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Classic Corvettes at Friday's Concours

Don Hall with his classic car. Photos by Rachel Hyde (click for larger version)

Gary Claudio (click for larger version)
August 04, 2010 - BY RACHEL HYDE

Special to the Clarkston News

Those in Depot Park on Friday, Aug. 6 can anticipate seeing at least two Corvettes at Concours in the Park, an annual Clarkston SCAMP fundraiser. In its 24th year, the event will feature a car show, silent auction and food from 6 to 9 p.m.

"This is an eclectic show featuring sports cars, race cars, motorcycles and hand-built one-offs," said Event Chairperson Laura Respecki.

Respecki and her husband, Doug, have been chairpersons for 14 years. Waterford Hills Road Racing Inc. organizes Concours in the Park each year to benefit Clarkston SCAMP, a summer camp for children and young adults with special needs.

The show is designed to be family-friendly. Local food favorites such as Cooks Farm Dairy ice cream and Clarkston Union macaroni and cheese will be available for purchase at the food tent. Stars & Stripes Gymnastics Academy will also be present with their "mobile activity circuit," a transportable gymnastics course for kids.

The event is free to the public, but there is a $25 minimum donation fee for participants who want to show their car in Depot Park. All entrants should arrive between 5-5:45 p.m.

Participating vehicles have the opportunity to be named Best in Show, People's Choice, Judges' Choice and SCAMPers' Choice.

Before the show, there will also be an escorted cruise traveling to the event. This year, the route was extended to be 17 miles long.

To participate in the free cruise, car owners must arrive at Southern Motors on Dixie Highway by 4:45 p.m. The cruise ends at Depot Park, where Concours entrants can then place their cars. Participants can choose to be involved in just one of these activities or both.

It's not too late for interested car owners to show off their vehicles. Registering in advance is preferred, but entrants can also register at the park. A link to the form and more information can be found at www. clarkstonscamp.com.

"It's a good cause and an appealing venue," said Don Hall, who will be participating with his 1968 Corvette for the fourth time this year. The Clarkston resident said he retired in 2005 after 42 years with GM.

"The fact that it benefits SCAMP is key in its importance to me."

Hall said his favorite part of Concours is being able to talk to other car fans in the park. When it comes to his Corvette, the memories it evokes are most important to him.

"My wife and I have had five Corvettes over the years. We bought our first '68 in 1968 and continued to drive it for two years until our first child was born.

"Five years ago, when we started looking for a collector car, we found a 1968 427 in good shape for sale. Our choice was easy."

Hall said he likes to pick a few car shows to participate in each year.

"All of these shows and activities have their own character. We get to meet a lot of people with similar interests."

Park visitors can also expect to see modern vehicles at Concours, including a 2010 Corvette Grand Sport owned by Gary Claudio.

"If you cut me, I bleed Corvette," said Claudio, a Clarkston police officer and GM retiree. "Corvettes are America's sports car."

Claudio spent 28 years in the automotive industry, including several years as Corvette marketing manager.

"I always loved cars," he said. "It's nice to say that you enjoyed your job."

Last year, Claudio took his 1966 Corvette to Concours in the Park, where it won the judges' choice award. He sold it in February, opting for a special-ordered 2010 model.

"I wanted to experience the modern convenience," he explained.

With time constraints, he said he couldn't devote enough time to the upkeep of an older car. Concours is more relaxed than other shows and has "home town feeling."

"It's a nice family evening in a great community like Clarkston."

Claudio said he has been participating since 1995 and has been asked to be one of the judges this year.

As for the event's cause, Claudio said he is dedicated to charity. "Any time that you can help children — that's what it's all about."

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