July 26, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Gratiot Avenue cruise in Roseville showcases pride of cars, owners

Roseville— There’s a simple reason that Frank Debinski’s ultimate classic car is the 1953 Chevrolet Bellaire.

“My grandfather had the same thing,” said the St. Clair Shores resident. “I can remember crawling in the backseat of that car. It’s sentimental.”

On Saturday, Gratiot Avenue in Roseville became a monument to automobiles of the past with the Gratiot Avenue cruise.

It’s the second time the city has actively participated in the cruise. Neighboring Eastpointe held it’s Gratiot cruise earlier this summer, while Clinton Township’s more established event is next Saturday.

It was also a time for pride as owners lined the street to show off their custom work and claim bragging rights.

Chip Olson of Warren is so proud of the improvements he’s made to his 1989 Camaro Z28 that he often brings a mirror to car shows so spectators can see all of his car — even the underside.

“You won’t find anybody else out here that’s more proud than I am,” he said of his classic small block engine ride. “I’ve had it for 28 years.”

Attendance was up drastically from last year’s cruise when the weather was rainy, cold and windy. Under the hot afternoon sun, car lovers cruised and chatted with other enthusiasts, sharing their stories.

Dwight Puls’ love of cars stems back to the vehicles he grew up seeing around him. That’s why he chose the 1971 El Camino and the 1973 Challenger.

“It’s the looks,” the Frasier resident said. “I graduated in ’72 and that was the prime time for these cars.”

Puls is an avid cruiser and participates in all of the Gratiot cruises, but he says he hopes one day they can be combined, like the Woodward Dream Cruise that is scheduled for August 16.

“If Woodward can go from Eight Mile to Pontiac, there’s enough room to do it here,” he said. “Then you’d be getting cars from all over.”

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A 1969 Pontiac GTO convertible heads south on Gratiot on Saturday during the second annual Roseville Gratiot Cruise in Roseville. / Steve Perez / The Detroit News