Father-son duo John and Jon Bernardi of Plymouth Township, Mich. are ready to go for the 2014 Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan to the Detroit Grand Prix.
The 2014 Detroit Grand Prix Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan Experience to Belle Isle was a huge success.
Some 75 Corvette owners with their Corvettes wheeled into the dealership's metro Detroit parking lot early this morning, anticipating a day of car fun.
Corvetteblog.com joined the car enthusiasts over breakfast plates of bacon & eggs (and all the accoutrements) as they prepared for speakers, a police-escort to the Grand Prix and a spot in the exclusive Corvette Corral near the track complete with day-long hospitality. We met up with folks like the retired Elvin and Doris Binns of Detroit.
Elvin and Doris Binns of Detroit drove their 2012 metallic black Grand Sport convertible in the Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan.
They pulled up in their 2012 metallic black Grand Sport convertible. “I’ve had a Corvette since 1973, six over the years,” Elvin shared. “The one I’m driving now is over 700 horse.” Elvin, who worked for Chrysler for 41 years, says they couldn’t get tickets last year and made it a point to get them this year for the event that’s all-things-Corvette!
Incidentally, Elvin was driving Corvettes even as a Chrysler employee. “Every now and then I’d drive my ‘Vette to work,” he says. The ‘Vette aficionado worked at Chrysler’s Trenton engine plant. “I was always a performance guy, always up in engineering, seeing what they were doing. When Chrysler stopped with the Hemi and the V-8, they lost me, and I went to Chevy.”
Another fave car over the years was his ’71 Dodge Charger. His passion for cars goes back to his days as a kid. “Even today, I have a wall of dye cast metal cars and models, Matchbook cars … anything to do with performance.”
Enjoying breakfast just a few feet from the Binnses was Dan Watts of Novi, Mich. Dan owns a 2005 and a 1984 model. “I’m the original owner of the ’84,” Dan says, “and it’s got less than 21,000 miles on it.”
On this day, he arrived in his yellow ’05 convertible (matches today’s hat selection well!) with longtime pal Mike Serge (they’ve known each other since kids, growing up just a stone’s throw from George Matick Chevrolet, and even remember the old Topps store that was originally at the Matick location). This is their first Matick Corvette Caravan to the Grand Prix experience.
Dan’s favorite Corvette color over the years is …. “Well,” he says, “that’s a toughie. I guess I’d go with Millennium yellow, like my ’05.” All this ‘Vette talk had Mike cruising down memory lane, too. He owned a ’63 red hardtop. “I sold that and then got a white ’64 coupe,” he recalls. The retired Chrysler employee, who’s always been a car buff, now has a ’68 Chevelle SS 454.
Women, too, came out in, well, droves. Kristen Lingenfelter and her husband, Ken, along with daughter Noelle and her friend, Chelsea, enjoyed the morning, including a slide presentation by Matick-sponsored Corvette racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer of DJ Racing Enterprise in Ortonville. Kristen arrived in her black C7.
“We just put a carbon fiber body kit on it yesterday,” she says. (Ken owns Decatur, Ind.-based Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, which he purchased from his race driver cousin, the former John Lingenfelter.) “I loooove the way the C7 handles on the road,” Kristen says. “I’ve been driving it daily, and I don’t want to put it away.”
Parked near Kristen’s car was a zippy black C5 Z06, owned by Katrina and Trevor Kuester of Macomb, Mich. The Kuesters were attending their first Matick Corvette Caravan. “It’s a cool event,” Trevor says, as he and Katrina prepared to head out to their beauty and get rollin’ on this, one of the most beautiful blue-sky days this spring.
Their car was lined up near John Bernardi and his son Jon’s ‘Vette. “Last year,” recalls Bernardi, Sr. of Plymouth Township, Mich., “we didn’t bring our ‘Vette. This year, we just had to. We’re absolutely looking forward to a spectacular day. You couldn’t order this weather!” Adds his son, “We’re Corvette fans and race fans, what more could we want but a day like today?”