David and Marcy Van de Grift are showing their 1967 Pontiac Firebird convertible.

David and Marcy Van de Grift are showing their 1967 Pontiac Firebird convertible.

Photo provided by David Van de Grift

Local cars make an appearance at Detroit Autorama

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 22, 2023

 Beverly Hills resident  Matt Zurbrick will be showing his 2018 Dodge Challenger Demon.

Beverly Hills resident Matt Zurbrick will be showing his 2018 Dodge Challenger Demon.

Photo provided by Matt Zurbrick


METRO DETROIT — Several residents from Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Beverly Hills will be showing their hot rods and customs at Detroit Autorama. The 70th year of this world-famous hot rod show will take place Feb. 24-26 at downtown Detroit’s Huntington Place.

Detroit Autorama will bring 800 hot rods and custom cars coming from as far as New Zealand to compete for the Ridler Award.

David and Marcy Van de Grift from Birmingham will be showing their 1967 Pontiac Firebird convertible at Autorama.

One day in 1968, Marcy had gone car shopping with her father in Rockford. At the time, she was only 15 years old with a driver’s permit. After not finding anything while looking at new cars, Marcy and her father were on their way out when she pointed out an off-white 1967 Pontiac Firebird convertible in the parking lot with a for sale sign.

It turns out that this car had just been traded for a new car, so after some negotiating, her father bought it on the spot.

The car stayed in the family. Meanwhile, David and Marcy met while attending Michigan State University and eventually married.

When the time came in the 1980s, Marcy’s dad announced that the car was getting too old and he was going to have to let it go. However, David told him that he loved the car, and he worked out a deal to keep it in his father’s friend’s barn. They maintained this car for years, until a few years ago, when they decided to get serious about fixing it up.

“About three years ago, I said to myself — and my wife agreed, she said, ‘Let’s really restore that car proper,’” David said, “One thing led to another, and now it’s even better than proper and in Autorama.”

They brought it to a family owned car restoration company in Linden called Denz Place Auto Restorations.

This is the first year the Van de Grift’s have shown anything at Autorama.

“I think everyone in this area should experience Autorama, because it’s really such a fixture, you know, in our community,” David said.

Matt Zurbrick, of Beverly Hills, will be showing his 2018 Dodge Challenger Demon at Autorama. He said he tries to show a car in Autorama every year.

“We twin turbo-d it so it’s not the stock supercharged version anymore. We built this car last week as a fun project with my buddy’s performance company, and we are testing it out all week in Florida right now,” Zurbrick said.

The 2018 Dodge Challenger Demon that he is showing is currently lime green.

Other local people showing cars include Karl Ryan, of Bloomfield Hills, showing his Pontiac Coupe; Mark Marougi of Bloomfield Township, showing his Plymouth Barracuda; James Holton, of Beverly Hills, showing his Jeep CJ7; Monique Cunningham, of Bloomfield Hills, showing her Chevy Corvette; and Jim Bender, of Bloomfield Hills, showing his Ford 5 Window Coupe.

For more information, visit autorama.com or call (248) 373-1700.

The scheduled hours are noon-10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24; 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25; and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26. Discount general admission costs $23, or $9 for children ages 6 to 12.