BerkleyFebruary 24, 2014
Berkley couple to show vehicles for first time at Autorama
By Joshua Gordon
C & G Staff Writer
BERKLEY — Some of Rolanda Jackson’s fondest memories growing up were from going to auto shows with her father and getting a chance to look at the unique and customized vehicles.
So, 10 years ago, she decided that was something she wanted to share with her own child, and she set out to find the perfect car.
Specifically, one that looked like the Batmobile.
“Going to auto shows was something I did as a kid, and I wanted to do that with my oldest, and we decided we wanted something that looked like the Batmobile, and we found something in New Orleans,” Jackson, 37, said. “We went down there, checked it out and drove it home.”
What Jackson, a Berkley resident, returned home with was a 1959 Cadillac Series 62 sedan, and, with its black color and winged tips on the back, it resembled the Batmobile. While the vehicle is still a work in progress, Jackson will be showing it at the 62nd annual Detroit Autorama Show March 7-9 at Cobo Center.
“This will be my first time having a car at the show, and I was kind of hoping to have more done with the car, but with an 11-month-old, it makes it a little bit of a longer process,” Jackson said. “It should be really exciting, and I am part of a car club that is always there, and we have a lot of fun the whole weekend, but having a car there this year, I think a lot more people will ask me questions.”
Autorama will feature nearly 1,000 hot rods, trucks and motorcycles from across the world. The show annually brings in nearly 150,000 spectators, and this year, former NASCAR drivers Richard Petty and Kyle Petty, Richard’s son, will be in attendance.
While Jackson will be joined by her Road Devils Car Club members at Autorama, she also will have the company of her fiancé, Kyle Silvey, who also will be showing a vehicle for the first time at the show.
Silvey, 34, of Berkley, is bringing his 1936 International pickup truck. A majority of the vehicles at the show may be finished, Silvey said, but for his, he is still looking for some input from car experts.
“This is my first time showing a vehicle, and I am hoping to get some good responses. And there are always knowledgeable people walking around, and hopefully, they will be interested in it and give me some good ideas and things to do better,” Silvey said. “I am looking for a lot of feedback from this show, and some may be negative, but I am looking forward to talking to a lot of people.”
Silvey said he has always been partial to pickup trucks, and when he set out to get one last spring, he decided to go with one that needed more work for a discounted price. Silvey bought the frame, cab and bed, and then he began working on the metalwork.
When all is said and done, he is hoping to finish building the truck for around $10,000.
“I wanted to tackle a full build, and other, previous vehicles I have owned, I acquired them and they were pretty much done, and I just did a few things and fixed some stuff,” he said. “I wanted the experience of a full build from the ground up, and I wanted to start learning so I can build some other stuff in the future. This is the perfect platform (at Autorama) to see how I have done.”
The truck used to sit about 2 1/2 feet off the ground, but Silvey lowered it to give it more of a hot-rod look, as it now sits four inches off the ground. Going through the full-build has taught Silvey even more about working on vehicles than he knew before.
“On a modern vehicle, lowering things is really easy, but working on an older vehicle, I have learned some of the older tricks that original hot-rodders did,” he said. “I have a really good buddy that has built cars and has helped me through this, and it has been a nice learning experience. I know that I don’t have to spend the big bucks to get the same look I want.”
While Jackson’s car was bought with a lot more done and just in need of some modifications, Silvey has had to do more work on his truck to get it ready for the show. Having a love for modified vehicles in common has been great, Jackson said, and the two are excited to take part in their first Autorama.
“It has definitely been fun, and he is in the club now, so we get to spend more time together,” she said. “Before, I did everything separate with the club meetings and I was in roller derby, so it has been a lot more fun doing this together.”
Autorama takes place from noon-10 p.m. March 7, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. March 8 and from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. March 9. Admission is $19 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12, and free for children 5 and younger.
For more information, call (248) 373-1700 or visit www.autorama.com.