Chris Gogo stands next to his 1969 Chevy Camaro. He described the 650 horsepower Camaro as a gorgeous show car. It is equipped with a big block Chevy 572-cubic-inch crate engine.

Chris Gogo stands next to his 1969 Chevy Camaro. He described the 650 horsepower Camaro as a gorgeous show car. It is equipped with a big block Chevy 572-cubic-inch crate engine.

Photo by Sarah Purlee


Local residents roll out Chevys for Autorama

Show opens on Friday at Cobo Center 

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published February 25, 2019

 Eric Stanczak of Macomb Township will bring a 1936 Chevy two-door sedan to Autorama. He purchased it in 1991 for around $1,500.

Eric Stanczak of Macomb Township will bring a 1936 Chevy two-door sedan to Autorama. He purchased it in 1991 for around $1,500.

Photo provided by Eric Stanczak

Billed as America’s greatest hot rod show, Autorama will feature 800 hot rods and custom cars. 

The 67th annual Meguiar’s Detroit Autorama at Cobo Center runs from March 1 to March 3.

Adding a local flair to the excitement, Eric Stanczak and Chris Gogo, both of Macomb Township, will be attending the show, along with their classic Chevys.

Stanczak, 69, will bring a 1936 Chevy two-door sedan. Gogo, 42, a 1969 Chevy Camaro.

Stanczak purchased the red Chevy in 1991 for around $1,500. At that point, it wasn’t driveable. 

“I just happened to look at it and it was the one I wanted,” he said. “I had to put the interior in it, hook up the steering and put all the electrical in it.”

The vehicle consists of many components, including a 1962 Chrysler rear suspension, Corvette steering wheel and a 1986 LeBaron interior.

“That was the last car Chevrolet built out of wood,” he said. “It’s a wooden frame with metal wrapped around it. They stopped building them in late 1936.” 

For the last five years, Stanczak, who has a collection of around 75 cars, has had a different vehicle at Autorama. 

This will be Gogo’s second year at Autorama with the hunter orange Camaro. 

Gogo, a tool designer at Fisher Dynamics Corporation, purchased the Camaro in 2014 from another car enthusiast in Washington state for $63,000. At that time, it had 3,200 miles on it.

“I had been looking for a project for a couple years and at that time, I sold my last hot rod and had an empty spot in my garage,” he said. 

At the time of purchase, the Camaro, equipped with a big block Chevy 572-cubic-inch crate engine, was partially restored. Gogo finished restoration over the course of over a year. 

“I restored the interior, removed the engine and transmission and did a lot of detailing work under the hood,” he said. “I wet sanded and rubbed the paint. I had a bunch of pieces polished while it was all torn apart. I finished up the exhaust work and there was a lot of detail work under the car.”

He described the Camaro, with approximately 650 horsepower, as a gorgeous show car that he occasionally drives and enjoys. Since he bought it, less than 1,000 miles have been added to the odometer.   

“When I tell people how many miles are on it, they’re always stunned that it looks the way it does,” Gogo said. “All the magic happens when you pop the hood and see that massive big block GM motor.” 

Previous hot rods Gogo has owned include a 1970 Camaro RS, 1962 Impala, 1934 Tudor and 1993 Ford Cobra.  

He plans on having the Camaro for a while, calling it his favorite car he’s ever owned.

Last year’s Autorama was the first time Gogo had the privilege of taking a car to an indoor car show.

This year’s Autorama will also feature a live appearance by NASCAR legend Tony Stewart, The Hanson Brothers from the movie “Slap Shot” and WWE Superstar Seth Rollins. Stewart will meet and greet fans on March 2 from noon to 2 p.m.

“We are always striving to bring new excitement and top ourselves every year at Detroit Autorama,” said Peter A. Toundas, the president and owner of Championship Auto Shows Inc., producers of Autorama. 

The first Detroit Autorama took place 67 years ago at the University of Detroit Field House as a fundraiser for the Michigan Hot Rod Association’s efforts to build the legendary Detroit Dragway. Autorama came to Cobo Center as its first paid public show in 1961. 

 Linda Ashley, spokesperson for Autorama, said, “What’s most exciting about Autorama is the creativity of everyone there, ranging from some of the most well-known builders in the country to Michiganders who are putting together, with their own heart and soul, these cars from their own garages. Each is a work of art and nothing like you’d see in a normal car. I like to call it ‘Hot Wheels: Grown Up.’” 

Show hours for Autorama are from noon to 10 p.m. Friday, March 1; from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 2; and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 3. Admission at the gate costs $21 for adults, $8 for children ages 6-12, and is free for children ages 5 and younger. Discount tickets are available at O’Reilly Auto Parts at a rate of $19 for adults and $7 for children ages 6-12. 

For more information, visit autorama.com.