How about intimacy – a love affair, perhaps? – Among our readers and their featured cars? These are cars that go beyond the daily commute or take the kids to soccer practice.
Recently, JN featured stories related to Detroit’s auto culture. It’s a ethos that’s been prevalent in Motor City for over a century. Simply put, Detroiters love their cars and everything that goes with them.
We’ve written about “Car Guy’s Car Guy,” car magazine editor Eddie Alterman, and about car rides including the Woodward Dream Cruise. But as the North American International Auto Show begins on September 17th in Detroit, we thought there was another story to be written about it. How about intimacy – a love affair, perhaps? – Among our readers and their featured cars? These are cars that go beyond the daily commute or take the kids to soccer practice. Here are some examples.
love on wheels
Live in West Bloomfield, Steve and Diane Lee Chet and his son Mike is another “love on wheels” story.
Steve and Dean have been married for 48 years and have two cars of their own: a 1970 Volkswagen Karmann Gia Convertible and a 1994 Jaguar XJS Coupe. A very rare Jaguar, it is one of 19 1994 XJS Coupes imported to North America with an original five-speed manual transmission. . But their love story centers around Karmann Ghia.
Diane and I met in 1970 in Oak Park to Wayne State University in carpools. I had always wanted a Jaguar XKE Convertible (“Type E”), which I thought was a nice car, but in 1972 we couldn’t buy a Jaguar. So, Dianne bought a used bright orange 1970 VW Karmann Ghia Convertible. We drove it in the winter, and it started to rust, so it was sold.
Steve continued, “In 1996, when we could buy a nice Jaguar XKE, we decided to get another 1970 Karmann Ghia convertible, because that was our car when we were kids.”
“Both cars were shown at Woodward Dream Cruise this year; however, my absolute favorite place to drive (cruise) with both cars, surprisingly, is everywhere that people routinely go to in their daily errands. People who don’t know us at all, who They usually don’t tell us anything, they come to ask about cars, in the parking lots, etc., and have conversations about our classic car. It’s really fun to drive a classic sports car in the summer!”
Donna and Sheldon Klein live in Birmingham and have two daughters. Donna doesn’t have a picture of her “cool” car, but she does have a “cool” story to tell. “I no longer have my own car,” she said, “but it changed my life.”
“I was 17 years old in 1973, in the suburbs of Chicago, doing college planning. I was proud and happy to be accepted into my dream school, Kalamazoo College.
“My parents were very excited about me. However, they got serious and did the math. They were shocked to see how much Kalamazoo College was more expensive than a public university. They sat me down with their budget and told me they couldn’t afford it.”
“I thought my life was over…until a phone call the following week. I won the jackpot off a 50 cent lottery ticket! A brand new car, one of my old full-size station wagons, is a lot of fuel, to say the least.”
“My parents were now open to negotiation,” she continued. “I suggested that we sell it for the approximate market price of $4,600, which would cover an entire year of tuition and room and board. They agreed. I started K College in the fall of 1974, I met my Sheldon husband there. I graduated in 1978 and ended up here in Detroit.”
It looks like the old, basic, big Doona station wagon was really a private car.
Scott and Debra Silver live in Beverly Hills and have three children, Randall, Eric and Sarah, and they will soon have four grandchildren. A silver 2022 Corvette convertible with the Performance Package calls its garage home, but the Vette is a family affair.
How Scott got his Corvette This is an interesting story. “I picked it up with my son Eric at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green,” he said. “My friend Brian Baker was on his first day as director of collections and education at the museum, and he handed me the keys to my new car. My son Eric and I drove back to Detroit after a very short stop on Bourbon Road.”
Scott and his family have taken a Corvette on a Dream Cruise, but “his favorite cruise is with my wife, Debbie, going to Dairy Deluxe in Woodward and 14 Mile Road. The car stands out in all the memories of the events I’ve shared with family and friends and all the new events to make” .
Ari and Julie Katz and their daughters, Sadie and Libby, live in West Bloomfield with their 1978 Datsun 280Z “Black Pearl”. This is rare. To determine whether Americans would buy black sports cars, Nissan produced about 1,200 Black Pearl 280Zs, which were only sold in the United States.
But this particular Datsun 280Z is Ari’s special.
“My dad, Steve Katz, bought the new Z in June 1978 from Leo Adler Datsun in Farmington Hills,” he said. “My parents met later that year – an arrangement between mutual friends. My dad was very protective of his car, but when he met my mom, Joanne, he immediately asked her if she wanted to drive it… Their friends knew it was ‘the girl’.
“Growing up, the car was like another family member – always there, in
“The garage,” Ari continued. “My dad taught me how to wash and care for it, and even how to drive a manual transmission. When my dad passed away from ALS in 2003, I received a Z and continued to keep it in the same condition he left it. Now I share the same passion for the car with my kids.
“I love driving a Z on curved tree-lined roads, especially in the fall when the trees are in full color, causing the leaves to rustle on the ground behind the car,” he said.
Nikki Barron does not own a car, but she wrote us about her grandfather. “My grandfather, Donald Barron, owns three cruisers and the Allards [a hand-made English car], but Corvettes are special for our family. He has 64, 69 and 2000 (maybe 2002, I don’t remember). The ’69’ was his first car and he’s owned it since 1970. For a long time, it was the car he drives every day, he even drove my grandmother to the hospital in it before my dad was born!
“Every summer we grew up, we would take a ride in his Corvette and take an annual photo with my grandfather in front of one of his cruisers,” she said. “He drove his first car everywhere to auto reviews, including the Dream Cruise in 2019.”
Robert and Andrea Stoller have two daughters, Elizabeth and Lindsey, a grandson and a brand new baby – the Corvette 2023. Apparently, they didn’t want the 2017 Corvette to feel lonely in the garage.
How did your love affair with the iconic Chevrolet Corvette begin? “When I was going to Wayne State in the late ’60s, I worked for Oldsmobile and would be delivering new cars all day,” Steve said. “I was driving 442’s, Toronados and other Oldsmobiles. Really had a great job. By the time I was ready to get my first car, it was a Corvette.
“I’ve always loved cars,” he added. “I fondly remember that one Sunday my parents took me to the General Motors Building on West Grand Boulevard when I was 13, and I sat in a new Corvette. It has been an affair with a Corvette ever since.”
Stoler’ Vettes are unique. “My 2017 Admiral Blue Corvette Convertible has a ZO6 and Z07 package,” he said. “This is a racing car. The 2023 Corvette is a gray ceramic matrix and has a front lift that raises the front of the car when going up and down the lanes so you don’t skimp on the front end of the car.
“I drive to various auto shows during the summer, and was on a Woodward Dream Cruise this year. I also started collecting memorabilia when I was 18.” (For a glimpse into some of Robert’s collections, see the sidebar in his Auto Museum garage.)
James and Stacey Silver live in Troy with their son and daughter Jordan and Sloan Silver. They have a “1969 Camaro Convertible with Factory Air!”
This is a special car for James because “This is what I bought after closing my first big real estate deal. I was 22 years old so I’ve owned the car for over two decades. Not much has changed with the Camaro since I bought it. I’ve tried to leave it as original as possible.”
“My favorite spot on a cruise with my Camaro is Woodward Avenue, especially at night, during the week before my Woodward Dream Cruise,” he added.
There are garages. Next, there are garages that go beyond just sheltering family vehicles, along with bikes, lawn mowers, and/or snowblowers. In this regard, Robert Stoller’s garage can be classified as a small car museum. Instead of brooms or lawn trimmers, his garage walls are filled with auto memorabilia like road signs, antique license plates, and auto service and product signs. There’s also an old gas pump among his car’s treasures. Oh, and just to put something else in his garage, Stoler also has two Chevrolet Corvettes.
antique plate truck
Rachel Monahan writes about a vintage plate truck restoration project that is itself an act of love. “My grandfather is Melt Winger. My husband, Tim, and I tracked down my great-grandfather’s grocery cart. It’s a 1950 Chevy Panel Van that my grandfather, now 96, used to drive to deliver merchandise to his father Bill’s grocery store when he was younger.” (See William Davidson’s Digital Archive of Detroit Jewish History for 1940s ads for Bill Winger Fine Food Store on Seven Mile Road.)
“We’re working on getting the truck back to the way it was in the 1950s,” she said. “Grandfather was very happy to see him again! However, he was upset that he no longer had the family name on it. We promised to repaint it in the original color with the same writing it had before for ‘Weinger’.”
The most intriguing part of this story is how Rachel and Tim played detectives as Sherlock Holmes to track down the truck. Rachel tells the story: “The abandoned truck was found in a field and ended up in the hands of a guy in Indiana. This guy texted my grandfather about the truck a few decades ago.
“When my husband and I heard about this a few years ago, we tracked down this guy, hoping he still owned the truck,” she continued. “We kept in touch over the years hoping he would sell it to us one day. He ended up selling it to someone else forgetting we wanted it. We were able to contact the new owner and he sold it to us. It was very exciting to bring it home, back to the family.”
We at JN hope that Rachel and Tim will send us a photo of the final restoration of Grandpa’s special truck.
Car culture is alive and well in Detroit’s Jewish community. JN would like to thank everyone for sharing their car stories with us.
The North American International Auto Show takes place from September 17-25. This will be Detroit’s first indoor/outdoor auto show. visit https://naias.com/ For details and tickets. You can also enter a sweepstakes to win a Corvette, Hellcat or Bronco.