Vintage Motors News: 2015

This page contains the Home Page of Vintage Motors USA during 2015! It provides a chronological summary of what we did in 2015. Enjoy!

The members of this club really enjoy cars & trucks made in the USA! These include antique, fully restored vehicles as well as modified/hot rods; custom vehicles; and "special interest" vehicles!

Our home page is intended to provide an ongoing chronicle of news, events, and other items of interest to members. In fact we encourage members and others to send items of potential interest to our WebMaster.


VMUSA 2015 Holiday Party was Great!

On December 12, 2015 Vintage Motors held its annual Holiday Gala in South Lyon. We had a sold-out crowd of sixty club members/guests! Roxanne and Mike Fontana, Phyllis Davidovich, Ed & Ellen Danes, and Cheryl Sauer did an outstanding job organizing the party! We also had a very skilled MC: Brian Saylor for the event, and live music by a wonderful artist-- Garvin Freeman.

Henry Rords Mustang  Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

Roxie brings cookies to a packed crowd!


There were a myriad of raffle prizes, and and some super Jitterbug dancing. Steve (Captain Video) was awarded a clapper, and his sister, Denise’s 44th birthday was acknowledged! Last but not least, Core Group Member Bob Haas was awarded the 2015 Dick Monroe Memorial Award by Jim Goff via a phone conversation. (Bob, smarter than us, was in Florida!) Congratulations Bob!

Henry Rords Mustang  Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

Brian acknowledges Denise's birthday & our dancers emerge!

Henry Rords Mustang  Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

Jim presents Bob the Dick Monroe Award with Brian's help. Bob & Lorraine receive the award in a warmer climate! (simulated)

For more photos and a video of the event click here. For a video of VMUSA's 2015 activities click here.

VMUSA Cruises Hines! 

You know your summer is coming to an end when the expiration date on the gallon of milk you just bought reads September and it’s time for the Hines Park Cruise. Sunday, August 23, is a not-to-be-missed day for anyone who enjoys classic vehicles, and VMUSA participated in the 4th annual Cruisin’ Hines picnic with a blast!

Henry Rords Mustang  Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

We had a great spot at Nolar Bend where the early arrivers set up!

Ten times better than Woodward, 2015 didn’t disappoint. Cars began arriving, 10’ x 10’ tents were set up, chairs came out, and food, food and more food arrived! It was time to party. Somehow, we only picked up half of the big tent, but we made the best of it! At 9:00 a.m., traffic flowed in, by 10:30 a.m. traffic was beginning to back up to enter, and the cruisers filled Hines by noon. 

VMUSA hosted about 100 people for lunch, serving hot dogs, fried chicken, wonderful dishes to pass, and lots and lots of deserts! We had beautiful weather, sunshine, shade, breeze, food, and friends. It was a day to cruise for a while, eat for a while, and sit back and relax. The cruising vehicles ranged from high-end restorations and collectibles to unique, some you-never-thought-of, one-of-a-kind vehicles. Not a single new model vehicle could be found; pure heaven for classic car enthusiasts!

Henry Rords Mustang  Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

Roy cooked the dogs & the people ate!


The raffle winners were called and prizes were awarded. Van Nazarian raffled off his services to prepare a custom portrait of your car and Matt Saylor was the winner. Of course, Matt has to finish his custom rat-rod truck, first! 

Henry Rords Mustang  Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

Brian ran the raffle as Deborah waited!


It was a beautiful day, but Mother Nature decided to cut it short. Storms were threatening and it was time to pack up. With all hands helping, the big tent came down, the 10’ x 10’s were packed up, tables, coolers and chairs were put away, and in no time, not a single spoon was left. 
A great success, the 2015 Hines Cruise came to a close. It takes a lot to pull this off and lots of thank you’s need to be said. Many thanks to early birds Mike Fontana, Brian Saylor, and Gene Johnson (who rode in on his bicycle to help set up)! Thank you to Roy Stull and Ellie Wingfield for hauling our stuff; Tim Gregory who gave up his shade tent to cover the desert table; Van Nazarian for donating his services; Roy Stull who gallantly manned the barbecue grill with only one arm; Jerry Mattson who helped with the raffle tickets and to everyone who brought dishes to share. Thank you to all who helped with the set up and the tear down. For more photos of the event and a video click here.


Woodward Dream Cruise 2015: HOT! HOT! HOT!

With private parking, and easy in- and out-access, 27 VMUSA cars with their people, gathered at the famed Woodward Dream Cruise, Saturday, August 15. A grassy lot at Emmanuel Bethel Church provided a perfect home base for a fun day of cruising with friends. Located next to the Woodward Dream Cruise Family Fun Center with free family activities and just steps from the Woodward curb we were set for a great day!

Henry Rords Mustang  Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

The cars lined up in the parking lot & a bevy of happy campers watching the cruise!

Our 10’ x 10’ tents were pitched in the parking lot for lunch with two more on the side of Woodward to watch the cruise. Lawn chairs and tables were set up and members jockeyed for position. VMUSA cruised, parked, and settled back to watch the show.

Mother Nature likes to challenge VMUSA and Saturday was no different. We’ve weathered torrential downpours, freezing cold winds and on Saturday, blazing heat. As Jill Piziali said, Saturday was as hot as our October 2014 picnic was cold!


Henry Rords Mustang  Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

Left: Chris & Debra had a "cool" wedding ceremony! Right: Matt Saylor cruises by in "White Lightning"!

Just before lunch, Chris and Debra McDonald slipped away in their Boss-Hog-style-Cadillac to get “married” (again!) at the drive-thru wedding chapel sponsored by Hagerty. Check out their “wedding” photo in the Hagerty slide show! They received a “wedding certificate” and “wedding cupcakes” and the only thing missing at the “wedding” were the VMUSA club members! For more photos of the Cruise click here.

All that cruising fun makes you mighty hungry! The grill was fired up, hot dogs, chips, pop and water were served and generous VMUSA members shared cookies and fruit. Eye catching vehicles, laughter, smiles and friendship ruled the day. Looks like VMUSA has a new tradition — the Woodward Dream Cruise! For more photos of the event click here.

July 4 Car Show at Presbyterian Village

On July 1 about 20 members of our club brought their vehicles to Presbyterian Village of Michigan in Westland to entertain the residents and their families -- and we suceeded! Denise Rohde, who is the Activities Coordinator there, organized the show and a barbeque for the residents and club members!

Henry Rords Mustang  Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

Activity Coordinator Denise Rohde (L) and the residents were surrounded by classic cars!

Right after the event, Denise sent us a thank you: "Please extend my heartfelt thanks to all the folks who so generously brought their cars to the Cottages at the Presbyterian Village of Westland.  Even today the residents (who usually forget things by the next day) are still talking about it.  It was a HUGE success and we could not have done it without you.  No words can really express how much fun it was for them and their families."  Thanks guys and a big thank you to Mike Fontana for coordinating the Club cars!  Click here to view more photos and a video of the event.


Barn Show: Two by Two

It was a dark and stormy day….. and it was the day of the 29th Wilson Barn show -- June 14, 2015. Nothing could stop die-hard VMUSA members as they came, two by two, in the steady, hard rain, to gather at McDonald’s before entering the show together. Even with all that water, the parade of VMUSA cars is a beautiful sight!

L to R: Breakfast ot McDonald's, our cutest club member, it really did rain!


The rain broke long enough to park, set up the tents and tables, and get the chili on, but rain was pretty much on for the whole day. It would let up for a bit, we’d dry off and it would start again. Today was the day you would find any leaks in your car!

The Road Knights Auto Club has hosted The Wilson Barn show for 29 years. A well-established, popular show, in a good year, the show has had over 600 cars. The barn itself holds the craft show, vendors set up their wares, the swap meet is hopping and food vendors sell their goods. Music rocks from the stage as the local band Men in Black pounds out the jams. This year, the turn out was slim, the band struggled to play between rain bursts, and the swap meet was a soggy mess, but VMUSA made the best of it as members gathered for hot dogs and chili and conversation. 

A tradition at The Wilson Barn show is when the Road Knights ask the crowd for random articles, like a Swiss Army Knife, a paper clip or a car parts receipt. Frank Fundero was ready as he had his pockets stuffed with dozens of random things. Need a button? Need a flashlight? How about a compass? Frank had ‘em! His strategy paid off, as he came out a winner! 

The rain let up for a few minutes and they made a handful of award presentations. VMUSA members Phil Lyon (1936 Ford), Phyllis Davidovich (1964 Ford Delivery) and Frank Fundaro (1936 Ford) won Top 10, but the rain was coming again and it was a race to pack up and head out. However, no one went home empty handed. As the cars were leaving, each driver received an award just because they were brave enough to bring their cars. 

Maybe it was the promise of chili. Maybe it was habit. Maybe it was just dumb, but VMUSA had a good showing of about a dozen cars and two dozen members. In spite of Mother Nature, friendship and laughter ruled. It will never be said, VMUSA is a “wet blanket!” For more photos and a video click here.


Club Members in Recent Gabriel Commercial

Brian and Roy’s ’69 Mach I were the stars in this new Gabriel commercial! Remember: check your shocks and struts after 50,000 miles, visit for details.



Wixom Founders Day Festival

Two dozen VMUSA club cars joined the Wixom Founders Day Festival on May 17, 2015.  Although Barnie wasn’t directing traffic and we didn’t see Opie fishing on the bridge, it didn’t take much to imagine yourself deep in the heart of Maybury RFD. The Wixom Founders Day celebration had an amazing small town feel.

Our banner was proudly displayed & there were many "happy campers"!

Wixom rolled out the red carpet for us as our club was prominently displayed under the beautiful old trees at the historic Gibson House Park in Wixom. They treated us with personalized placards, red, white and blue participant ribbons, hats, pins and free lunch. In return, we showed off our finest, and even had a few surprises. Evidently, Bob and Lorraine Haas changed their last name and have a 1954 Ford Gunliner and Roy Stull brought a 1959 Mustang! 

L to R: Bob's new car! Three cute girls & two Core Group members!

A family-oriented event, there were fire trucks on display, a petting farm, pony rides, and a pie eating contest. The local school children danced, sang and bands played throughout the afternoon.  Barbeque, hot dogs, ice cream, and soda were on the menu, and as Joan Johnson said, we had entertainment, food and it was all free! 

As the afternoon came to a close and everyone began to leave, Cheryl Sauer’s 1929 Model A decided it did not want to run. Take a little bit of crazy, add it to a lot of knowledge and some will say this is the greatest hobby in the world. If you need something, someone can probably help and today was no exception. Out came the trailer and Cheryl became the Wixom Founders Day Trailer Queen. Congratulations Cheryl!

L to R: Phil & Brian seem happy! Where is he taking the goat? Trailer Queen Cheryl!

Next year, we’ll be looking for Andy, Barney, Opie — and maybe Aunt Bee! For more photos click here.



Paul Coleman's Last Cruise


Paul Coleman
September 22, 1943 — May 12, 2015

Paul Coleman passed away on May 12, 2015. Paul fought bravely but, in the end, the leukemia won. On a gloomy, rainy day friends and family gathered to say good bye. There were even a few hearty souls who brought their classics for Paul’s last cruise.  

Active in several car clubs, including VMUSA, Paul was a true car guy through-and-through. From cooking hot dogs to judging car shows, he was always ready to help. He was known as meticulous and spotless with his cars and took great pride in all of them.  He was even spotted using a lint roller on the convertible tops! 

Paul never judged people; never criticized or ridiculed anyone. He appreciated life and appreciated people. If he met you as a stranger, you left as his friend. The proof of that was in the standing room only crowd at the service. He never thought he did anything special, but people who knew him, knew he was a remarkable friend.

Thank you for the smiles, the laughs and the memories. With his passing, we lost a good friend. 

We will miss you, Paul. 


Vintage Motors USA Core Group Meeting

 The VMUSA core group met at the home of Roxanne and Mike Fontana on May 11th . With the passing of Hank Dawson there were many items to discuss. In particular:

- Nick Cervi and Bob Haas were added to the Core Group: Welcome guys!
- Brian Saylor will take over the maintenance of the membership roster that will be an online Google “doc”, available to view by all Core Group Members. He will also send e-mail reminders to members that have not paid their 2015 dues.
- Steve Rohde and Brian Saylor will update the Club e-mail distribution list
- Phil Lyon will set up a “call tree” for all members once the roster is complete
- Roxanne Fontana and Steve Rohde will share the financial responsibility and set up a checking account under the Club name
- The bylaws will be amended to show a limited membership (i.e. 150)

Henry Rords Mustang  Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

Nick Cervi (L) and Bob Haas (R) are great additions to our Core Group team!

A good part of the evening was spent defining our event schedule for the remainder of 2015. The group came up with an exciting set of events shown here!


Hank Dawson’s Last  Cruise


Henry (Hank) Dawson
May 9, 1940 — April 14, 2015

Hank Dawson passed away, suddenly, on April 14, 2015. On Saturday, April 18, Hank Dawson’s family and friends gathered to say a final goodbye. The room was packed as people shared tears, memories, and stories of life with Hank. Known to us as a car lover, he was also a strong family man, who will be missed by all. 

Hank was interested in several hobbies, was an active member in 4 car clubs. and served as a Core Member of VMUSA. We owe Hank a big thank you for much of our club’s fun since he planned and organized many of our outings. A true “car guy” at heart, he always gave us 100% of whatever he had to offer.


Hank's Last Cruise April 18, 2015

Prayers were said, poems were read and memories were shared. People tossed about words like “always busy,” “made people happy — even total strangers,” “loving Grandpa,” and “good friend.” Hank’s passing has left a big hole in our world and he will be sadly missed. 

Hank was never one to miss a good cruise and Saturday was no exception. Club members and friends arrived in their daily drivers and their classics to escort our good friend to the cemetery. Hank would have appreciated the shiney paint and glistening chrome in the sunlight. This was his private car show and cruise, a proper color guard send off and a final good bye. Thank you, Hank, for being in our lives — you will be missed.  (Stay tuned for a Hank Memorial video...)

A Tribute to John Price

“A couple of years ago John brought his 41 Lincoln coupe to the Crosspointe Church Cruise-In at our church car show in Novi. As he pulled into his space several of the guys gathered around to admire the car. One of the guys asked John, ‘start her up, we want to hear it run!’ John’s answer? ‘It IS running!’ There was nobody that could adjust the old Ford valves and make them as quiet as John could,” commented Phil Lyon, recently remarking on John’s passing.

John's beautiful1941 Lincoln-Zephyr 3 window coupe

John loved cars and people. In 2005 when I spoke to him about his beautiful Lincoln he remarked, “I had another project car and I really wasn’t looking for a car to restore at the time, but I found out about the 1941 Lincoln-Zephyr 3 window coupe from Jimmy Stewart in 1989. I hadn’t seen one since I watched them being built through the windows at the Livernois and Warren plant in Detroit.” John did a ground up restoration on the Lincoln that was in rough shape and subsequently found out that there are only 10 of these restored vehicles left in the world! The Lincoln won many trophies, has been on TV, and has been in many prestigious shows including at Meadowbrook, Eyes on the Classics, Ford World Headquarters, and Cobo Hall.

John was born and raised in Detroit. Between 1952 and 1956 he was in the Air Force where he was in maintenance. During that time he married his wife, Mary Elaine, with whom he had five children. Before “retiring” and starting to work at NAPA, John ran his own business, Farmington Hills Auto Parts, for 27 years.

John's shop at NAPA in Plymouth, MI.

John’s fascination with cars dated back to the time he was 6 years old! When he was 17, he got his first car: a 1938 Ford. Since then he owned and restored many cars including a beautiful 1964 Falcon Sprint Convertible.

Phil checks out John's newly restored Sprint in 2007.

When he completed this restoration in 2007 John explained, “I spoke to my son Keith (in 2000) and told him that I’d like to restore another convertible before I checked out. Shortly thereafter Keith found a 1964 Falcon Sprint Convertible for me that looked pretty good – in pictures and at least from thirty feet!” But the car needed a lot of work and was completed in 2007 with the help of his friends Jimmy Stewart, Larry Deck, Roy Stull, and others. John had an amazing wealth of knowledge about antique cars and how to restore/repair them that he so generously shared with other people on a daily basis. He was both knowledgeable and friendly – a true gentleman!

As Phil Lyon so eloquently stated, “John was a master mechanic and such a good friend. We will all miss his broad smile and his strong, sincere handshake.”

Visit to Stahls Automobile Collection: A Great Event for VMUSA Club Members!

When the Stahl museum opened at exactly 11 AM on Saturday, March 7 there were at least 50-60 people in line. I wasn’t sure of how many VMUSA Club Members were in present at that time, but I recognized at least a dozen. There had been an article in one of the Flint papers that announced the Saturday openings, and that brought on the crowd. When I left, around 2 PM, the parking lot was full and both sides of the street out front were lined up with cars. There were many people in attendance!

Henry Rords Mustang  Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

Ed and Don look happy! But Jim must be really hungry.

Since my last visit several weeks ago, changes had taken place. More cars were brought in and some cars seen on my last visit were moved.
John Lauter, the curator, would play the Wurlitzer organ about every hour or so. My understanding is that there are 1300 pipes on this organ which was originally installed in the Wurlitzer home. John also plays the organ at the Redford Theater. One of the automated musical machines was also turned on periodically.

Henry Rords Mustang  Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

John Lauter plays the Wurlitzer.           Anyone for a stagecoach ride?

Ted Stahl’s collection includes more cars that are not at this location due to space limitations. His collection includes automobiles and automated musical machines that are restored to the highest standards.

Henry Rords Mustang Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

The jukebox collection is magnificent! Steve's granddaughters loved the cars too!

The Stahl collection is a sight to see, and well worth the drive time to visit. I will be going again in the near future! More photos and a video can be found here.
(We thank Jerry Mattson for this article and the photos and for organizing this event! )

New Advertisers & Sources Added

The Advertisers and Sources pages have been updated with some new companies. Take a look!


New Event Page Features

Our Coming Events Page now has some links to various Michigan coming events sites!


Core Group Plans 2015 Club Events

On January 13 the VMUSA Car Club’s Core Group met at the home of Art Cervi to plan events for 2015! It was a lively meeting even though the team was very hungry when Jimmy John’s never showed up after 2 hours of waiting! Presumably Mike and Roxanne Fontana had food and warmth as they phoned in from Florida!

Henry Rords Mustang  Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

Phyllis & Steve take notes. Hank looks serious--but is Art crying?

The scope of events planned was very broad ranging from a movie night at Phyllis’s place to a potential overnighter about 200 miles south into Ohio! Our coming events page contains information on the current plan that will undoubtedly evolve. In that regard, please let us know of any additional events or modification to an event that you’d like to see! It should be a GREAT year!

Henry Rords Mustang  Art Cairo & Edsel Ford

Van & Don contemplate while Brian displays Jimmy John's ad! Guess they can't deliver 9 sandwiches!

Henry Rords Mustang

Now Roxie & Mike & Willie had the right idea during the meeting!


Gas Turbine Firebird Video

Each month your webmaster attends a GM Research retiree breakfast. Fred Haustein, another GM retiree who worked on the original GM gas turbine powered Firebirds, and subsequently helped to restore them discusses them in this video. I also had the pleasure of meeting Harvey Ledesma of Kustom Creations in Sterling Heights who was also instrumental in restoring the Firebirds. Kustom does some really first rate custom car work including creating cars for the movies!

GM Gas Turbine Firebird Video