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.
“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.
“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.”
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Photos by Robert Brodbeck Photography