Rain keeps crowds low for dueling Gratiot cruises
Eastpointe — An unexpected steady drizzle Saturday morning kept crowds low during two dueling classic car cruises, but there were enough hot rods to whet the appetites of the gear heads who showed up.
The unrelated events in adjoining cities, Eastpointe's Cruisin' Gratiot and the Roseville Gratiot Cruise, drew a handful of people, who sat along Gratiot on lawn chairs. Some brought tents; others, fooled by weather reports that rain wasn't imminent, got soaked.
"The weather man got us," said Ralph Capobianco of Warren, whose church, St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church on Gratiot raised funds by charging $5 for spots in its parking lot, which was mostly empty.
"We need a little sunshine," Capobianco said. "Hopefully it'll stop raining soon, and more people will come out."
Bob and Jan McKenzie of St. Clair Shoes found a spot beneath a tree to seek shelter from the rain.
The couple brought their yellow 1995 Corvette to show off, but kept their 1984 Camaro at home.
"That one's not rain friendly," Bob McKenzie said. "It's a race car — it's got no wipers, no nothing. I got caught in the rain once with that car, and had to drive 5 mph."
The weather report also fooled Denise Wadsworth and her husband Woody, also from St. Clair Shores.
"They said it wasn't supposed to rain; that's why we came out," she said.
As his wife lamented the weather, Woody Wadsworth was busy wiping the water off his 1969 AMC AMX, which was painted in an official color known as Big Bad Orange.
"It's a rare car; there were only 284 made in Big Bad Orange," he said. "The most rare is Big Bad Blue; they only made 184 of those.
"I fell in love with this car the first time I saw it," Woody Wadsworth said. "(The owner) said it wasn't for sale. Finally, he put it up for sale, and the next day, I had it."
Despite the rain, the parking lot at D&P Auto Service in Roseville was full of hot rods, some dating back to the 1930s.
"Anything that's got four wheels and an engine trips my trigger," said owner Dave Kupinski, who owns a 1972 Dodge Challenger.
Kupinski, who has souped up cars for several Detroit Lions, including tight end Brandon Pettigrew's 1972 Barracuda, said he's involved in several classic cruises.
"There are literally dozens of them," he said. "If you've got a hot rod, you can find one nearly every night."
Capobianco said he doesn't own a classic car.
"I have a bike (a 1981 Honda CVX)," he said. Glancing at the gray sky, he added: "Glad I didn't bring it today."