Clawson car show returns for 16th year

Event will include memorial trophy honoring late councilman

By: Robert Guttersohn | Royal Oak Review | Published August 4, 2014

 Nick Cortese, of Warren, judges a 1967 Chevelle 300 during Down on Main 
last year.

Nick Cortese, of Warren, judges a 1967 Chevelle 300 during Down on Main last year.

File photo by Donna Agusti

CLAWSON — The Down on Main car show, taking over downtown for the 16th year Aug. 9, will include a tribute to late City Councilman Tom Palmer.

Howie Airriess is now the mayor pro tem on the City Council, but more than a decade and a half ago, Airriess took on the task of convincing Tom Palmer and the rest of the City Council to close the city’s major thoroughfare.

Airriess said in a recent interview that Tom Palmer became one of the annual show’s biggest fans.

“He loved the show so much,” Airriess said.

Down on Main brings as many as 10,000 visitors and car owners of all types to downtown Clawson. The intersection of 14 Mile Road and Main Street will be cut off beginning at 8 a.m. Judging begins at 9 a.m. to award trophies in several different categories.

Tom Palmer died in November just two days before the Nov. 5 election, in which he was running to keep his seat on council. He had served on council for four decades.

The Palmer family donated money to Down on Main to have a trophy named after Tom Palmer. It will be given annually to the best Corvette — a car he owned and loved.

Jean Palmer will be at the car show all day with her husband’s 1964 silver blue Corvette — a retirement gift one of his son’s bought him.

“That was his baby,” Jean Palmer said.

She said that on any sunny day, even if it was January, her husband found time to take the Corvette out for a drive.

“Tom would crank up the Vette, and put the top up, and put on his Gilligan hat, and out he’d go,” Jean said.

Jean Palmer said her husband had owned Corvettes while growing up.

Since his death, the Corvette has served as a link from one generation to the next. Brian Palmer, one of his two sons, now works for Chevrolet in quality control on the Corvette. Jean Palmer said on his first day in March, “He walked into his office for the first time and hanging on the wall was a picture of a silver blue Corvette and no one knew that we had a silver blue Corvette.”

Down on Main is not only about the cars. Airriess said at 1 p.m., there will be a flag-raising ceremony to honor American military men and women who have died in combat. At 2 p.m., there will be a swing dancing performance. The event ends at 4 p.m.