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Cruisin’ Downriver 2014 bigger and better than ever

Brian Wolff's 1977 Monte Carlo has had just three owners in nearly 40 years, and the odometer shows only 48,000 miles.
Brian Wolff's 1977 Monte Carlo has had just three owners in nearly 40 years, and the odometer shows only 48,000 miles.
Kenneth R. Shepherd, all rights reserved

The 15th annual Cruisin’ Downriver attracted classic car lovers from all around the country. An estimated 300,000 enthusiasts lined Fort Street from Lincoln Park to Riverview to watch classic cars, kit cars, and customized street vehicles cruise the six-mile stretch.

Dick Law bought his Ford Fairlane 500 convertible new in the 1950s and has owned it ever since.
Kenneth R. Shepherd, all rights reserved

With Fort Street construction completed, the city of Riverview was included once again in the event, adding about two miles to the cruise. In fact Riverview served as the starting and ending point of Cruisin’ Downriver for the first time. The weather was sunny and beautiful, and spectators gathered early in the day to get prime viewing spots.

The event was opened by the mayors of the hosting Downriver communities--Thomas Karnes of Lincoln Park, Joseph Kuspa of Southgate, Tim Durand of Riverview, and Joseph Peterson of Wyandotte. Police flashed their lights and sounded their sirens to herald the start of the event.

The Roam’n Chariots Downriver car club was in fine fettle at its usual spot in front of the Southgate Meijer store. According to member Tina Hoch, Roam’n Chariots is the largest Downriver car club and one of the largest such clubs in Michigan. Founded in 1992, the club helps car buffs combine their love for their cars and their passion for raising money for charity.

Roam’n Chariots member Brian Wolff brought his 1977 Monte Carlo to the cruise. The car was originally sold at Murray Chevrolet in Trenton in 1977 by a Southgate resident and has stayed in Southgate. Vickie Crawford of Lincoln Park arrived behind the wheel of her 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle SS convertible. Dick Law bought his 1957 Ford Fairlane convertible new when he was 18 years old and has owned it ever since.

Richard Pinke restored a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette that had spent 36 years outdoors in a field. He received help from General Motors, who remade the car’s entire frame. “In this town,” the GM people told Pinke, “body work doesn’t mean plastic surgery.”

The quality of the restoration, customization, and maintenance lavished on these cars by their owners reflects the love these car buffs have for these Detroit classics. For photos and more about these classic cars, please see the slide show.