Marc and Darlene Rozman, of Royal Oak, attend all the local car shows and cruises, including the Woodward Dream Cruise, which is scheduled for Aug. 21 this year.

Marc and Darlene Rozman, of Royal Oak, attend all the local car shows and cruises, including the Woodward Dream Cruise, which is scheduled for Aug. 21 this year.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


This classic model gets car fans charged up

By: Maria Allard | Metro | Published August 10, 2021

 The Charger features a black vinyl top and interior, automatic transmission, Magnum 500 wheels, and power brakes, steering and windows.

The Charger features a black vinyl top and interior, automatic transmission, Magnum 500 wheels, and power brakes, steering and windows.

Photos by Patricia O'Blenes

METRO DETROIT — Marc Rozman has always been a car buff.

His passion for vintage vehicles and customized cars began when he was 13 years old. As a teen, Rozman was given a hot rod magazine that he read leisurely while recovering from an illness. After thumbing through pictures of the souped-up cars and mega motors, the teenager was hooked.

“It looked like a lot of fun, and it really had an impact on me,” Rozman recalled. He soon started receiving model cars from people, to which he added custom wheels, engines and paint jobs.

Rozman’s passion for automobiles followed him to Mott High School in Warren, where he was a student. During the summer of ’69, he began driving the family car, a 1968 Dodge Dart that he made payments on while buying the car off his parents. The 1973 Mott graduate drove the car while hanging out with friends — who also were into the car scene — and dating a classmate named Darlene, a ’74 Mott graduate.

“We went everywhere in it,” Darlene remembered.

“There were no cellphones,” Marc said. “You got in your car and you drove around.”

Marc and Darlene married in 1976 and moved to Royal Oak. In 1977, Marc sold the car to purchase another Dart — a ’69 model — that needed to be restored. However, Marc had to sell the ’69 Dodge because the family, which eventually included two sons, needed a new refrigerator and stove. The 340 GTS convertible — one of 417 made, according to Marc — was the car that got away.

Darlene promised Marc that they would try to find another classic Dart when the time was right. Well, they came close. In the fall of 2000, Darlene found an ad for the bright-red, 1969 Dodge Charger R/T SE that Marc purchased.

Although the car was in good shape, “I’ve done a lot of work on it,” the retired Chrysler employee said. The car features a black vinyl top and interior, automatic transmission, Magnum 500 wheels, and power brakes, steering and windows. Behind the driver’s seat is where Marc belongs.

“It’s relaxing,” he said. The Charger always receives plenty of attention when out on the road. “People give you the thumbs-up and say, ‘Nice car.’ They ask what year.”

Marc is a fixture at many metro Detroit car shows and cruises, and he has taken pictures for local publications where he tries to capture the overall atmosphere of the event.

“I think it’s the uniqueness or the memory of looking back at younger, better days,” Marc said of the nostalgia classic models bring. “I always say the cars are great but the people are better. You make friends. It’s just fun. There’s people that pull up to you and get excited to see your car.”

“It’s a social gathering,” Darlene said.

Marc has racked up several awards for the Charger, including winning the blue ribbon prize in 2009 for “Designer’s Choice” in the EyesOn Design car show at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores. While he doesn’t do the car shows for awards, he appreciates all the trophies he’s received.

“Some are more special based on the level of the show,” Marc said. “Autorama is a good judging level.”

He also stays busy as a member of the Chrysler Employee Motorsports Association. And Marc has quite the man cave. With 3,000 die-cast cars, the family basement resembles a mini-car museum dedicated to all of Marc’s favorite models.

“I collect anything Mopar. When I buy a car, I always put the date inside and what I paid for it,” Marc said. “I like stuff that is rare. This is my addiction. It’s a lot of fun. I enjoy it.”

The collection is neatly displayed and fills every nook and cranny of the basement. There’s a Charger wall, a section devoted to NASCAR, and everything in between. Marc has even gotten autographs from those well-known in the industry, including from retired race car legend Richard Petty, whom he has met several times.


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.