Back to the Bricks®

January 2023 Newsletter

Happy NEW YEAR!!!

January 20th, 2023

Latest from the Chairman of the Board

Hello Back to the Bricks® Friends,

Welcome to 2023!

This year we celebrate the 70th anniversary year of the beloved Corvette, born in Flint on June 30, 1953. Stay tuned for some cool times ahead for Corvette lovers of all ages. 


We know everyone is planning their activities for the spring and the upcoming car season. Typically we are all staying indoors keeping warm while normally we would have snow on the ground. This mild weather we are having makes me think of getting the cars out and getting them ready to roll. But it's just not time. So we have two things to think about this month.


First, our Chrome & Ice™ team are up to their eyeballs planning the fine details

of this year’s 8th Annual Chrome & Ice™ Winter Indoor Car Show at the Dort Financial Center. I guarantee that you won’t want to miss this event. We have made some nice changes to the show that are sure to please. The VIP Experience will be over the top and an evening to remember with great food, fun, and a great band to enjoy, including Elvis. The VIP Experience benefits our Back to the Bricks® Scholarship Fund and tickets are only $45 each. Register for it TODAY!


Secondly, I hope you are planning on going on this years’ Founders Promo Tour. The four cities the committee picked are amazing destinations that are experienced with car shows. We are going to 2 Michigan cities and 2 Indiana cities. The city captains have worked tirelessly on the routes and venues. Go to our website, learn more about the details and consider joining the 12Th Annual Promo Tour.


This year will be full of new experiences, new events, and adventures with the Back to the Bricks® organization and your car. Lots of surprises lay ahead! Stay Tuned!

Thank you, 

Al Jones

Chairman of the Board

Back to the Bricks®


Chrome & Ice

Chrome & Ice™ Winter Indoor Classic Car Event Feb 10-12th 2023

Hours and Ticket Information:

  • Chrome & Ice™ 2023 will be open to the public Friday, Feb 10th from 10AM to 4PM.
  • The VIP Experience will kick off at 6:30pm, with special entertainment starting after 7pm. (Must purchase VIP Experience tickets to attend)
  • Saturday, Feb 11th from 10AM to 8PM
  • Sunday, Feb 12th from 10AM to 4PM.
  • Awards ceremony starts at 3pm on Sunday. 

GENERAL ADMISSION tickets are $10 for adults, and $7 for youth, ages 12-17. Children under 12 are free.

Parking at arena is $5 at the gates

Back to the Bricks® Merchandise


We have a SPECIAL VIP Experience Shirt for SALE!!!

Get it NOW, all proceeds from this shirt will go to the Back to the Bricks® Scholarship Fund!

Pre-Orders ONLY!


What's NEW with our Executive Director

Hey everyone,

Before we know it, we will be rocking it to the sounds of Square Lucy, practicing our card and dice skills at the Casino, and enjoying the cars and displays during the VIP Experience Friday February 10th. Peyton and I already bought our tickets, and we encourage you all to get your tickets and attend.

The VIP Experience was brought back by popular demand, on Friday night from 6:30PM to 9PM. Tickets for the VIP Experience are $45.00 each and will include parking, general admission to the car show, coat check and live musical entertainment with Square Lucy. PLUS with your VIP Ticket is a complimentary adult beverage at any of several bars in the arena, gourmet hors d’oeuvres, and dessert on the walkway above the Green Arena from 6:30PM to 8PM, compliments of the Dort Financial Credit Union. Proceeds from Chrome & Ice™ and the VIP Experience will support the Back to the Bricks® Youth Scholarship Fund.

Special Thank you to the amazing staff at the Dort Event Center, and our Brought to you by Sponsor, Dort Financial Credit Union, special thanks to ABC12 and Suski Automotive. It's a true pleasure working with them and making sure you all have a fun and safe event to attend.


I am VERY excited to announce a new partnership with the Genesee County Historical Society. My amazing friend Gary Fisher is the current President and we sat down and put our heads together on how we can combine forces, share more history, and support each other's organizations. With that said, it's my pleasure to announce that the Genesee County Historical Society will now be a monthly contributor to our newsletter, offering history, stories you might not know about, and more! Enjoy the story, or the wild ride! Gary is an amazing author.

One final thing is with our Promo Tour. We NEED submissions to be a part of the marketing for this year. Click here to DOWNLOAD the information and enter to see if your vehicle can be on the buttons and more for this amazing upcoming Founders Promo Tour.

Hope to see you all at the show, stop me and say HOWDY!

Amber Taylor, CTA

Executive Director

Back to the Bricks®


Racing on The Bricks

By: Gary Fisher

President - Genesee County Historical Society


The inspiration for Back To The Bricks, The actual bricks of Saginaw Street in downtown Flint have seen a lot of action over the years. This included some actual auto racing led by none other than Louis Chevrolet himself. Louis would often test his latest Buick racer on the bricks after the town had gone to sleep. One witness saw Chevrolet and Buick Racing Team member “Wild” Bob Burman tearing up Saginaw Street, flip the racer, land upright, and tear off for Chevrolet’s home on Root Street. In another incident Chevrolet was actually ticketed for speeding. His defense? He said that his Buick racer was so sleek and shiny that it just “looked fast.” That defense didn’t work, and he paid his fine.

Chevrolet and Burman were both members of the best auto racing teams in American history, the Buick Racing Team. Put together by GM Founder, and Buick savior and leader William C. “Billy” Durant, it was originally conceived as a marketing and promotional tool. In a way it’s still like that today in racing. Back then it was a very new concept, and Durant put the team together like he did everything: He played to win.

To do that he needed the best team he could gather, and Chevrolet and his brothers Arthur sf Gaston were just the right fit to create a strong foundation. Adding in Burman and the adventurous and speedy Lewis Strang filled the core of the team out. They were set to compete in the raucous new world of auto racing.

At the turn of the century auto racing was considered an extreme sport. Amazing entertainment to be sure, but also perilous and extraordinarily dangerous. An editorial in the Detroit Daily News opined in 1909 that: “A man prominently identified with motor racing said that he would as soon ask a man to stand against a wall and be shot at with a Winchester as to ask him to drive in track race.”

But drive they did. The early racers flipped over with alarming regularity, tires blew out launching the cars upside down, flinging the drivers and their ride along mechanicians (later called mechanics) headfirst into trees, walls, and the grandstands. When cars ‘turned turtle’ after flipping the customarily crushed the occupants. Bookies would offer odds on the chances of a driver’s likely outcome: Win, Live, or Die. Drivers sometimes gathered together a pot of money the night before an event to offer to the following day’s newly created widows and surviving children.

Into this wild world entered Durant and the Buick Racing Team. Durant had already sent a Buick form new York to San Francisco for the 24-hour coast to coast record in 1906, and later, set up a race between a Buck and an airplane (the Buick won). Louis Chevrolet was a star by then but so were his teammates. Burman’s philosophy was simple. “I go all out. All the time. The car either holds together and I win, or it breaks apart and I lose.”

Strang was 13 years younger than Chevrolet, flamboyant, athletic, and prone to dramatic crashes and even more dramatic victories. He was raised by a widowed mother in Manhattan’s rough and gritty Longacre Square, which would soon be known as Times Square. An early high school dropout he would soon learn the trade first as a chauffeur, and then as an auto mechanic. He would keep the daredevil drama going by marrying Ziegfield Follies steamy vixen Louise Alexander, and later by falling out of a biplane as it took off (he lived). All stories making the papers, along with his dramatic crashes and checkered flags. Strang was the perfect publicity boy for auto racing.

George Dewitt filled out the team, and soon the Buick Racing Team was touring the county in specially customized railway cars provided by Buick. Durant had each traveling car equipped with its own machine shop, luxury dining, sleeping and recreational cars, a blacksmiths forge, and a baggage car. The Buick Racing Team was the first Dream Team of auto racing, and they were racking up wins at a prodigious pace.

Durant had placed William Pickens in charge of the racing squad and commanded Buicks’ engineering guru, Walter Marr, and chief engineer Loren Hodge to get to work designing state-of-the-art racing engines to complement the overhead valve engine that Marr, Buick founder David Buick, and engineer Eugene Richard had created.

In two racing seasons, the Buick Racing Team won half of all of America’s road races, over 500 trophies in sum, and there was little question that they had the best mechanics, managers, publicists, engineers, and owner in the country. 

In August of 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened, and the Buick Racing Team would play a huge role. Buick entered 15 cars including those driven by Chevrolet, Burman and Strang. The main event was to be the 250-mile Prest-O-Lite Trophy, named after a company that made acetylene headlamps for cars owned by one of the Speedway founders Carl Fisher. In an earlier race that first day the Buick boys had finished 1,2,3: Chevrolet, Strang, and Burman.

But tragedy struck in the Prest-O-Lite as rival racer Billy Bourque was killed on the flimsy track, which was disintegrating in the blazing August heat. Chevrolet would be forced out of the race with engine issues as Burman jetted to the win. He would go on to win both races held on day two at Indy, with his Buick teammate Dewitt taking second place.

The stage was set for the next 100+ years of auto racing and auto marketing. Durant would parlay the Buick Racing Team success in to helping build the Buick brand, which he had already leveraged in to a merger with Oldsmobile that ultimately established General Motors, and Buick as of the premiere brands the world. 

Lewis Strang

racing a Buick in 1909

Wild Bob Burman

Louis Chevrolet

behind the wheel of his Buick

Al's Garage

Al’s Garage

Vol. 4, Issue #1

"Tops Down"

I have always had a soft spot and fondness for convertibles. The first convertible I owned was a 1961 red Ford Galaxy with a white top and a red and white interior. It was manufactured with an automatic transmission and a 292 cubic engine which was the smallest V-8 Ford offered at that time. Nothing special about the engine and was not considered to be a performance engine. In my mind it was and still is a great looking car and is a car that I would like to own today (but with a 390 cubic inch engine).


Regardless of the manufacturer,  I am of the opinion that any convertible is a great looking car. My penchants for convertibles have been with me since I received my driver’s license many, many years ago and my liking of convertibles comes with a personal flaw! I do not like to put the top down on any convertible! Let me explain. I do not like seeing wrinkles in the top. Also, getting caught in the rain with the top down has only one outcome; you are going to get wet, period! Rolling down all the windows and even unzipping the back window is acceptable and produces a ‘breezeway’ affect and in my mind is pretty cool (no pun intended). However, if the car is a retractable hard-top I am okay with putting the top down. I must admit there has been a couple times I have put the top down on a car that was equipped with air conditioning on full blast, but by enlarge the tops stay up.


Most of my car friends know how I feel about putting the top down on convertibles. And when spring rolls around it is not unusual for them to ask the annual question, ‘Hey Al, are you going to put the top   down this year’? My answer is the same as years’ past, ‘No’! Even my kids get in my case about putting the tops down on the convertibles. To this point this past fall my wife suggested that we put a new top on the ’64 Pontiac GTO. The car for the most part, is an original car with a few modern updates. Up until last fall it still sported the original top which was not that bad except for a clouded back plastic window, a small hole near the back window and some discoloration.  The interior of the GTO is dark navy blue and we decided to replace the vinyl white top with a Hartz cloth dark blue top. The body color is Yorktown blue which is a light metallic blue. Just to be clear, Pontiac never offered a blue top back in ’64 and my wife and I know that is not original, but the outcome is stunning, in our opinion. Now for my daughter.


She was upset that we put a new top on the GTO. I told her the top is not going down on the GTO as long as I am alive. She, like my friends, dished out a little ‘chin music’ to me but with little effect on me. In her heart she knows the GTO really looks great with the contrasting navy blue Hartz cloth top with no wrinkles to be seen. If you are planning to go to the mid-winter ‘Back to the Bricks’ Chrome & Ice indoor car show in early February, you will have the opportunity to see the GTO on display near the spring ‘Back to the Bricks Promo Tour’ registration booth. Let me know what you think about the top but don’t expect to see it go down anytime soon. LOL!

Keep on Rollin'

Al Hatch

Founder of the Back to the Bricks® 

Chairman Emeritus

Back to the Bricks® Scholarship Program

Back to the Bricks® awards a total of $10,000 in post-secondary scholarships each year. The Scholarship Program provides assistance to high school seniors in Flint and Genesee County who are pursuing post-secondary study/training at a college or technical school in auto-body repair/painting, automotive design, auto mechanics, electrical/manufacturing/mechanical engineering, robotics, sales and marketing, software development for automotive applications, welding, or a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) related program.

Application deadline is Friday, May 5th 2023

See our WEBSITE for full details

Check what's new with

Ceramic Pro TRI-COUNTY

They have a special going on for all our car enthusiasts, and don't forget to come see them at Chrome & Ice

CLICK HERE for more details!

Stay updated on our events by visiting our website!
Back to the Bricks® | Website
Facebook  Instagram  Linkedin