It’s Back to the Bricks weekend: grilles, fins, vintage cars by the hundreds shine in Vehicle City

Photos and captions by Tom Travis

It’s Back to the Bricks weekend in Flint — a tribute and celebration of the automobiles that made Vehicle City famous, and anybody can figure that out — by the hundreds of beautiful cars angled from south to north on Saginaw Street. EVM staff writer Tom Travis checked out the scene Friday and captured a few of the colors, style and stories.  The car fest, in its fifteenth year, has included a week’s worth of events, including a cruise from Grand Blanc to downtown, concerts, a military flyover, a Corvette reunion and vintage Buicks on display at Factory One, the birthplace of General Motors.  By the time it’s over the weekend is expected to attract up to 500,000 car enthusiasts and wraps up a week of events at 8 p.m. tonight.

Downtown Dunesmobile

David and his father Richard Peskey own this unique 1956 Super 88 Oldsmobile used as a Scenic Dune Ride vehicle at the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Western Michigan. This is #5 of the original 10 Super 88’s used for the scenic rides. Peskey purchased the vehicle in 1991 and the original side door painting had been painted over. He restored it and replaced the decals to their original form. Peskey will be traveling to the Woodward Car Cruise in Detroit tomorrow. Petskey owns other classic cars including a Datsun Roadster and a 1966 Mustang. More information about these Sleeping Bear Dune vehicles can be found at

Sky blue Buick match

Sherma and Earl Addison of Saginaw dress in a matching blue outfits standing next to their sky blue 1954 Buick Special. Addison says they bought the car ‘as is’ and have brought it to Back to the Bricks for at least the last 10 years. They travel to other car shows including The Sloan Car Show, Frankenmuth, The African Art Festival in Saginaw. They also own a 1995 Cadillac.

Out of this world Galaxie

Owner Mike Simkins of Mt. Pleasant owns this 1961 Ford Galaxie. Simkins bought the car because he and his wife were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary 5 years ago and wanted to arrive at the anniversary party in the same car they rode off in on the day they got married. Simkins said his wife protested about riding the five miles from their house to the anniversary party because the car did not have seat belts. When Simkins bought the car he said, “it shook terrible” but his son helped him explore the engine and finally discovered the problem was in the lifter covers. Now it runs “smooth.”  The paint job is the original paint and was restored by rebuffing it. Simkins’ wife was not with him this year as they own a bed and breakfast in Mt. Pleasant and she was tending to guests there.

Close-up of the grille:  Unique to this vehicle are the rear lights with a rocket engine exhaust design and missle like fins on the side. The car was built around the time of the Sputnik satelite launch by the Russians the car makers didn’t want to be left out so they included these rocket and outter space design touches. Simkins remarks about the Goldwater ’64 sticker on the bumper that he did not vote for Goldwater. While not able to recall if Goldwater was Republican or Democrat Simkins did recall that Goldwater was anti-Civil Rights.

Car-aholic’s truck:  no more dents

1955 Chevrolet owned by Tom Camplin of Westland, MI. A self-proclaimed “car-aholic” owning five other cars including a ’29 Ford, ’63 Dodge, ’71 Dodge pick up, ’40 Pontiac business coupe and a ’76 Corvette. Camplin bought this truck in 1980 from a Navy auction. In the 50’s this truck was used as a support vehicle in the Navy. Camplin said when he bought the truck it was unfinished and covered in dents. He has made 26 modifications in the five years he spent restoring it. Camplin himself works at Back to the Bricks by helping to drive vehicles in the mornings to their parking spots. Camplin stated that his first car he ever owned was a 1953 Mercury he obtained in 1963.

Tom Camplin

Chevelle restored with love

Roger Gauthier of Clio has attended Back to the Bricks every year since its inception. His fire engine red 1967 Chevelle was bought five years ago and he has restored it himself but hasn’t made many significant changes to the vehicle.

Shine reflects downtown Flint

Ford Galaxie classy dash

Wildcat “rides like a dream”

Don O’Brien of Mt. Pleasant owns this 1968 Buick Wildcat. O’Brien has owned it since 2012. The car has spent all of it’s life in the South until bought by O’Brien who brought it to Michigan. It was built at the factory in Kansas City, KS and eventually was sold to O’Brien in Alabama. O’Brien had the same style car when he was in high school but sold it and wanted another one. He said it “rides like a dream” and credits the longer wheel base to the smooth ride that can’t be found in modern cars. O’Brien tours all over Michigan with his Buick. EVM staff spoke to O’Brien by phone who was not present at the time.

EVM Staff Writer Tom Travis can be reached at




Author: East Village Magazine

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