08/30/12 04:07PM Back to the Bricks, readers pics, Wild About Cars

Back to the Bricks
Michigan's Other Auto Lovefest

A small contingent of the Wild About Cars participants

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Photos provided by Dan Bruckbauer and Eric White - Thanks Dan and Eric!

While the annual Woodward Dream Cruise is recognized as the world's largest single day automotive event, 40 miles up Interstate 75 in the city of Flint, Michigan another excellent car show is taking on a life of its own. This is the Back to the Bricks (B2B) car show. Now in its eighth year, B2B is unique celebration of the glory years of Flint and the mid-Michigan automobile economic and social world. Centered on Saginaw Street just a short distance from the former GM "Buick City" assembly plant, B2B is an event where you can park the classic car and attend a traditional show.

A short history of the host city

Flint established itself as a horse-drawn wagon and carriage manufacturing center in the mid 1800's. The carriage-making businesses in Flint were so successful by the end of that century, the nickname "Vehicle City" was adopted by the booming mid-Michigan town.

When local carriage makers turned to automobile manufacturing at the start of the 20th century, Flint became the home of Buick, GMC Truck, and eventually Chevrolet. The "home" manufacturing facilities of each of these GM divisions remained in Flint for the better part of the next 100 years, validating the title Vehicle City.

In 1953, Chevy built its first year's run of a new fiberglass-bodied sports car called the Corvette in a building located at Flint's production facilities.

Flint's main street is named Saginaw St. It runs generally north to south and is covered by paver bricks along the downtown section. During the 1950's and '60's, when cruising was at the height of popularity across the country, Saginaw St. formed an important part of the Flint cruising circuit.

A short history of Back To The Bricks

As B2B organizers contemplated a new car show in 2004, they decided that going back to the bricks of Saginaw St. was a great idea. The Woodward Dream Cruise was in its 10th year of existence 40 miles to the south of Flint. The Dream Cruise was well-established on the statistically-driest weekend of Michigan's summer car show season. If that date was good enough for Woodward Avenue, it was good enough for Saginaw Street.

The first year, 2005, greeted 600 classic cars for the rain-shortened, one-day show in Flint. Within two years that total had doubled. This year over 2,000 participants gathered to display their vehicles on, and adjacent to, The Bricks.

Now for this year's main event

The weather this year, including the conditions during the lead-up week to the big weekend, has been extraordinarily grand. For both the Woodward and Bricks cruise activities for the last week, we have seen record-breaking crowds. People are really motivated to get the cars out and have some good times during this unusually timely stretch of pleasantly primo, cool and rain-free weather. When the weather cooperates, it doesn't seem to matter what state the economy's in, people want to get the cars out and have some fun. This weekend the weather worked out splendidly and attendance was the best ever at both of our area's major car happenings.

It was a little chilly for participants driving to the event. The temps at 5:00 a.m. were in the 50 degree range, but that only means dry air and a pleasant mid to upper 70's degree high during show day. Weather reports for at least three days prior to show day indicated partly cloudy skies and excellent car-show-friendly temps, so participants turned out by the carloads - literally. Record high participant and spectator numbers were recorded with an estimated 2,000+ cars, and probably at least twenty times that total in spectator numbers.

Wild About Cars and the Auto History Preservation Society make the scene

Wild About Cars was well represented by Eric White, Willis Dennis with his 1958 Olds and his daughter's 1960 Edsel, and Wayne Brandon brought Judy Sherman's gorgeous 1935 Plymouth Rumble Seat Coupe. Later, they were joined by many other WAC members.

Eric White, AHPS Archive Director - in his award winning 1967 GTO convertible - was one of the first cars through the gates on Saturday morning. He was headed for our reserved "parking spots" - near the entrance to the Bricks. But let Eric tell his story ---

"I was one of the first participant vehicles allowed through the gates at 5:00 a.m. with the pre-approved goal of setting up the WAC club display. I had to drive past a stationary, two lane wide line-up of cars that stretched about six blocks long. All these people had been there, many waiting for more than an hour, just to insure their getting a parking spot directly on "The Bricks." I could almost read their minds as I casually rolled up to the main participant's entrance and was passed through. My ears were burning, to say nothing of the back of my head."

Official events for this year's B2B show started ramping up nearly two weeks before actual show day. Like the WDC, the B2B organizers have marshaled the cooperation of many local communities both north and south of Flint. From Aug 7-11, B2B Tune-up Parties are hosted on five consequtive dates by the nearby cities of Montrose, Clio, and Mt. Morris to the north, Linden/Fenton to the south, and Davison to the east. A unique, limited edition event T-shirt was given away on each day, so lucky and persistent participants could have potentially collected all five versions!

On Tuesday the 14th, a special car-oriented movie was screened at one of the only remaining drive-ins in the area, the US-23 Theater, located just a few miles to the south of downtown Flint.

From Aug 15-17, the Rolling Cruise was the featured activity. Covering about ten miles from downtown Flint to downtown Grand Blanc, cruisers roll along Saginaw Street between the hours of 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. Special activities are organized at various points along the Saginaw route. Food, music, attractions, and restrooms are provided at three "Mega Sites" along the route. Also taking place on Friday evening, on The Bricks, was a preliminary mini-bricks car show.

On show day Saturday, participants were found lined up at the main entrance gate by 4:00 a.m. in order to ensure a coveted spot on the famed brick-paved street of Flint. Overflow show parking spread one block to both the east and west of Saginaw St. Merchants and street vendors lined the length of Saginaw. A large vendor lot was located at the north end of the show. Music, both live and DJ'ed played all day long and into the evening.

This event does not feature judging, voting, ballot box stuffing or any other nefarious shenanigans. This is just a great, laid-back event. And best of all, it's entirely free! No $20 entry fee, no spectator fees, and event parking for spectators is even free on show day.

Wild About Cars had 26 members turn out for the show this year. Can we double this total for next year? With the same perfect weather next year, that may be possible.

The world-famous Pontiac-to-Detroit "Dream Cruise" had a ten-year lead on the Flint B2B. During the last eight years, the car lovers from Flint have been able to establish an identity all their own. Rankings of national-level cars events have recognized the B2B efforts with a Top-Twenty placement; a very impressive achievement.

(Dan Bruckbauer and Eric White took lots of photos and we thank them for their efforts).

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The Wild About Cars Booth and member cars: Eric White's '67 GTO, Willis Dennis's 1958 Olds, his daughter's 1958 Edsel.

Judy Sherman's 1935 Plymouth Rumble Seat Coupe.

1928 Ford Model A rolling chassis saved from the crusher. Will soon host a Speedster body.

A portion of the "Script A Region" Model A Restorers Club parked in front of Flint's Capitol Theatre.

'53 Chevy Bel Air on the Bricks.

1941 Chevrolet and 1971 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400.

1960 Nash Metropolitan convertible.

Second gen Camaro Z28. This is a 1970 1/2 version.

There was a large contingent of Canadian participants. Here we see a 1969 Pontiac Grand Parisinne, equipped with a stock 427 Chevy.

A rare 1940 Buick Phaeton convertible in a rare color.

Chrysler's 1948 convertible.

Tow Matter in the flesh.

Tiger Gold 1965 Pontiac GTO equipped with Hurst wheels.

Two "convicts" enjoy a moment of freedom, but they have to work detailing the Sheriff's '50 Ford patrol car to earn this liberty.

1971 Plymouth 340 Cuda convertible in Plum Crazy Purple.

Flint's hometown heroes. A line-up of gorgeous Buicks.

Foreign-built cars were also well represented. Here is a Jaguar XK E-Type 2+2 and a Ford/Shelby 427 Cobra roadster.

1960 Studebaker Lark 4-door sedan.

A well-done Ford Model A pickup street rod.

A nice mix of street rod, import sports car, muscle car, and a couple of Buick full-size convertibles.

This article courtesy of Wild About Cars.

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