GM team puts their own wheels on parade

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

Royal Oak — Mark Reuss was at the wheel of his “new” 1962 Chevrolet Corvette convertible Wednesday.

The head of global product development for General Motors Co. led a parade of about 150 classics and muscle cars owned by members of the GM design team. The string of cars, with a police escort, drove from the Warren Tech Center to Royal Oak for the seventh annual Design on Woodward Car Show.

Reuss bought the shiny black Corvette about a month ago in Ohio but has spent some quality garage time with it. Last weekend he put in a new generator that he had to configure from a 1958 Corvette.

Wednesday’s cruise to Woodward was his first outing since the work was completed. And how was the drive?

“It was fabulous,” Reuss said at the show of the design team’s personal cars car that’s held in conjunction with the Woodward Dream Cruise at the southwest corner of 13 Mile and Woodward. “Honestly, it was like all that was totally worth it. It ran perfect, no overheating, a tight chassis, great brakes, just wonderful.”

The new head of GM design, Michael Simcoe, was right behind Reuss in the parade, driving a 2017 Corvette Z06 convertible. He followed cautiously. “I was worried about running into the back of Mark’s Corvette,” he joked.

“If you can drive this car the way it’s meant to be driven, it’s a fabulous vehicle. I got to drive in the cruise today, so very, very slow,” Simcoe said. “And I had to get my jollies by just flipping the accelerator in tunnels or things, under bridges.”

Simcoe took over as vice president of global design after Ed Welburn retired. Simcoe has worked for GM Design for more than 30 years and most recently was vice president of GM International Design in Australia and Korea.

Reuss, who also owns a 1963 split-window Corvette and a 1954 Corvette, said his 1962 convertible is pretty rare. Only about 265 were built with fuel injection and the suspension and brake option. The big brakes and competition suspension made it “kind of a Z06 of the time,” he said. The 327-cubic-inch V-8 produces 360 horsepower.

Several Chevrolet Camaros including the pace car from this year’s Indianapolis 500 — a special 50th anniversary Camaro model — were part of the show. Chevy is using the Dream Cruise to celebrate 50 years of the Camaro.

There were also some non-GM makes, at the show, too, including a Ferrari and Ford Mustang.

Come the official Dream Cruise day, Reuss plans to take his new Corvette up to Flint for another car show, Back to the Bricks. But you might spot him out on Woodward later this week: “I try to do it at night.”

mburden@detroitnews.com

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