Randy Booden and his brother, Wayne, drive their late father Bill’s 1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Randy Booden and his brother, Wayne, drive their late father Bill’s 1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Car buff is in the driver’s seat

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published October 6, 2020

 The Booden men gather around Wayne’s 1934 Plymouth sedan, right.

The Booden men gather around Wayne’s 1934 Plymouth sedan, right.

 Randy’s 1969 Plymouth GTX, left, and Wayne’s 1969 GTX have been in plenty of car cruises and shows.

Randy’s 1969 Plymouth GTX, left, and Wayne’s 1969 GTX have been in plenty of car cruises and shows.

 Among the cars pictured is a 1932 Ford, right.

Among the cars pictured is a 1932 Ford, right.

BERKLEY — Each time Randy Booden steps on the gas pedal of his red 1969 Plymouth GTX, it draws attention.

“You get people beeping their horns, giving you the thumbs-up,” Booden said.

And that’s not the only classic car he owns. Booden also likes to take out his 1934 Plymouth silver and blue two-door sedan. His late father’s black 1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V also is special.

“That (Plymouth) was a car I bought years ago,” the Berkley resident said. “Everything has been changed. It’s a hot rod. It’s a completely custom car.”

The Mark V only has 53,000 miles on it. The family heirloom stays in storage throughout most of the year, but revs its engine every August for the Woodward Dream Cruise. And Booden’s fourth classic car, a 1968 green AMC AMX, is currently undergoing restoration.

“But everything else is driveable,” Booden said. “I drive the GTX the most. It’s the most fun because it goes faster.”

Booden is all about cars. He is the manager of B&B Collision, in Royal Oak, which sponsors C & G Newspapers’ Behind the Wheel section. B&B Collision offers full autobody collision service of all makes and models. He and his father, Bill Booden, started the company in 1977 at 919 S. Main St. Booden’s sister, Wendy Tomassi, is the office manager and business partner.

Last year, Booden got out of his comfort zone and purchased his first-ever brand-new car: a 2019 Dodge Challenger, red.

“This is what a muscle car is 50 years later, in 2019,” the car buff said, citing differences between the ’69 GTX and the Challenger. “The technology today is amazing versus the GTX. You’re talking 50 years. The power, the handling, the comfort, the performance is just off the hook.”

Prior to owning the new Challenger, “all of my cars have always been demos,” Booden said, adding that it’s common for him to put 200,000 miles on the vehicles.

As a local business owner, Booden has given back to the community. In the early 1990s, before the inception of the Woodward Dream Cruise, he helped put on the Grand National and Classic Car Show in Royal Oak. Booden oversaw the car show that was held on Washington Avenue for several years.

“It was so much fun,” he said. “It brought the community together.”

Because of COVID-19, the standard car shows and cruises were canceled in 2020.

“Terrible for me,” Booden said. “It hurts my heart.”

The classic car owner did, however, get his treasured GTX out for the “unofficial” Woodward Dream Cruise this year, held Aug. 15. His brother, Wayne, who lives in Pinckney, drove to town in his morning blue 1969 GTX.

The brothers cruised in Wayne’s set of wheels during the morning, had lunch at the Avenue Family Restaurant on Woodward, went home for a while and then headed back out in the afternoon in Booden’s GTX.

Booden said he’s always been a Chrysler/Mopar guy.

“I grew up loving those cars,” Booden said. One reason was because his brother, as a teen, worked on such models with Booden assisting. “I was his gofer — anything he needed.”

Growing up in Berkley, it was common to spend Friday and Saturday nights riding up and down Woodward Avenue.

“That was the hangout,” he said. “It’s in your blood.”

Anytime Booden travels outside the state, he makes sure to pack a few Woodward Dream Cruise T-shirts. Wearing one of them outside of Michigan is always a conversation starter.

“They will stop me and say, ‘I’ve been there,’ or ‘I really want to do that,” Booden said. “You go anywhere else, cars are nothing compared to what they are here. We’re the Motor City.”


View all our Behind the Wheel stories at candgnews.com/behindthewheel, sponsored by B&B Collision of Royal Oak.