Flint Club Hosts Record-Breaking NCCC Meeting; Now Eyes Corvette Crossroads Show In Mackinaw City

Matick Chevy Michigan Corvette Council
More than 200 attended the National Council of Corvette Clubs Michigan Region awards banquet sponsored by the Flint Corvette Club at Matick Chevrolet.  

In 1953, the first Corvettes were manufactured in Flint, Mich., a fact not lost on the Flint Corvette Club.

“Our club motto is ‘Birthplace of the Corvette,’” says Jim Harris, club president.

The club itself originally came together back in 1969.

Harris has been a member since 1973, when his ride was a 1971 red Corvette coupe. Now 74, he owns a 2003 Corvette coupe — and the car color is still red.

“My taste hasn’t changed a lot over the years. Black is beautiful, too, if you have someone else doing the polishing,” he jokes.

The Flint club’s 50 members get together monthly to attend events or just “dine and drive.”

“We do what the members want to do,” Harris says.

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Club member Stu Moore relaxes at last summer's Mackinaw City Corvette Show.

Some of the activities include participation in the Sloan Museum Auto Fair and Back to the Bricks where car lovers gather to park their classics in downtown Flint every August. 

This Aug. 27, hundreds of Corvette lovers — including members of the Flint club — will assemble in northern Michigan's Mackinaw City for the annual Corvette Crossroads Auto Show.

Harris, a retired electrician, and Flint club members helped organizers pull the first show together 27 years ago, he says, because people have a way of finding him because of his long association with Corvettes.

“I’ve gone every year except the one year I had to work,” he says. “It’s a nice place to go with a craft show, shops, and sights to see.”

The club members gather for an annual corn roast, ball games, and bell ringing for the Salvation Army or Super Bowl parties.

Matick Chevy Flint Corvette Club Danny Kellermeyer
A young Corvette lover checks out the Corvette racer driven by Danny Kellermeyer on display at a recent club meeting. Danny is sponsored by Matick Chevy.

The Flint club is also part of the National Council of Corvette Clubs (NCCC) and is sponsored by George Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township, Mich., a leading Corvette dealer and GM’s Chevy Dealer of the Year for 2014 and 2015

When a person joins the Flint club, they are also required to join the NCCC.

Harris, who lives in nearby Lennon, Mich., points out one of the national club activities involve competitive driving, including autocross.

“This year we’ll do our program Aug. 14 at Michigan International Speedway,” Harris says.

Participants line up for autocross, racing against the clock, not each other, on a course defined by plastic cones.

After the Flint club lost its dealership sponsor, one of the members who connected with Matick Chevy suggested calling the big Redford dealership, says Harris.

“It’s worked out great,” Harris says.

Matick Chevy and the Flint club hosted the April 3 regional awards banquet for the NCCC Michigan region. Read that story here.

More than 200 attended from 16 Michigan clubs. That was a record turnout, officials reported.

Funds raised were donated to Veterans Outreach of Southeast Michigan

“It was a good turnout and we recognized people who participate in rallies and shows,” he says.

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Club member Barbara Harris gets ready to lead the parade at the 2015 Mackinaw City Corvette Show, which the club has helped coordinate.

As for Corvettes, Harris has a trunkful of reasons for being a fan.

“They’re fun to drive and I appreciate the way the car handles and the technology that has taken place with the Corvette since the 1960s.”

Harris says he feels youthful behind the wheel.

“You see lot of us old geezers in newer cars,” he says.

The camaraderie connected with Corvette clubs might even affect an owner’s personal life.

Harris met his wife, Barbara, at a national Corvette gathering in the mid-1980s.

“A mutual friend of ours in ‘Corvetteing’ set things up for us to meet,” Harris explains.

Barbara was a Corvette owner and a member of a Toledo area club.

The couple met at a convention in Indiana, and Harris says, “The rest is history.”

The Flint club welcomes new members. “We are open and friendly,” he explains. “And we’re always looking for new people.”

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North Oaks Corvette Club’s Annual ‘Generations’ Show Transforms Birmingham Into Corvette Paradise

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The North Oaks Corvette Generations Show takes over the streets of Birmingham, Mich. on July 23. 

Skip Hartlerode’s neighbor walked over to his house in 2008 with an intriguing invitation. 

“I know a car you would look great in,” the neighbor said. 

Curious, Skip decided to take a look. 

The car turned out to be a 1994 Arctic white Corvette — and the neighbor was right.

Hartlerode bought the ‘Vette, enjoyed it for years and now drives a 2008 pumpkin-orange Corvette.

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Skip Hartlerode's pumpkin-orange Corvette.

That unique car and 120 others will be on display July 23 at the Matick Chevy-sponsored North Oakland Corvette Club’s 4th annual Corvette Generations Car Show in downtown Birmingham, Mich.

The show, free to the public, takes place along a quarter-mile stretch of South Old Woodward in front of the Birmingham 8 Theater and its classic marquee. Several main streets are closed to vehicle traffic during the event.

Skip, a North Oaks Corvette Club member for years, oversees the show with co-chair Sue Miller.

The event, which runs from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, July 23, began six years ago with a group of Corvette owners during Birmingham’s “Day on the Town” event.

Four years ago, the North Oaks Corvette Club committed to attending the show.

During the event, regarded as the city's biggest shopping day of the year, local merchants offer sidewalk sales, music on three stages, restaurant deals and other giveaways. The Birmingham Principal Shopping District sponsors the event.

"Our Day On The Town was a great success again last year and the car show was a big part of the event. Sales at our stores and restaurants were strong throughout the day. It was great to see all of the Corvettes and their owners enjoying the celebration!" says John Heiney, head of the Birmingham Principal Shopping District.

The Corvette classics on display will date back to the 1960s and vehicles from each generation from C1 to C7 should be on display.

“All kinds of things go on that day,” says Skip, a retired Bayer AG employee from Macomb, Mich.

“Our show is entwined with what the (merchants) are doing.”

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The North Oaks Corvette show attracts big crowds during the Birmingham Day On The Town event.

The North Oaks Corvette Club consists of 52 active members. “We’re like a family,” he says.

North Oaks club members have to fulfill club requirements, including having to attend three meetings and come to three of the club’s annual events, such as one of the dinner cruises or Birmingham car show.

The friendly car club members will raise money during the day with more than 50 door prizes. Part of the proceeds go to the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition, a non-profit group that works in drug and alcohol abuse prevention among teens.

Matick Chevy North Oaks Corvette Generations Show 2016 North Oaks Corvette Club members work the registration/information tent.

Skip says many of the car owners, their wives and girlfriends enjoy this outing because they can grab lunch in town and shop for bargains.

“It’s fun for the whole family,” he says.

The car owners vie for best of show trophies, chosen by participants attending the big Birmingham Day on the Town event.

Racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer may have a racing Corvette on site.

“We would like to have even more Corvettes at the show and park them on the next street over,” says Skip.

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The North Oaks Corvette Generations Show will have every generation of Corvettes on display.

That Arctic white Corvette started it all for Skip, who had never owned a Corvette until he bought his 1994 beauty.

“It had a damage title because it had been driven into a lake 15 years before,” he says.

The man Skip purchased the car from worked as a mechanic and bought it “for peanuts,” he explains.

The mechanic tore the car apart over three years, totally revamping the car. He drove it 10 years.

“I offered a ridiculously low amount and he took it.”

“I never had problems with it and won eight or 10 awards with it.”

Then in 2012, Skip placed a “For Sale” sign on his Corvette at a classic car show at Bakers of Milford, Mich.

Minutes later, a man stopped by, looked at the Corvette and bought the car the next day.

But Skip still wanted a Corvette.

“I always wanted a later model,” he says.

“And I didn’t want a car like everybody else’s. Most people have red or yellow Corvettes and I wanted a Daytona sunset orange or atomic orange Corvette.”

He looked online in 2012 and found a 2005 orange Corvette in Ohio. He drove down and bought it.

“Once you have one, you realize what a tremendous value they are for the money,” he says, adding that he has owned all varieties of vehicles in his lifetime, including a BMW.

“When you get one, you feel different. Everybody talks to you. You can go to car shows, and always meet someone who has one. They’re a lot of fun to drive, a great road car. And the C6s and C7s ride like Cadillacs.”

He says his orange ‘Vette is not a “garage queen.”

“My wife and I put 5,000 miles on it in the summer.”

The car even has a personality.

A North Oaks member once joked that the car looked like a big pumpkin and started calling it the “Evil Pumpkin,” Hartlerode recalls.

He decided to work with that image and found a Kentucky-based artist draw a pumpkin on the car’s hood blanket on the underside of the hood.

“The pumpkin has the Corvette logo as its eyes,” he says.

In August, 2014, while taking part in the National Corvette Caravan, a tractor turned into the Pumpkin, tearing up the car – and Skip.

He’s endured several surgeries, he says.

Matick Chevy took possession of the damaged car and fixed it, he says.

“The people there are just wonderful,” the Corvette lover says.

After a year of repairs, both owner and driver were back on the road in June.

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Those attending the show can view the Corvettes up close and talk with their owners.

Skip hopes people will come out to the Birmingham show.

“They'll see pristine Corvettes in all colors,” he says.

Owners will talk about their cars with the passersby, rain or shine.

“It’s a big deal, one of the premier events in the city, and I’m excited for another year of the show,” he says.

Visit the North Oaks Corvette Club's website to register. NOTE: Scroll down the entire page.


All blog photos by Robert Brodbeck.

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There's still time to register for the North Oaks Corvette Generations Car Show.


To view more photos from the 2015 Corvette Generations Car Show, visit the North Oaks Corvette Club's photo page here

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Detroit’s ‘Corvettes On Woodward’ Expects To Double Turnout Next Month With Move To M1 Concourse

Matick Chevy Larry Courtney Corvettes on Woodward Lining Up
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.”

Matick Chevy Larry Courtney Corvette on Woodward Logo

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.

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Larry Courtney and his famous Matick Chevy-flag-wrapped 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.

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 Larry Courtney at the 2015 event.

“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.”

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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 vjnlcsvette@aol.com.Corvettes on Woodward letter 2016 Page 1

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Corvette Driver Danny Kellermeyer Ready To Defend His T1 Racing Title

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Danny Kellermeyer and his Matick Chevy-sponsored Corvette racecar are ready to collect more trophies this season. Photo by Kayleigh Jordan.  

Burning up a racetrack is a way of life for Corvette racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer of Clarkston, Mich.

When he was only 8 years old, Danny would slip away from his family’s farm near Jackson, Mich., to race go-karts at a nearby track.

“I told Dad I was playing,” recalls Danny. “I was winning and hiding my trophies in the cow barn so Dad wouldn't find them.”

When word eventually got around about his skill behind the wheel, Danny ‘fessed up and his father let him race.

The trophies have continued to pile up – from wins at drag races, then stock car showdowns and now in T1 racing.

Last year, Danny won the Waterford Hills Road Racing T1 Championship in Michigan and finished with the highest points in the SCCA T1 class in the Great Lakes Series.

This year, he has already won six of eight races, (and came in second in the other two) in his Matick Chevy-sponsored Corvette, with another 14 races coming up. His next race weekend is June 25-26 at Grattan Raceway.

This season’s early racing featured some wicked weather, but Danny still managed to win at Waterford Hills on May 14-15.

“It was the weekend from hell,” he says. “We were on the grid getting ready to pull out and it was cold and dry. A quarter-mile around, it starts to rain. Then another quarter mile and it starts to sleet — and then another quarter mile and it starts to snow. Officials brought us in because they couldn’t see the sightlines. I don’t own snow tires.

“I’ve never had a race like that, and I don’t want another,” he says.

Danny, a retired General Motors regional field service engineer, will be running his Corvette at the GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Mich., and the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington, Ohio.

His Matick Chevy Corvette is in “top shape,” he says. But as always, Danny leaves nothing to chance, building his own components.

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Danny Kellermeyer enjoys a fun fan base at the Waterford Hills Road Racing track in Michigan.

Danny presumes his DJ Racing team is one of the only crews out there that is self-sufficient.

“I have my own machine shop, and do all my own machine work,” he says.

 The component exceptions, he adds, are roll cages and paint.

His father’s influence figures into Danny’s can-do attitude.

“Dad always said, if you have to hire someone more than once, buy the tools and do it yourself,” he says.

On his schedule this year is the computer design of a new C7 Corvette with a 346-cubic-inch engine. This is the first time he has created components by computer.

“I like the method,” he says. “For me to (physically) swap a camshaft is costly. On the computer, I can hit a key and within five minutes, I will know what new horsepower reading will be.”

Being in a machine shop is familiar when you consider Danny built his first car when he was 12.

He started drag racing when he received his driver’s license at 16.

After he married in 1966, Danny and his wife, Michaelle, had three children. He continued to drag race until 1978. After living for a time near Atlanta, Ga., he moved to Ortonville and has lived there 30 years.

Since the 1980s, Danny estimates he’s driven nearly 46,000 miles on racetracks.

Last year, he set the fastest T1 lap at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Kentucky.

Depending on the race event, he’ll bring along anywhere from one to five cars to each track.

“I take a C5 Corvette that I have as backup,” he says.

Competitors this year come in all makes and models – Viper, Porsche, BMW along with other Corvettes.

At GingerMan Raceway in May, Danny faced off against a Panoz, an American racecar built by a company founded by Daniel Panoz.

“There are not many around,” Danny says.

At Waterford Hills, Danny looks forward to being greeted by his loyal fans.

“It’s neat to have a following. I like the fans and take cars to display and let kids sit in them.”

Danny sounds ready and able to defend his 2015 T1 championship.

 “We’re the guy to chase. Somebody’s got to be on top and I like being there.”

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110-Plus Corvette Owners Enjoy Matick Chevy’s Annual Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience

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Guests attending the Fifth Annual Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan began lining up their cars by 6:30 a.m. on June 4.  

More than 113 ardent Corvette owners and their guests enjoyed an exclusive day of fast cars and racing entertainment during the Fifth Annual Matick Chevrolet Belle Isle Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience on June 4.

Drivers from around Michigan and beyond first fueled up on a scrumptious Saturday morning starter’s breakfast buffet and listened to Corvette presentations in Matick Chevrolet’s huge metro Detroit showroom.

Then they climbed into their Corvettes to caravan to a decked-out Belle Isle in the Detroit River, home of an action-packed weekend of racing. Instead of having to take a shuttle to the racetrack, Matick Caravan drivers parked on the island in a special Corvette Corral located near the track.

Discounted caravan experience tickets — provided by Matick Chevy to each participant — came with reserved grandstand seating at the track’s Turn One, paddock passes to the garages, lunch and refreshments throughout the day at Chevy’s hospitality tent on Belle Isle – and a chance to check out Chevy product displays.

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Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan guests savored a starter's breakfast and heard Corvette presentations before driving to the Detroit Grand Prix excitements on Belle Isle.

Greg Frost, a GM test driver in Hamtramck, chatted with his brother, Monroe Frost, over breakfast at Matick Chevy. Greg from Detroit has attended the Matick Caravan three times before; Monroe, twice.

Greg drives a LT3 Laguna blue 2016 Corvette he bought in September. “I like the look of the car,” he says. “I love cars, all kinds of cars.”

Monroe was looking forward to the end of the racing on Saturday because “they let us do a lap on the track,” he says.

Retired EDS employee Stan Slishinsky of Chesterfield Township drove his 2004 blue C5 to Matick, bringing along his brother-in-law, Jim Etkie of Sterling Heights. “I love all the Corvette people,” says Stan. “And with our Matick Caravan tickets we can park on the island. I’m looking forward to it being a great day.”

Carole Dimitry of Oakland Township chatted with her friend, Pam Liedtke, as they admired the rows of new Corvettes inside the Matick dealership. Carole drives a white 2016 C7 Corvette she bought from Matick Chevy in Redford Township, Mich.

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Almost every generation of these beauties was on display during the Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan on June 4.

“It’s our first time coming to this,” Carole says. “We came with four Corvette owners and we enjoy the camaraderie with the others.”

Pam loves the “comfort” of riding in her pal’s Corvette.  “We just went on a trip in it to upstate New York, and saw the wine country,” she says. “We even had the car’s first oil change in New York.”

Flint Corvette Club member Mary Hall, wearing earrings adorned with tiny Corvette logos, was ready for the day. “I woke up at 4 a.m. to get here,” she says, showing no sign of fatigue.

Olga Strahan of the Flint Corvette Club, which Matick Chevy sponsors, attended the caravan with her husband, Jim. He had talked about his dream car for years, so she purchased one for him. The 2005 silver Corvette was secretively parked inside the family garage. Jim came home and opened the door. “I cried,” he says. So Matick’s Corvette Caravan was a special day for him.

Southgate resident Rose Morey was another newcomer to the Matick Caravan. “My boyfriend Dave Johnson brought us here in a white 2012 Grand Sport Corvette,” she says. Dave races in his spare time, she explains. “I tried it, but I don’t have the need for speed.”

Elvin Binns of Detroit, owner of a torch red 2015 Corvette convertible, calls himself a devoted Corvette fan. “I’ve owned them since 1977,” he says. “I love the handling, performance and look of Corvettes.”

The 6-foot, 1-inch Elvin says he has no problems sliding in and out of the lower profile car. “I’ve developed my own technique,” he says, a smile crossing his face. He planned to enjoy breakfast and then swing back home to pick up his wife, Dee.

Mike Gold, an electrical engineer from Huntington Woods, brought his friend, Mayer Mechlowitz, who works in Detroit’s Eastern Market as a butcher. Gold has two Corvettes – a split window 1963 and red 2015 Corvette, which he drove in the caravan.

Mike revels in his Corvette. “It’s fast, handles great and looks good. It’s comfortable. It’s a fun car and a great car for the money,” he says.

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Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan guests fueled up on an early starter's breakfast spread at the dealership.

As the crowd finished up the buffet of bacon, eggs, fruit, donuts, juice and coffee, John O’Neill of Waterford grabbed bottles of water before heading out to his 2001 Corvette. “I love to see the cars racing in one place with Corvette enthusiasts,” he says. “I come every year with my wife, Shari.”

Ken Lingenfelter, who operates Lingenfelter Performance Engineering in Brighton, greeted familiar faces in the growing crowd. “We build a lot of Corvettes and Camaros,” Ken says. “I love being around Corvette people. And this new Matick Chevy showroom is amazing.”

He invited all to attend “Cars and Coffee,” held every Saturday at his Wixom location, 47451 Avante Drive, until Labor Day. Ken also welcomes all to view his 250-car collection at a June 18 benefit for the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology for $15.

In her stylish cowboy hat, leather jacket and heeled boots, Beverly Ross of Oakland Township listened to the event speakers. Beverly, who drove her red 2008 Corvette convertible to the event, found her friend, Porki Mellado of Rochester, in the crowd. The two are long-time members of the North Oaks Corvette Club, which Matick Chevy sponsors.

“I love the cars and the people at this great Matick event,” says a smiling Porki, owner of a 2001 Corvette. “Matick treats us really nice.”

Beverly says she had been going to another dealer for years but switched to Matick, a drive of 30-plus miles, specifically for the outstanding service.

At that moment, the call came for the Matick Corvette Caravan drivers to head outside to their cars. Porki looked at Beverly with a big grin, adding, “Ladies, start your engines!”

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The 113-plus Corvettes pull out of the lot on their way to the Detroit Grand Prix during the Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan.


Browse more photos from the 2016 Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Caravan Experience below.

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Matick Chevy Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Larry Courtney
Larry Courtney's U.S. Flag wrapped Corvette was a big hit at the Matick Chevy Grand Prix Corvette Caravan.
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Heinricy Prepares His Matick Chevy Sonic For Mid-Ohio Track Races

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Racecar driver John Heinricy, the 2015 B-Spec national champion, looks forward to another great season in his Matick Chevrolet-sponsored Chevy Sonic.  

When GM execs approached then-retired GM engineer John Heinricy four years ago with the proposal of designing a racing kit for Sonic Chevys, he bit.

“I ended up buying a wrecked Sonic and built a race car,” says Heinricy, by then a seasoned racer himself.

That early knowledge paid off last year when the Clarkston resident drove off with the B-Spec championship in his Matick Chevy sponsored Sonic, winning it all at Daytona.

Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) describes B-Specs as race cars as subcompacts that are “fun to drive, fuel efficient  and handle well.”

The class was established to provide regular people with an easier access to racing.

Heinricy, who retired from GM in 2008, has raced since 1984, driving mainly Corvettes, Firebirds and Camaros.

And he still will enter races this year with his Corvette C7 and Camaro.

The Sonic adventure will be unique this year, he says.

“I’ll be defending a championship. It puts a different pressure on you.”

Next up – steering the Matick Chevy Sonic onto the Mid-Ohio Sports Car track for the Great Lakes Race of Champions Majors June 3-5.

Because Heinricy was last year’s champion, race officials have put restrictions on his Sonic.

“They have taken away some power on the intake,” Heinricy says.

“They do it because they want everybody to have a chance.”

Heinricy will face drivers, for example, in Honda Fits, Kia Rios and Ford Fiestas.

He’s just come off a weekend of highs and lows. Heinricy won the May 14 race in his Pontiac Firebird at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex, but in his second race on May 15, the car’s throttle gave him trouble.

“It had started snowing several laps before the end of the race,” he recalls. “I let off the accelerator, but it stayed open. I was going 140 mph and couldn’t stop the car. I went into a tire wall and damaged the car. It’s not fixable so I’m working on another car.”

Heinricy says he was “bruised pretty good,” but is focusing ahead.

“I put it (crashes) out of my mind and go on to the next race,” he says. “I feel just as involved as I always have.”

He has a “good chance” in his Matick Chevy Sonic among the B-Spec competitors at Mid-Ohio.

This is the first of seven races in which he’ll compete this season. The final championship will be held at Mid Ohio.

The summer will also find Heinricy at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. He recently joined the board of directors there.

People who donate to the museum can slide into the passenger seat in their own Corvette to enjoy “hot laps” with Heinricy at the wheel.

Matick Chevrolet, one of the Midwest's largest Corvette dealers, will be donating six hot laps for participants this year.

“I talk to participants and do some driving on the track in participants’ cars. I take them for three laps on the track. It’s very popular.”

Heinricy pushes the cars into the “80 percent” range, he says, so it's a good run, not just a slow roll.

“Pretty hard,” he adds.

Heinricy does admit racing is his “No. 1” activity.

“I love the competition, cars and technical aspects of it,” he says. “My wife and family are incredibly supportive of me.”

How supportive?

“They try to schedule weddings and births around my racing schedule,” he says with a laugh.

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Tickets Going Fast For Matick Chevy’s Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan


Matick Chevy in Michigan offers Corvette enthusiasts a $50-off discount on the regular $200 ticket price — for two — to its 5th Annual Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience.

Only 100 tickets are available. See the flyer below for more details.

To make your reservation, contact Ryan Esler at 313-532-2570 or reseler@matickchevy.com.trt

To see the fun at Matick Chevy's exciting event last year, check out our caravan post and our photo album, which contains two-dozen photos.

The Corvette Caravan Experience begins with a 7:30 a.m. starter's breakfast, performance speakers and more at the dealership before the police-escorted  caravan heads to the Grand Prix racetrack on Belle Isle. It's an impressive location for an action-packed day of racing-related activities.

Matick Chevy recently completed a $9 million LEED-certified renovation of its dealership. It's HOUR Detroit's Best Automotive Dealership for 2015.

Matick Chevy Caravan Flyer 2 2016
Matick Chevy Caravan Flyer 2016
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Racecar Driver Kellermeyer Posts Record Lap Times Twice On Way To Two Championship Titles For 2015

Matick Chevy Kellermeyer At NCM
Danny Kellermeyer set the T1 fastest-lap record at the new National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park this summer. Photo by Jeff Loewe 

Legendary Michigan racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer racked up another amazing season in his #37 yellow C6 Corvette.

In addition to setting track lap records at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park and Mid-Ohio Sports Car race tracks, Kellermeyer repeated as the winner of two titles — the SCCA Great Lakes Championship Series, which includes race results from tracks in five states, and the Waterford Hills Road Racing (WHRRI) Championship series in Michigan.

“The WHRRI Championship was hard fought over the season’s 15 races and it came right down to the last weekend to finalize the points winner,” reports Kellermeyer of the George Matick Chevrolet-sponsored DJ Racing Team. “The Clarkston, Mich., WHRRI is a challenging 14-turn, 1.5-mile road race track that draws a very competitive group of drivers from Canada, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and as far away as New York.

“We experienced exceptional racing this year with great competition from BMWs, Porsches, as well as other Corvettes,” he adds. “Our Matick Chevy Corvette racecar was able to win 10 of the 15 races this summer, which put us on top for the championship.”

Matick Chevy Kellermeyer at Waterford Hills
The Waterford Hills Road Racing championship came down to the last day of racing with Danny Kellermeyer retaining the title. Photo by Mark Windecker

The DJ Racing Team faced challenging competitors at multiple tracks in the SCCA Great Lakes Championship Series.

Kellermeyer competed in the first “door-to-door competition race” at the new National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Kentucky. The 184-acre facility — completed in late 2014 — hosted its first SCCA competition event in June.

The $20-million facility consists of a west and east course and, when combined into the Grand Course, creates an exciting 3.15-mile extremely technical course.

“This new track was on my list of things to do this season, and we were going to tackle the track with vengeances,” Kellermeyer reports. “I love studying new tracks and this one was going to be new to everyone. It was a fun event and I was able to have my family all together at the track. It’s not often I have been able do that.”

The track consisted of three sections where more than 125 mph could be obtained, two of those areas continue into carousels where 95-100 mph are maintained. Add in 23 turns, a LeMans straight, a 30-foot sink hole drop, a 75-mph chicane in the front straight and you have the most technical track anywhere, he says.

“I thought I had the track figured out before I got there, but I found out how wrong I was. I did not calculate for all of those elevation changes. The complete track is rolling except for the front straight,” says Kellermeyer.

His #37 yellow Corvette emerged triumphant, winning both races and setting a new track record each day. “Our Matick Chevy/Corvette Central/Hawk-sponsored performance Corvette will go down in history as the first Corvette to win at NCM Motorsports Park in a competition event,” boasts a happy Kellermeyer. “I set the T1 record the first race and then broke the record by 1.5 seconds in the second race.”

At the Gingerman Raceway in West Michigan, Kellermeyer captured another first-place podium finish as well as top finishes at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. He once again broke the T1 track record on the pro course at Mid-Ohio.

“The track got better the final day and I was able to lower the lap record by more than a second on the final day. I was able to qualify under the record, but we can only set the record during the race. So we worked on the car to get it ready for the race to run another fast lap and it worked.”

Matick Chevy Kellermeyer Waterford Hills Posters
Racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer enjoys meeting with fans, signing posters and talking about his Matick Chevy-sponsored C6. Photo by Jeff Loewe

The DJ Racing Team also managed to support other venues. Highlights of these were the Waterford Hills Road Racing Vintage Race, Corvette Autocross events, shows and displays, and hosting various Corvette clubs with DJ Racing shop tours.

DJ Racing's 29-year-old C4 Corvette was prepped and ran its first vintage races. A podium finish was obtained in all three races, finishing with two second places and a first place. “The older racecar still was impressive as it had been stored in a barn for the past nine years,” he says.

The Flint Corvette Club (Mich.) and Irish Hills Corvette Club teamed up to hold an NCCC autocross event at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) this summer. The event brought in competitors from as far away as Nebraska. The DJ Racing team supported the event with a display of the Matick Chevy-sponsored C6 Corvette racecar, as well as offering free corner weight evaluations of the competitors' cars.

“We set up the scales and scaled a lot of cars,” says Kellermeyer. “Each competitor got a Matick Chevy corner weight sheet documenting their Corvette. I don’t think anyone has ever offered this at an event and we had Corvette owners waiting for their opportunity to drive up on the scales.”

Matick Chevy Kellermeyer Wins At Waterford
Corvette driver Danny Kellermeyer took the checkered flag numerous races this season as he finished with two series championships. Photo by Mark Windecker
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GM Student Intern/Muscle-Car Lover In Awe Of GM’s Heritage Center

Matick Chevy GM Heritage Center 21
A pair of 1963 Corvettes, one a convertible and one with hard top, both with a 327 under the hood.

Guest post by Mitchell Bergslien

Growing up, my dad always took me to local (and not so local) muscle-car shows, which only grew my love and appreciation for American muscle cars —where they came from, why they were important and the heritage that they represented.

Matick Chevy GM Heritage Center 11
GM Intern Mitchell Bergslien.

When muscle cars were hot, it was a simpler time —  it was all about who had the biggest V8 and things like the “radio delete” option, checked off to save weight for your quarter-mile time. One of the most important vehicles, I think, that represents heritage, speed, V8s and pure Detroit Muscle is the Chevrolet Corvette.

As a General Motors intern this summer and muscle-car lover, I (and fellow interns) was given the amazing opportunity to visit the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, Mich. Walking in, the first car you see is a perfect-condition 1956 Chevy pickup, beautiful in black with black wheels and chrome hubcaps — the epitome of what every Chevy truck guy would love to own.

That truck was just the tip of the iceberg in the GM North American Heritage Collection. In addition to a facility full of 600 concept vehicles, rare and classic muscle cars, and experimental vehicles, a very cool part of the museum features archives that contain records of every GM car and truck going back forever.

Matick Chevy GM Heritage Center 6

A visitor could look up, for example, the marketing campaign for the original Corvette from 1953, which is amazing compared to the modern-day marketing for the current C7 Corvette. (Ok, it was cool for me, anyway, considering that I am a marketing major/intern at GM's world headquarters in Detroit this summer.)

After touring all of that, we were invited to the museum’s warehouse. It was GM muscle-car heaven — a dream come true for me to see all these cars in perfect condition, and with such great heritage.

You could see anything from a 1957 Bel-Air or 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS to a 1970 Nova SS or a 1939 Buick Roadmaster. There is a full line of Chevy and GMC trucks from the first Chevy Suburban and 1902 Cadillac. The progression of cars is amazing — it’s exciting to see how far we’ve come.

Matick Chevy GM Heritage Center 3
Here's  the rear view of the beautiful pair, got to love that split window styling! They don’t make them like that anymore.

By far the coolest section was the Corvette line-up, including a perfect Sebring Silver 1963 split-window 327 4-speed with a black interior. Prominently on display next to her is the 1963 convertible 327 4-speed, fashioned in tuxedo black with a gorgeous red interior.

Those two were my personal favorites  — the split window was the coolest thing that Chevy ever designed! Of course, the holy-grail Corvette would have to be the 327 fuel injection, 360 horsepower engine, but beggars can’t be choosers. Still, it’s a beautiful car to look at and it is in good hands! I’m so glad that these cars are preserved and kept as a piece of Chevy history.

Matick Chevy GM Heritage Center 1
Two Mako Shark Corvette concepts – painted with the fade from dark blue to light gray just like the Mako Shark itself.

Right next to those two beauties sat a pair of 1973 C3 Corvettes, one in classic white and the other in pace car spec. It was really cool to see the progression of the Corvette in just 10 years. The biggest surprise is the amount of horsepower coming out of those engines.

In 1963, the 327 made more than 300 horsepower. Fast forward to 1973 through the gas/oil crisis, a Chevy small block 350 can’t even make 200 horsepower. As cool as the 1973 Stingray looked, it just didn’t have the performance to match it.

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A display of Corvette racing memorabilia.

The next generation C6 Corvette was much farther ahead in 2006 — a beautiful car painted in the classic Lemans blue with a black interior. Today’s Corvettes share similar qualities with their older generations, but are still very different, long, low and lean with a big engine.

Matick Chevy GM Heritage Center 8
A C3 interior. Even in today’s C7 you can now get an all-red leather interior, but with much more gadgets and technology.

The most important feature shared was the four circular taillights. Corvette has stayed true to those taillights throughout the years. While other things have changed, including the exterior styling, the interiors and even the Corvette badge, one thing that stayed for a long time was the four round taillights ... until the big change with the C7 generation.

This particular C6 had the 400 horsepower LS2 6.0L V8. One thing I don’t like that all the manufacturers did was switch to liters instead of cubic inches. “Cubic inches” just sounds way cooler than liters, but that’s just me.

Either way, the new Corvette engines are monsters and if they had put this kind of power into a classic ’63 Corvette, it would be beauty-meets-the-beast and it would definitely own the street.

Matick Chevy GM Heritage Center 5 1
Check this mid-engine 1990 Corvette prototype car. Look how low that is to the ground!

On top of all the cool production Corvettes, the museum features a handful of experimental and concept Corvettes that were really cool to see. One that stuck out in particular was the 1961 Mako Shark Corvette. Inspired by the Mako Shark itself, this looker has the 427 V8 and is even painted like a shark —  dark blue on top fading down to a grayish white on the bottom. And of course, it features huge side exhaust pipes.

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C6 Corvette when they were first introduced in 2005. Oh how far they have come with the styling! For better or worse?

Having the opportunity to experience GM’s entire heritage and to see how far the company has come was just amazing. The progression of cars is fantastic and technology is great, but it’s important to know from where you came.

I would love to go again and would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go!

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A prototype Corvette, no motor in this, just a cool concept body that would be amazing if they ever put into production!

Access to the GM Heritage Center is limited to GM internal groups and external organizations seeking a unique and exclusive venue that was designed to create an ideal setting for a variety of events. Information about reserving the venue for a special event, meeting, or group tour can be found here.

Mitchell Bergslien, of Oswego, Ill., is a marketing major at Northern Illinois University who is spending the summer in Detroit as a GM marketing intern working in Dealer Network Planning and Investments.

Posted July 31, 2015

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‘Corvette Mechanics’ Discuss The Care And Feeding Of Your Corvette

Matick Chevy Corvette Mechanics
Corvette Mechanics' Paul Koerner and Brittany George at the Corvettes in the D.

Owners of America’s favorite sportscar were able to pick the brains of Corvette Mechanics' (thecorvettemechanic.com) Paul Koerner and Brittany George during their seminars presented at the third annual “Corvettes in the D” event, which featured hundreds of cars along the Detroit River last month.

In informative forums throughout the day, Koerner (a GM world-class certified technician) and certified technician George discussed Corvette technology, products and care, and answered questions from event participants.

Koerner talked about the recent evolution of Corvette batteries, including absorbent glass-mat technology, lowered weight and reserve capacity. He also answered questions about vehicle storage and battery life.

“It’s always important to give your battery a visual inspection after any extended length of storage,” Koerner said. “Any white powder residue on the battery top is a sign of trouble to come. There is a battery maintenance option, available for about $100, to keep your vehicle battery fully charged in the event you don’t want to disconnect it.”

Audience members participated in an animated discussion of fuels and fuel treatment options. “The best advice I can offer any Corvette owner is to always use a top-tier fuel,” Koerner said. “They keep the engine clean with better detergency, and they improve responsiveness – especially with acceleration.”

He suggested that owners visit the website www.toptiergas.com for more information on fuels.

One Corvette enthusiast asked if a store like Costco, with its fast inventory turnover, would ensure a fresher fuel. “Good point,” Koerner replied. “Yes, the freshness is important to consider.” Another audience member recommended Shell stations as a top-tier fuel supplier.

For those Corvette owners who have not been regular users of top-tier fuel, Koerner suggested the use of Techron Fuel System Treatment PLUS every 3,000 miles.

“Use a 20-ounce bottle to a full tank,” Koerner said, “and please make sure it is the ‘PLUS.’ That is what’s recommended by GM in their general maintenance guidelines, and is good insurance against sulphur contamination. We want to keep carbon deposits as low as possible, even with fuel injection.”

Koerner warned to “never put C-Foam in your fuel tank, as it is not compatible with fuel level sensors.”

Matick Chevy Corvette Mechanic Brittany
 Corvette Mechanics' Brittany George.

George continued with a discussion of tire-pressure monitoring. "With the computerized monitoring, you don't need to use a gauge as often."

An audience member asked if the monitoring was in real time. George explained that “upon ignition, the monitoring does not start in real time. It will actually show the tires’ pressures from the last drive experience. However, after the first few minutes – and after a speed of 15 mph – the system refreshes and is then constantly transmitting.”

George described several conditions in which this monitor could be a valuable safety feature with its ability to forewarn the driver of any air pressure imbalances – especially in racing situations where a blowout could be devastating.

Corvette owners can visit www.thecorvettemechanic.com to find answers on Corvette-specific problems or email Paul and Brittany:

As "Corvettes in the D" spectators left that forum and mingled with the hundreds of Corvettes and their owners, they likely were thinking that, once again, organizers Larry and Verna Courtney, with support of General Motors, Corvette Central, Matick Chevrolet and Michelin Tires, have succeeded with another top-tier event.

Guest report by Honey Murray

Posted July 22, 2015

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