Vintage Motors News

Welcome to the 2017 Activities Page of Vintage Motors USA,  a car club started in the state of Michigan in 2012. To see what we accomplished in the past six years, click on the year that you are interested in: 2012201320142015, 2016, or 2017.

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!

We strive 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.

We encourage members and others to send items of potential interest to our WebMaster.


Christmas Party Scheduled [Our current home page (2018) reports on this super event!]

VMUSA Members or friends who are interested in attending should contact Brian Saylor ASAP!

Hydra-matic History Video Created

Recently Bob Elton & Steve Rohde (Captain Video) created a video about the the technical history of early Hydra-matic transmissions, from the very first 1940 Oldsmobile, through the front wheel drive transmissions of the late 70s. Bob used the transmission display in the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum as a backdrop to illustrate the workings, and the innovations, in these early transmissions. Bob is a member of the SAE Mobility Committee and the founder of the Ann Arbor Rolling Sculptures Car Show.


Fall Color Tour with the Falcon Club October 22, 2017

On October 22 Vintage Motors car club members joined the Falcon Club for a beautiful color tour. As Brian stated: “The weather could not have been better; on the 1-10 scale a... (10)!!!” The tour began in Novi with many Vintage Motors club members joining Falcon club members in South Lyon at the Witch's Hat Brewing Company. They then cruised to the Parshallville Cider Mill in Fenton. The route included Hartland and Parshallville roads and was very picturesque. At the Mill, Cole and Sue joined the party.


L: Bob led the way here! R: Beautiful colors!

Tom Walker’s Grist Mill is a Michigan Historic Site and is commonly known as the Parshallville Cider Mill. It is 136-year-old mill and as such is one of the few remaining water-powered mills in Michigan. This mill also has a rich history as a flour mill known as Success Flour. It eventually became a grist mill, grinding grain for animal feed. These grains are still listed on the mill wall today. Today the cider mill attracts autumn visitors from all over the state. They make a variety of products including cider, spiced donuts, caramel apples, and homemade apple pies.


L: At the Cider Mill. R: The water for the mill.

Club members enjoyed the Cider mill and the color tour even though Brian’s truck began missing about 6 miles from home!
Many thanks to Gene Johnson for setting this tour up and to Angie for taking the photos! More photos can be found here.

Hines Drive Cruise August 27, 2017

We were ready: Gene had loaded his pick-up and trailer a couple of days ahead of cruise day, and Brian had his '68 Ford pickup ready-to-go!


Brian's 1968 pickup was ready to go as the tents were set up.

Cruise morning started out a little chilly and overcast. Upon arrival at Nolar Bend around 7 AM, the Vintage Motors set-up crew discovered an absence of picnic tables and trash cans.  Jumping into the "White Lightening" service truck, Brian & Gene were off in search of tables and cans. But pickings were sparse for some unknown reason, and we ended up with one picnic table and two trash cans! Next the tent set-up began and by 9:00 AM Vintage Motors was ready for the crowd!
Around 8AM, with the event volunteers all in place, the gates opened and in came the regular cruisers.  It didn’t take long until Tom showed up with DJ equipment and got set up with some music. Members from VMUSA and Falcon Club started rolling in, plus a bunch of visitors.  Eventually the sun came out and the day warmed up. Jackets were tossed aside and the cruise was in full-swing. And full-swing it was! 


There were all kinds of vehicles on the cruise!

Brian’s wife, Angie, picked up fried chicken and was on the scene before 11 AM.  Food started coming out from back seats, floorboards, and trunks.  We started the food line at 11:45 AM and what a line it was!  We had over 100 people.  It suddenly got quiet.  Wonder if it was due to everyone with their mouths full?  Seems that everyone enjoyed the food.  There was a minor shortage of side dishes, but I didn’t see anyone go hungry.

Hundreds of cars, streamed up and down Hines Drive --- a far cry from when the idea for this park was envisioned in 1929 by Wayne County Road Commissioner Edward N. Hines. In 1949, the land was donated by Henry Ford and the idea became a reality. 


We had a great location to watch the cruise!

Classic Cruisers were invaded by modern vehicles at about 3:00 pm, when the gates were opened to everybody. Still, the classics were cruising well after 4:00 pm. And many groups stayed much later than that.

All-in-all, this year will go down as one of the better cruise years! Thanks to Brian, Van, and Cheryl for the words & photos, and to Mike & Roxie and Gene.To see more photos and a video, click here.


VMUSA Well Represented at 2017 Woodward Dream Cruise

Arriving at the normally crowded Woodward avenue was great around 9:30am.  Matt and I exited 696 and travelled south to Ferndale.  We passed the Ford displays on 9 mile on both sides of Woodward.  Using the U-turn just south of 9 mile, we headed north.


Arial View of 2017 Woodward Cruise.

It was a great ride from Ferndale up toward Royal Oak.  The tents / chairs / BBQ grills were all scattered -- some still making breakfast.  You can see the density of people grow gradually north of the zoo and the regular “packed house” at 13 mile to 15 mile roads is standard.  Even at 10am, the traffic is already backed up!  We drove up to Pontiac and Widetrack. 

Before we got back down to our parking spot at 13-1/2 mile, we witnessed at least 4 brake torque burnouts and a couple of idiots.  Most everyone else was enjoying and behaving.  Jerry and Roy had set up our tents on Woodward on Thursday evening, so we had our spot!!


We had a great collection of Club cars at the show!

The Guernsey Dairy display in Pioneer Park was handing out Fudge Ripple Ice Cream at no charge.  Good stuff, but small samples!  Bob and Lorraine had the Coke car and the Ford golf carts out and were featured in the newspaper on the SAME DAY (Saturday)!!!  
The Woodward cars transitioned from Classics to modern cruisers around 6pm so we packed it up and called it a day before 7pm.  We had 24 club cars in our reserved spot.  Thanks again to Emmanuel Bethel Church for the best parking during WDC, and the great company to enjoy it with! 



Left: Club members & friends enjoying the Cruise. Right: Bob's ice cream car was featured in the Detroit News!

Story and photos by Brian Saylor. For more photos click here.


Maiden Voyage of My 1924 Studebaker by Steve Rohde

Belonging to a car club like Vintage Motors is great for a variety of reasons. There are the car shows, meeting, and other events that we read about here. Beyond that, however, there is a camaraderie that manifests itself in other ways. One of these ways is the help that we provide each other with our cars.
On August 11 Mike Fontana and Gene Johnson helped me drive my 1924 Studebaker for the first time! I saw the car while with VM at the Barn Show two years ago and have been working on it ever since. It looks stock but has a Mustang 5.0 L engine and an automatic transmission in it. When I got the car it had mechanical brakes. With Mike and Gene's help, we installed an S10 rearend. The car now has hydraulic brakes! Matt Saylor designed the two piece adapters so I could utilize the original wheels and tires. Other club members also helped including Phil Lyon and Art Cervi.


There is still work to do on the car but it's coming along well! For a complete description of our adventure, please click here.


The Ann Arbor 2017 Rolling Sculpture Car Show July 14

Several VM members attended the 23rd annual Rolling Sculpture Car Show. The streets of Ann Arbor were closed as more than 300 exotic, antique, classic, and one-of-a-kind cars are lined the streets of downtown Ann Arbor. The event, which is hosted by Bill Crispin Chevrolet and the Main Street Area Association, ran from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Steve brought his 1926 Model T pickup as shown in the video below.

Stahl Automotive Foundation — A Little Something for Everyone!

It was almost 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 1, 2017; the parking lot was filling; and people began lining up to enter the Stahl Automotive Museum in Chesterfield, Michigan. Inside, waiting for the crowd, was a collection of one-of-a-kind automobiles; musical instruments; a red, white and chrome diner; and odds and ends — a little something for everyone. Ted Stahl has been collecting for over 25 years and has developed a non-profit foundation primarily dedicated to the education and evolution of personal transportation with several side bar items of interest and he was willing to share!


People lined up at Sthahls at 11 AM to get in!

The tour began in the lobby that was filled with early 20th Century collectible, operational automated musical instruments - all controlled by computer. How about a music instrument that played 2 violins? It was played on cruise ships and had to be specially altered to accommodate the roll of the waves. There was a “music box” that played using two enormous brass plates.
It’s amazing to think they were designed and built long before modern engineering knowledge and without computers!


Left: The Mortier Cafe Organ was designed to play background or dance music in Europe in the early 20th century. Right: Invented in 1907, the Hupfeld Company’s ‘violin player’ was one of the marvels revealed at the World’s Fair of 1910 in Brussels and is a combination of a player piano and three violins mounted vertically and played with a rotating circular bow and robotic fingers.

The club wandered through 90 collectible cars, arranged in chronological order around the building, from the 1886 Daimler prototype to the 1960’s, many of them one-of-a-kind. They are traded in and out with another 30 vehicles stored at another location, so there’s always something new. Along with the cars were items from Route 66, a mechanical elephant, musical instruments, and a 1950’s style diner where you can share a moment with The Blues Brothers!



A truly outstanding collection of vehicles!

As we roamed through the building, the very knowledgeable, volunteer staff were readily available to answer our questions and share interesting facts. Terri, the General Manager, has, what some would consider a dream job. Along with working in the midst of this incredible collection, she gets to occasionally drive them! Harvey, a 16-month volunteer, shared the story of Terri’s favorite, the 1930 “Lost Cord.” Jerry, a 4-year volunteer, likes the people the best because they tell wonderful stories and he has learned from the visitors, too. Tim and Vince are also volunteers, as is Harvey’s daughter, Stacey. Listening to them, you know they are a close-knit family that enjoy sharing their passion for the collection with others. Many thanks to the volunteers as they helped to bring the collection to life.



Left: No, it's not ARTVAN: it's Van and Art! Right: Mr. & Mrs Saylor!

There was plenty for VMUSA members to enjoy. From when the volunteers fired up the antique fire truck with flames shooting out of exhaust (step away from the truck!) to the computerized, giant Mortimer music machine: there was something for everyone! It was easy to see why people like GM retiree Vern Lancaster visit so often they could be mistaken for a volunteer. Be sure to check out their website at and on Facebook: It was a great visit for everyone! More photos and a video that we took in 2012 can be found here.


2017 Season Opener Event!

The 2017 season for VMUSA has officially begun! On Saturday, February 11, VMUSA; members of the Motor City Falcon Club; FMRCOA; family and guests gathered in Wixom to tour RM Motorsports and GR Auto Gallery. Grandparents brought grandchildren, parents brought children and friends brought friends to enjoy the day. It was time to get out and dust off the winter blahs.


Mike Fontana introduces our host Bud Bennett who explained the history & activities of RM Motorsports to us.

First stop was RM Motorsports, a high-end, professional restoration and build shop with a special focus on vintage race cars. Bud Bennett and his sons, Craig and Kirt, hosted our group as we toured their 20,000-sq. ft. building designed for custom work, complete restoration, racing preparation and support. Bud has always had a love of racing and shared his interest with his sons. Together they’ve turned their devotion to a hobby into a thriving business.

Our group wandered through million-dollar race cars, prototypes, custom restorations and 100 hp go karts. For an organization that doesn’t advertise and runs primarily on word of mouth references, their facility was filled. Every vehicle had its story, but of special note were the UOP (Universal Oil Products) car and the vehicle body sitting in the paint booth.


Racing is both expensive and dangerous. A while ago, Craig Bennett crashed in the 1000 hp, UOP car. Good thing the shop can repair/create any part for the car as it sustained over $175,000 in damage. Craig, on the other hand, survived $1.2 Million in “repairs” — frightening times for everyone.



Left: UOP race car. Right: RS 2600 Weslake Cologne Capri in paint booth.

The RM paint booth was holding the shell of a RS 2600 Weslake Cologne Capri. This is a very special vehicle because only 12 were made over a 5-year period, and it’s owned by one of our guests, Jon Pastucha. He plans to show her this June in Europe at the Goodwin Festival of Speed. We’ll be watching the internet to see how things go!

From RM Motorsports, we drove around the corner to GR Auto Gallery. GR is a consignment auto dealer with 3 locations in Michigan with one in Wixom. Our hosts, Brendan Blanchard and Eric Flack, opened on Saturday specifically for our group to tour their facility. GR has made selling your vehicle a no-fuss, no-muss operation. With sales of over 1,000 vehicles a year, they are willing to work with both seller and buyer to move your vehicle. All inventory is listed on the internet which gives them access to the entire world market. GR has worked with several of our members, all with positive results. Jerry Mitchell was so impressed with the operation that he left his Avanti to go on the market!



A great selection of cars at GR Auto Gallery!

By now, we had worked up an appetite for lunch and pizza was served. Our raffle was drawn and our lucky winners were Cheryl Sauer, Tony Fundaro, and Bob Scharf. Thank you to Van Nazarian for first introducing us to RM Motorsports and thank you to Mike Fontana for making the day happen. It was a good start to a great year! For more photos and a video of the event, click here.


Don looks hungry and Cheryl wins the 50-50!