Roseville resident Nick Klaver will display his classic 1983 Mercury Grand Marquis Feb. 24-26 at Autorama. Klaver is the president of the Ride ‘N So-Low (R.S.L.) Michigan Car Club.

Roseville resident Nick Klaver will display his classic 1983 Mercury Grand Marquis Feb. 24-26 at Autorama. Klaver is the president of the Ride ‘N So-Low (R.S.L.) Michigan Car Club.

Photo by Maria Allard

Autorama drives into town this weekend

Roseville and Eastpointe residents featured in show

By: Maria Allard | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published February 19, 2023


DETROIT — Honk your horns: This year’s annual Autorama is celebrating a milestone.

The famed car show will commemorate its 70th anniversary when it kicks into gear Feb. 24-26 at Detroit’s Huntington Place. Throughout the weekend, more than 800 custom-built cars and trucks, hot rods and motorcycles from the U.S. and around the world, including New Zealand, will be showcased.

Autorama is produced by Championship Auto Shows, hosted by the Michigan Hot Rod Association, sponsored by Meguiar’s and presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts.

“We are so thrilled to be celebrating the big 70th anniversary of Detroit Autorama this year. Detroit’s Autorama was the first and is the most revered hot rod custom car show in the country,” said Peter Toundas, president and owner of Championship Auto Shows Inc., producer of Autorama, in a prepared statement.

“We are so proud that it all started in Detroit and getting to a milestone like the 70th year is a real reason to celebrate,” Toundas continued. “Autorama attracts a significant amount of national attention to the Motor City and spotlights the important historic role Detroit has played in the world of custom cars and hot rodding.”

The 30th annual Toy-A-Rama, the Master Builder Award presented by Steele Rubber Products, and the Motor City Mavens 2023 Auto Art Panel Jam and Charity Auction to benefit Leader Dogs for the Blind are planned.

Spectators can meet television’s “Bitchin’ Rides” star Dave Kindig from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 24; and hip-hop star Flavor Flav from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 25. “Happy Days” fans can also mingle with Henry “The Fonz” Winkler, who will be at Autorama all weekend.

The auto tech school Drive One, located in Roseville, will have a special display featuring six cars it has customized and shown over the years in Autorama. Students from the school as well as the Tregembo family, which owns Drive One, will be on-site.


‘It’s a work of art’
Several Roseville and Eastpointe gearheads will display their souped-up vehicles in the show, including Nick Klaver. Although Klaver is a “Chevy guy,” in 2001, he became the owner of a 1983 Mercury Grand Marquis, which he will display during Autorama.

“For us car guys, Autorama is the Super Bowl of car shows. Each car is an expression of its owner. It’s a work of art,” the 47-year-old Roseville resident said. “There are 11 of us going down; three from my car club. It’s an honor to be selected.”

Klaver is the president of the Ride ‘N So-Low (R.S.L.) Michigan Car Club, where lowriders get together for car shows, cruises and camaraderie. Currently, there are 13 R.S.L. members.

Klaver is the fourth owner of the Grand Marquis. The original owner was the grandmother of a former R.S.L. club member, and Klaver promised to take good care of it. When Klaver purchased the two-door Mercury more than 20 years ago, it had 93,000 miles on it. Currently, he has clocked 258,000 miles.

As a body tech/painter, he painted the vehicle to make it his own, with help from friends Ricky Lopez and Brandon Collins. He went all out by adding a hydraulic suspension system that raises and lowers the car at different angles. Through a control box, Klaver is able to key the hydraulics to make the car bounce.

“It’s like a big remote control,” said Klaver, adding his 17-year-old daughter loves the car. “She just got her driver’s license. She’s already taking claim on it.” He also has a 25-year-old stepdaughter.

Another unique feature is the 10-inch steering wheel made entirely from chains.

“If you’re arrested and have on handcuffs, you can still drive,” he joked.

Klaver takes the car out quite often and can usually be spotted at all the car cruises, including the Woodward Dream Cruise and the Shorewood Kiwanis Club of St. Clair Shores Harper Charity Cruise. Another regular spot is the Friday Night Flex at Tacos El Guero in Detroit.

“We meet at the taco truck, hang out and have a good time,” Klaver said.

The Grand Marquis always gets plenty of attention. Last year it won “best paint” at Roseville’s annual Jammin’ at the Junction on Utica Road.

“Some people are floored by it,” Klaver said. “It’s a rough ride. There are no shocks on it.”

The following Eastpointe residents and vehicles are scheduled to be in Autorama:

• Matthew Gurzick — Chevrolet Monte Carlo LS.

• Darren Withers — Chevrolet Malibu.

• James Sawyer — Chevy Camaro.

Autorama also will feature the following Roseville residents and vehicles:

• DA Bentley —  Chevrolet Caprice.

• Bill Burke — Plymouth Arrow.

• Scott Dallas — Ford Mustang GT.

• Jim Davies — Ford Coupe.

• Ed Kahofer — Chevrolet Camaro SS.

• Matthew Kendrick — Ford Mustang.

• Tommy Peterson — Chevrolet Corvette.

• David Radcliffe — Dodge Charger and Dodge Coronet.

• Sterling Rowe — Chevy Corvette.

In addition, Ron Andras, of Harper Woods, will show his Pontiac Grand Prix.

Autorama will be held from noon to 10 p.m. Feb. 24; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 25; and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 26.

For ticket information and a complete list of events, visit Discount tickets are available at O’Reilly Auto Parts stores.

Huntington Place is located at 1 Washington Blvd. in Detroit.