Back to the Bricks®

March 2023 Newsletter

Happy first day of SPRING!

March 20th, 2023

Latest from the Chairman of the Board

Hello Back to the Bricks® Friends,

If you haven’t registered for our third annual Dust ‘em Off on May 21st yet, I encourage you to sign up soon, because it’s filling up fast. It’s our first show of the season, so it’s a good excuse to get the old classic, show car out, dust it off, wash it off, wax it and come enjoy the day with your old friends and make some new ones. It’s the beginning of an amazing 19th year of cool events to choose from. 

Save the date of June 30th for a car show celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Corvette. On June 30th 1953, the first of 30 Corvettes rolled off the assembly line in a plant off Van Slyke in Flint Michigan. We are working on gathering some amazing photos and information to share soon. It’s going to be a special Friday evening with music, door prizes, a concert and a great display of Corvettes. The complete details will be announced soon, but this event is open to everyone!

I grew up in Flint, and I always thought there was something special about the Corvette. My brother had a 1959, and I bought a new 1984. When I ordered it in 1982, it was supposed to be a 1983 anniversary edition but there were some many challenges with the new design that they moved my order to 1984. So, if someone tries to sell you a 1983, don’t believe them because the only one they didn’t destroy is in the Corvette National Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I did purchase a used 1999 Corvette Fixed Roof Coupe in 2019. I really like the design of the C5 because it was a completely new design, frame, body, suspension and engine. I found this one in Hemmings classified in 2016. When I called about it, the gentleman told me he decided to keep it, so I asked him to keep my number and call me when he decided to sell it. Well, three years later he called me, and the rest is history. He owned it for 10 years and the original owner owned it 10 years. I hope to own it for a long, long time. It’s fun to drive with a 6-speed tranny. I love going through the gears. It’s bright red and it came with a book: “ALL CORVETTES ARE RED, ALL OTHERS ARE MISTAKES”

I want to thank all our Partners and Sponsors for all their continued support. Amber has been working hard to find a spot for anyone that has a desire to support our large and ever growing organization. We are making a pretty big announcement soon, so be on the lookout for a special email and on social media. 

Regards, and I am really looking forward to seeing you this year,

Thank you, 

Al Jones

Chairman of the Board

Back to the Bricks®


Founders Promo Tour is Filling UP!!!!

Each June the Back to the Bricks® Annual Promo Tour provides an opportunity of adventure and camaraderie for hundreds of classic car owners. The six-day tour is designed to do two things: (1) promote all Back to the Bricks® events, especially the August “Main Event” car show held in downtown Flint, Michigan, and (2) showcase each participating city’s unique features and foster economic development.

There's still time to register and take part in this year's tour to Adrian Michigan, Auburn Indiana, South Bend Indiana, and then to Battle Creek Michigan to wrap up the tour.

Fellow participant gives testimony

Thomas Maybourne of Pleasant Lake, recently chatted with us about the Promo Tour. He mentioned that, "The Promo Tour is a great way to travel around the state and beyond. Road Tripping with likeminded car people around the state is the best way to see all that the various areas have to offer."

When asked about the friends he has made, "Being able to make new friends on every tour makes it even more enjoyable." He goes on to say that the open structure of the travel between the stops allows more time to make even more friends along the way.

Should everyone go on the tour we asked, "Absolutely! The memories and the fun you make and have makes it so worth it."

Get all the information on the tour here!!

Founders Promo Tour

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

"The Wizard"

By: Gary Fisher

President - Genesee County Historical Society

March 18th was the anniversary of the death of “The Wizard of Flint”, William C. “Billy” Durant. He was the founder of the Flint Road Cart and Durant Dort vehicle/carriage companies, savior of Buick, creator of General Motors, Chevrolet, Frigidaire, AC Spark Plug (With Albert Champion) and several other firms. Durant was without question one of the best people in the history of American business and culture. His influence touched most of the major automobile companies outside of Ford.

Besides creating the companies, he worked with, mentored, coached, or collaborated with a literal all-star cast of innovators and titans of the industry including: Dallas Dort, Walter Marr, Eugene Richard, David Buick, James Whiting, Louis Chevrolet, Charles Nash, C.S. Mott, and Albert Champion to name a few. 

The Flint Journal reported his death this way on March 18th, 1947:

W.C. Durant, 85 founder of General Motors and Flint’s “industrial wizard” who three times toppled from virtual czardom in the motor industry, died at 2:15 A.M. today in his Gramercy Park apartment in New York City. Funeral arrangements have not been announced. His wife and nurse were with him when he died. 

Mr. Durant who led in Flint’s development, had been in poor health since suffering a slight stroke here October 2nd, 1942. While in Hurley Hospital, where he was confined until December 15th of that year, he underwent a major operation. 

Despite his condition, he was in Detroit briefly a year ago. There, in 1940, heads of the corporation which he had twice controlled saluted him at a celebration taking place when the 25 millionth GM car came off of the Chevrolet assembly line here. 

Although his actual residence had been in New Jersey or New York for many years, he always considered Flint home, “the finest and friendliest city in America.” Here he began one of the most remarkable careers in industrial history. Most of his major enterprises centered here and are still the bait of Flint’s industrial prowess, although his interests here were modest in recent years.

Excerpt from The Flint Journal, Tuesday March 18th 1947

His holdings by 1947 were modest because Durant had lost his entire fortune in an attempt to prop up his and his investors holdings during the Great Depression. Undaunted, he started Flint’s first fast food drive-in restaurant and a family friendly bowling alley. His vision was for a chain of fast food restaurants from “coast to coast.” As usual his dream was spot on and ahead of the McDonald brothers and their successor/partner Ray Kroc by a decade. 

His story was inexplicably virtually erased from the history books, and not even taught in the Flint School system. Today books get him and his story completely wrong, often characterizing him as a wild eyed speculator and gambler, or worse. While he was indeed a gambler, and took risks some would call crazy, he almost always prevailed. That makes him more prescient than wild eyed by magnitudes of order. 

Incredibly, and almost without peer, over his illustrious career he dominated three industries- carriages, automobiles, and finance. His influence on Wall Street at his peak was such that the entire stock market often moved at his hand. 

It’s not just Flint, and the United States that owes Durant a debt of gratitude, but the entire world. Here in The Vehicle City we will work to get him and his story right. Most of all we will respectfully and fondly remember ‘The Man”, the builder of empires, catalyst of innovation, dreamer of dreams that he helped millions realize, and creator of an entire way of life. 

That’s our Billy Durant. Today we take a moment to salute him on the anniversary of his death. 

Gary L. Fisher


Genesee County Historical Society

William C. “Billy” Durant

Newspaper from The Flint Journal March 18th, 1947

To learn more about the Genesee County Historical Society Click HERE

Al's Garage

Al’s Garage

Vol. 4, Issue #3

"Keeping the faith"

I suspect you may be wondering, what is ‘Al’ thinking about now?  Is this going to be a sermon or what!

I can assure you it is not a sermon but possibly could be thought of as one.  In the past you have read numerous articles on the joy of touring with your favorite collectible mode of transportation, which in most cases, is a car. Spring is officially here!!! April’s weather can be very unpredictable but as May arrives, most of the winter blahs have been shaken off.  

As most of you know, the arrival of June represents the 13th Annual Promo Tour, which has been titled the ‘Founders Tour’ and by then you should have your favorite car ready to go. I have heard in the past from some car owners, ‘we have been to all of the overnight stops in past years, and I don’t think I want to go this year’!  If I was a betting person, I could ask each of you, ‘yes, we have been there but can you tell me a little bit about Adrian or how about Auburn?  Or better yet, ‘how about South Bend or Battle Creek’?  Nine out of ten times I am given a blank stare!  So, what is the point?

The point is getting the collector car out and exercising it and enjoying the scenery of the back roads of the countryside.  How about meeting new friends?  If you are not a shy person you will have plenty of time to make new friends that hopefully last for many years.  You may see something along the roadside that grabs your attention then pull over and look over what caught your eye.  Who knows you found the hubcap that fell off of the car you were following.  That should be worth an adult beverage later in the day from the owner of the car you were following!  Worried about your car breaking down?  Don’t be!  The ‘BttB’ has you covered.  They have two certified ASE mechanics on the tour ‘PLUS’ an enclosed trailer in case the breakdown cannot be fixed on the roadside or parking lot.  Of the previous twelve tours I can only remember one car having to be trailered back home.  This speaks volumes about the mechanics that are there to help you out.  Obviously, the owners are responsible for parts and there is no charge for labor, but encourage the owners needing assistance to offer something to the mechanics for the services they offer.

The most important thing about getting your car(s) out for a drive is that you get to enjoy the labor of love that you have put into it.  In some cases years or in other cases dipping into the savings account to buy for your favorite ride.  No matter what the circumstances are, you earned it.  Will the car accumulate road rash?  In most cases the more you drive your car the greater the risk.  But keep in mind, they can be fixed and the memories you chalk up will be with you right up to the end.  Why save your ride only to learn that the person that brought it from you is having a ball at your expense.  Have some ‘faith’ in your car and enjoy it while you can.  Don’t wait as the older we get, the faster time flies by.  See you on the tour and maybe even at one of the many yard sales that we pass!

Keep on Rollin'

Al Hatch

Founder of the Back to the Bricks® 

Chairman Emeritus

Back to the Bricks® Merchandise

Get your Back to the Bricks Official Merchandise!!!

You can get what you want before the next event. See our Merchandise Store online, order and have shipped to you or pickup at Kidd Company in Clio.


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