August 13, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Pilgrimage of Corvettes on Woodward

Bloomfield Hills— Russ Field almost didn’t complete his annual August pilgrimage to Woodward Avenue.

But thanks to some friendly police officers in Albion who helped him with a flat tire on his newly-acquired Corvette, the Minnesota resident got to Metro Detroit just in time to celebrate car culture Wednesday with hundreds of similar-minded people in the run-up to Saturday’s Woodward Dream Cruise.

“It’s just the excitement on Woodward,” said Field, who lives in Farmington, Minn., and just bought his 2010 Corvette Grand Sport a week and a half ago. “It’s like a slow moving car show.”

On Wednesday, the Radisson Hotel in Bloomfield Hills welcomed hundreds of Chevrolet Corvettes from all years, models and body styles for the annual Corvettes on Woodward event.

Organizer Larry Courtney said the flooding across Metro Detroit probably prevented many people from coming out to the event.

By 4 p.m., only about half of the nearly 600 annual attendees were present.

“People are concerned, nervous,” Courtney said. “Some are still having trouble getting out of their houses and people coming in on the expressway aren’t sure which way to go.”

Regardless, plenty of Corvettes made the trip, including one that used to belong to country music superstar Garth Brooks.

When Mike Peters of Linden first saw the 1982 Corvette Crossfire Injection Collector Edition at a celebrity auction in Illinois, he was not a country music fan at all.

“I didn’t know who he was,” said Peters. “I’m a fan now, I tell ya.”

He says he spent “a lot more than the car is worth,” but the avid Corvette fan loves driving it in the summer, and particularly at car cruises.

“This is an everyday car for the summer,” said Linden.

The Corvettes on Woodward event isn’t just about the cars, though.

At 6 p.m., the group formed a caravan and traveled down Woodward to Open Hand Food Pantry to deliver donations.

It’s just one of the activities the Corvette cruisers are partaking in during the lead-up to the Dream Cruise on Saturday.

On Thursday, the Corvette owners will visit the Lingenfelter private car collection in Milford and its new engine build facility.

On Friday, there will be tours of Morley’s chocolate factory in Clinton Township and Stahl Automotive’s private collection in Chesterfield Township.

“It just grows and grows every year,” said Jake Del Rio of Ann Arbor. “The people here, they’re the best.”

Del Rio brought his silver anniversary 1978 Corvette to Bloomfield Hills Wednesday, as well as his 2014 C7 remote-control model Corvette, which he drove through the parking lot, past the life-size models.

“This is probably the only C7 I’ll ever have,” he joked.
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Jake Del Rio of Ann Arbor parks his model C7 Corvette next to the real thing, Wednesday, during the Bloomfield Hills event. / Steve Perez / The Detroit News
Corvettes head south Wednesday on Woodward in the annual event leading up ... (Photos by Steve Perez / The Detroit News)