Holly McVicar, a kindergarten teacher at Defer Elementary School in the Grosse Pointe Public School System, and her daughter, Olivia, 9, enjoy cruising in the family’s 1969 Chevy Camaro, which McVicar’s mom, Carol Alex, passed down to her.

Holly McVicar, a kindergarten teacher at Defer Elementary School in the Grosse Pointe Public School System, and her daughter, Olivia, 9, enjoy cruising in the family’s 1969 Chevy Camaro, which McVicar’s mom, Carol Alex, passed down to her.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Chevy Camaro is all in the family

By: Maria Allard | Metro | Published June 8, 2021

 McVicar holds a copy of a newspaper story about her mom retiring and driving off in the vehicle that her mom bought 30 years earlier, in 1970.

McVicar holds a copy of a newspaper story about her mom retiring and driving off in the vehicle that her mom bought 30 years earlier, in 1970.

Photo by Deb Jacques

METRO DETROIT — In April 1970, Carol Alex, of Warren, Ohio, purchased a shiny burgundy 1969 Chevrolet Camaro 307.

It was brand-new off the lot with a price tag of $2,400, before taxes and fees. While some moms in the neighborhood drove station wagons and sedans, Alex happily zipped about in her Camaro.

One regular route was traveling back and forth to her teaching job at Jefferson Elementary School. The Camaro also was the family taxi and the go-to automobile when Alex’s sister and brother took their driving tests at age 16.

When Alex retired after 30 years of teaching, the local Warren, Ohio, newspaper published an article as the educator left school driving the same car she had purchased as a new teacher. Only this time, she placed a “Just Retired” sign on the rear bumper. The newspaper headline reads, “Leaving in style.”

The Chevy was eventually placed in storage for many years until Alex’s husband, Greg Alex, fixed it up. After that, the couple proudly displayed it in car shows and at parades, bonding with the other classic car owners they met.

The Camaro is back on the road again, this time in Michigan. Last summer, Alex passed the car down to her daughter, Holly McVicar, a kindergarten teacher at Defer Elementary School in the Grosse Pointe Public School System. McVicar gladly welcomed the heirloom.

“I was excited. I’m excited it’s going to stay in the family,” McVicar said. “It did bring back memories.”

McVicar’s husband, Thomas McVicar, drove the family treasure from Ohio to its new home in Grosse Pointe Farms. The Camaro got plenty of attention during the four-hour trip, as Thomas noticed many drivers checking it out as it cruised the highway.

“The car was in surprisingly amazing shape,” Thomas said. “It’s all original. I think what makes her mom happy is seeing it being used again.”

But Thomas was nervous driving it to Michigan knowing, “I can’t get a scratch on it.”

Holly said the goal is to keep the car in the family. That means the McVicars’ 9-year-old daughter, Olivia, will inherit the family treasure someday. That suits her just fine, as she likes “the comfy seats and how warm it is.”

“We rode it home from soccer,” Olivia said. “That was fun. My friends got to see it.”

The family currently enjoys cruising up and down Lake Shore Drive. They’ve also signed up to participate in local car shows this year. One such event is the weekly Cruisin’ at the Bruce Car Show at the Veterans of Foreign Wars No. 1146 Bruce Post in St. Clair Shores. Thomas took it last year and could tell he was the new kid on the block by the way the regular crowd checked out the new set of wheels. For details on the weekly car show, visit www.vfw1146bruce post.org.

Greg Alex was a bona fide car buff. He bought about 20 classic cars over the years and spent much of his spare time working on the cars.

“He would restore a lot of them and sell them. It was just his hobby,” Holly said. “I grew up going to car shows instead of going to Disney. I loved it.”

At the car shows, it was a given that Holly would hear oldies music blasting away. Another spot she remembers visiting was the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

According to Carol Alex, her husband’s favorite model was “whatever car he was working on at the time.”

Greg Alex died in 2012. His memory lives on as Holly’s two sisters also inherited one of the family cars: a 1921 Dodge and a 1955 Ford.


SHARE YOUR STORY
Do you own a vehicle that has an interesting history? Contact Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com and you could be featured in an upcoming edition of Behind the Wheel, sponsored by B & B Collision of Royal Oak.