked. I’m also going with Larry Courtney on the National Corvette Caravan. I’m taking my C6. Larry puts on a great Corvettes on Woodward event so I’m anxious to see what he does for the caravan.”

Corvettes on Woodward began with a Wednesday morning tour of the GM Heritage Center in Warren and then moved on to the Radisson Hotel in Bloomfield Hills from noon to 7:30 p.m. The Corvettes then escorted the Matick Chevy van filled with food donations to the Open Hands pantry.

Many participants enjoyed dinner at the Moose Preserve before heading out on Thursday for tours of the Lingenfelter Collection in Brighton and the Lingenfelter Engine Build Center in Wixom.

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What's your favorite?

On Friday, Corvettes on Woodward enthusiasts had options to visit the Webber Wildlife Museum, the Katech high-performance engine plant, and Morley Candy Co., all in Clinton Township, and Stahl’s Automotive Foundation in Chesterfield Township.

Other event vendors included Corvette Central, Galli Sports Apparel, EyeCandyWraps, Cruis’ News, Official Woodward Dream Cruise Merchandise, DJ Eric and the Radisson Hotel.

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Corvette enthusiasts get ready to hit Woodward Avenue to do a little cruising.

Standing in front of DJ Eric’s booming speakers, Skip Hartlerode and his wife, Donna, North Oaks Corvette Club members from metro Detroit, said they “like the show because everyone is so friendly and you can talk to anyone. We’re all Corvette enthusiasts and we all love our cars.”

Interjected Donna: “I love looking at all these cars and seeing what owners do with them, from the interiors to the vanity plates. It’s a real relaxed atmosphere. Everyone loves pulling out onto Woodward Avenue from the hotel and racing away.”

“Now if we could only run all those stop lights then it would be even better,” Skip said with a laugh.

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Larry Courtney leads the Corvettes on Woodward parade into early Woodward Dream Cruise traffic.

 

Harlan Charles on Corvettes

Charles attended the Corvettes on Woodward event and talked about what’s happening with the iconic car.

“Things are going great with Corvette. We’ve won the North American Car of the Year and all kinds of awards with the new Stingray … a great sales year with over 37,000 2014 cars built and we’re now getting ready to start with the 2015s … and getting the Z06 ready to go toward the end of the year, a 650 horsepower ultimate Corvette. So it’s been a very exciting time working for Corvette and being a Corvette enthusiast,” he said.

The all-new Z06 is the highest performance Corvette has ever offered at 650 horsepower with special packages. For the first time, Chevy also is offering the seven-speed manual and the eight-speed automatic.

“So it opens up that level of performance for a lot more people,” he added.  Production begins the end of 2014 and vehicles will be in dealer showrooms around spring.

2015 is a big year,” he concluded. “It is the completion of our vision of our 7th generation Corvette line up.”

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Corvettes on Woodward 
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Corvettes on Woodward 
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Corvettes on Woodward escort the Matick Chevy van to the Open Hands Food Pantry.

Photos by Robert Brodbeck Photography
 

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