2021 Spring Brunch

As the year 2021 progresses, the country is slowly getting back to normal from the pandemic.  The Board didn’t think we’d be able to have the event, but with some creativity from our Social Director, Diane Cipponeri, she was able to find us a new venue, with an outdoor tent.  In addition to the beautiful grounds, we also were able to save money and offer our members a fantastic discount.

This year, the Brunch was held at the Italian American Cultural Society on the east side.  Traditionally the Brunch is held in May, but this year, having it in June, gave us a beautiful sunny “summer” day.  Everyone was excited to reunite with old friends and make new ones.  Our President, Mike Sutton, welcomed all attendees, then introduced the Charter members, along with the new members, who joined after the 2019 Brunch.  There were approximately 87 in attendance, with 42 Vipers.  It was a spectacular site to behold in the parking lot, for the group photo.

Along with the fantastic meal, members were able to partake in a silent auction, 50/50 and prize raffle, Viper jewelry sales, and special one-of-a-kind, stained glass Lighthouse, donated by Sam Milana, which recently took top honors at an exhibit.  There was also a raffle for the very creative “tire” centerpieces, created by Diane.

Congratulations to the winners:
Viper Jewelry – Bryan & Julie Aitken
Lighthouse – Susan Andring
50/50 – 2 winners – Mariann Litznerski & Greg Farrelly
Also congratulations to all our Silent Auction winners.

We also award at the Brunch, the Joyce Allen Member of the Year award.  Due to the pandemic, and the cancellation of the 2020 Brunch, we were celebrating 2 winners.  Rather than try to determine a Member of the Year, for the past couple “crazy” years, we decided that each would receive a dual 2020/2021 Member of the Year award.

The Vice President, Gary Rappaport, was honored to give the awards to Marty Heitkamp and Rick Jakacki.  We are truly honored to have both of these members in our club and want to congratulate them on their well deserved awards.

After the meal, we were served 2 beautiful MCVO/Viper cakes for desert.

As members were saying their goodbyes, we know that there is a full schedule of events, and this year it won’t be long before we see each other again soon.

We want to thank Mike and Diane Cipponeri for all the love and hard work they put into this event.  It truly shows in every aspect.  We also want to thank all the volunteers who came early and/or stayed late, to help with this fantastic day.

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2021 Spring Brunch

2021 Snakes Invade Shelby Township

May 2021 has been a strange month for weather.  The week previous to our event, it was warm and sunny with temps around 80.  The day before, we had a lot of rain, with temps dropping to around 40’s.  Thankfully, on the day, it was dry, with sunny skies, windy and temps approaching 60.

This year for our Third Annual Snakes Invade Shelby, we were hosted by The Godfather Cigar Bar and Bistro.  I can honestly say, I’ve never been to a cigar bar, but I was visibly impressed with their facility.  Also, from our initial conversations, all the way thru to the completion, our host, co-owner, Brandon, went out of his way to make sure our group was well taken care of.  Brandon offered us discounts on our food, an abbreviated special Viper menu (as well as a full menu) with many great lunch options, and there were hourly raffle prizes.

The turnout may have been a little light due to the holiday weekend, but we still had an impressive showing of Vipers in his lot.  We had 22 in attendance with 14 Vipers, and everyone seemed to be having a great time hanging out.  We had a couple of beautiful examples: John Bieleniewicz came in his gorgeous Gen 5 green ACR, and John Wright came in his newly acquired classic Gen 2 GTSR.

Thanks again to our host, Brandon, and we look forward to our 4th Annual Snakes Invade, at The Godfather Bistro.  We also want to thank Ann Rappaport and Sam Milana for the attached photos.

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2021 Snakes Invade Shelby Township

2021 May Cruise Night – Red Ox Tavern

It appears we finally turned a corner weather-wise here in Michigan, in the third week of May.  We couldn’t have picked a more picture perfect day, with temperature hovering around 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.

Our original plan was to have our Cruise Night at a Red Ox in Utica, but at the last minute, the restaurant had closed.  Our Cruise Night Director, Mike Cipponeri, sprung into action and was able to secure us another Red Ox Tavern, but in Auburn Hills.  They were very accommodating with plenty of secure parking, and a private room for us to gather.  In addition, the restaurant was now following the latest CDC guidelines where those fully vaccinated could go mask-free.  It was quite exhilarating to be able to see all our member’s smiling faces.  You could also tell there was a lot of pent up demand to get out and socialize with our Viper family.  We had a fantastic turnout with about 21 Vipers and 43 in attendance.

Unfortunately, it was also a sad night where we had to say goodbye to Tony Smith, who will be taking a new job in Texas.  A beautiful cake was brought and shared with the club, to show Tony, we will truly miss him.

Our thanks to Mike Cipponeri for putting together a great evening along with the staff of Red Ox who made sure all 43 of us felt welcome.

(Note: To view all photos for this event, move your mouse or cursor toward the picture, then click on the directional arrows that will appear.)  You may also click on a photo where you’ll be sent to Flickr and can download your favorite.
2021 May Cruise - Red Ox Tavern

2021 Spring Tech Day

This year due to Covid and a cold spring, we’ve gotten off to a slow start but we’re starting to gain momentum.  Our Spring Tech Day was held in May, and with the sun shining and temperatures hitting 70, it was a nice change from the last few weeks.  We also got another “breath of fresh air” with the news from the CDC that those who are fully vaccinated can start to resume a more normal life and begin to remove their masks in certain settings.

Our Motorsports Director, Tony Smith, working with our host Scot Rickord, from Prefix, put on an informative and enjoyable session.  They were joined by Dick Winkles, who has been on the Viper Team for years and is highly regarded in the world of Viper for his expertise on our V-10 engines.  Our President, Mike Sutton, started off the session with a brief introduction, and introduced the Board members present.  Scot then gave a brief overview of what Prefix had to offer Viper owners, by the way of repair and modifications to their cars.  Tony, Scot and Dick then opened the session up for questions, which then led into a great give and take from the audience and our “panel”.

We had a great turnout with 29 in attendance and 20 Vipers.  For those of our members who are out of the country or were unable to attend, Mike Sutton recorded the session and will upload to YouTube, so we may publicize the link.

We want to take this opportunity to thank Tony, Dick and Scot for hosting our group.  It is also with great sadness that Tony announced he is leaving Michigan for a fantastic job offer in Texas.  We wish him well and good luck in his new career.

Mike Sutton and Tony worked together to film the event for our Canadian members who were unable to attend.  You may click on the following links to watch the videos.

MCVO 2021 Spring Tech Day – Prefix Part 1 – YouTube

MCVO 2021 Spring Tech Day – Prefix – Part 2 – YouTube

MCVO 2021 Spring Tech Day – Prefix – Part 3 – YouTube

MCVO 2021 Spring Tech Day – Prefix – Part 4 – YouTube

MCVO 2021 Spring Tech Day – Prefix – Part 5 – YouTube

MCVO 2021 Spring Tech Day – Prefix – Part 6 – YouTube

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2021 Spring Tech Day

2021 April Cruise Night – 5th Tavern

With the ongoing pandemic and winter weather, this was the first opportunity for our members to gather together in 2021.  The weather in Michigan can be described as chaotic, at best.  It’s the 3rd week of April and we had snow accumulation the day before.

We had 18 stout members come out on a cold, 40 degree evening, and 5 die-hards, who brought their Vipers.  We’d also like to welcome one of our newest members, Patrick O’Hara, who joined this fantastic group, for a fun evening.

The event was held at 5th Tavern, of Bloomfield Hills, where they consistently have offered us great food, service and our own private room.

Our thanks to our new Cruise Night Director, Mike Cipponeri, for coordinating this event.  We look forward to the many events he has planned for us.  We also want to thank Bruce Heckman, for taking the time to photograph the event.

(Note: To view all photos for this event, move your mouse or cursor toward the picture, then click on the directional arrows that will appear.)   You may also click on a photo where you’ll be sent to Flickr and can download your favorite.
2021 April Cruise Night - 5th Tavern

2020 Veterans Day Parade

15th Annual Detroit Veterans Day Parade
This year the theme is “SALUTING OUR WOMEN VETERANS”

The Metropolitan Detroit Veterans Coalition (MDVC) exists to give veterans a platform to continue to serve their communities.  They seek to inspire patriotism through civic, patriotic events and community initiatives, bringing citizens, our youth, active military and veterans together for a common cause.

To keep our community safe, the Veterans Coalition held a virtual parade, which MCVO participated in.

The parade will be broadcast/streamed this Wednesday, allowing veterans and spectators to watch from the safety of their homes.

It was an honor for MCVO to have been invited.  We had 7 Vipers following the MCVO/Veterans Day banner, which was carried by Lori Emerling and Susan Andring.

We encourage all our members to watch the stream from the comfort of their homes.  The parade will be shown on November 11th, starting at 11am.
You may click here to be taken to the broadcast.

We also want to take this opportunity to thank our members and their families who have served, or are currently serving, in the armed forces for their sacrifice to our country.

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2020 Veterans Day Parade

2020 Fall Tech Day

On November 7th, our Motorsports Director, Mike Sutton arranged for us to visit PMD Garage, in Pontiac.

The weather has been unusually warm for the last few days, with highs around 70’s.  Unfortunately, some of our members had already placed their cars in hibernation, prior to the warmer weather, but a few diehards were looking for a good reason to drive to another event.  We had a good turnout with 19 in attendance and 9 Vipers.

Our host, Gordon Heidacker, who was a former Executive with Chrysler, and involved in the original development of the Viper.  Gordon introduced his team and gave us a very informative talk on what PMD is doing today and working on for the future.  From advanced Viper engine development to building state of the art electric karts for M1 Concourse, PMD Garage has fascinating development projects that you will never see anywhere else.  Gordon also mentioned that they are investigating creating Viper parts that are no longer available to the public.  Our members loved the idea and were quick to make suggestions of parts they are unable to find.

After Gordon’s talk, members roamed around their very unusual building to see the various classic cars being stored or projects underway.

We want to thank Mike for coordinating this fun event and Gordon for taking the time to host our group.

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2020 Fall Tech Day

2020 October Cruise Night – Luigi’s

We’ve now settled into cooler days, as the month of October comes to a close. The morning of the 21st, saw rain in the early hours but dried up by mid-day.  It actually turned out to be a beautiful day with sun and temps in the hi-50’s.

Our Cruise Director, Rick Jakacki, found us a new venue on the west side, called Luigi’s Trattoria Pizzeria, in Livonia.  In addition, our Cruise-Maestro, Bob Swartz, created a mini fall cruise to the restaurant from Waterford.

Luigi’s was very accommodating for our group with parking in the rear, our own waitstaff and tables outdoors.  Members were given the choice of inside or outside dining.  Most opted for dining alfresco.  We had 12 Vipers and 23 in attendance.

While the sun was still out, it was quite pleasant dining outside.  Once the sun set, it got a little chilly, but everyone braved the cold and had a great time, enjoying great food and great company.

Our beloved Diane Cipponeri got a little chilled and our very debonair Tony Smith jumped in to save a damsel in distress.

Traditionally there are no Cruise Nights in November or December, so it was good to see everyone for our last Cruise Night of the year.  Hopefully for the new year, we’ll have some new options for getting together.

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2020 October Cruise Night - Luigi's

2020 Lutz Do a Fall Color Tour

As Michigan heads in fall, the weather in October can be a gamble, but on Saturday the 10th, it turned out to be spectacular.  The morning started out on the cool side but the temps quickly rose, and headed to a high of about 75 degrees.

Our Coordinator, Jon Block, came up with a event, that beat almost all of our attendance records.  In addition to a fall cruise, Jon was able to have our club go to the Lutz Farm (as in Bob), and meet the legend himself.  As you can imagine, the event registration was off the charts.  There were over a 130 in attendance with 66 Vipers.

The attendees met in the morning at a central location, and headed off in their respective groups, arranged by Viper “generations”.  Each group left at 10 minute intervals, and enjoyed a scenic ride thru Michigan’s fall colors.  Eventually each group rolled into the Lutz Farm in order of production.  We were in awe of the beautiful sprawling grounds which included swans in their scenic pond, endless green pastures to park the cars, an all purpose “garage” now used for events and a soon to be finished “addition” to a barn.  Our members and their guest enjoyed lunch, salad, cake and beverages, courtesy of MCVO.

One of our invited guests, Jean Mallebay-Vacqueur, former Director of Chrysler’s Scientific Lab and General Manager of Special Projects was able to attend and enjoy this special day honoring Bob.  Our Coordinator, Jon, presented Bob with a personal gift of a Gen 1 Viper model, with all 130 names that attended that day, written on the car.  MCVO also presented Bob with a few mementos and gifts from our club.

Bob Lutz graciously autographed everything that was placed in front of him, including all manner of car parts.  With his cigar in hand, each of us will remember meeting this man who did so much for the auto industry, and our historic visit.

We want to thank Jon Block who spent countless hours and sleepless nights preparing for this event.  We also want to thank the small army of volunteers who helped with every aspect and made sure nothing was overlooked.  This is only a small list, but we need to make sure these people are recognized for their efforts.  Many were working behind the scenes and never got a chance to enjoy the cruise or gatherings.  They are: Mike/Diane Cipponeri, Bob Swartz, Mike Sutton, Susan Andring, Rick Jakacki, and Marianne Peggie.

Lastly, our sincere thanks go to Bob Lutz and his wife Terri, who let us come to their farm and entertain well over a hundred people.  Years from now, our members will still be talking about this day.

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Mike Doljevic consistently takes some beautiful photos and this event was no exception.  You may click here to be taken, to his collection.

2020 Lutz Do a Fall Color Tour

2020 September Cruise Night – Little Daddy’s

The weather in Michigan has been gradually cooling with temps in the 60’s to 70’s. Mother Nature apparently wanted us to have a beautiful cruise night and provided us with a high of 82 degrees and sunny skies all day. Even as we went into the evening, it was still very pleasant. The very next day, the temps dropped back to being only a high of 60.

Little Daddy’s loves classic cars and has hosted many local clubs with their large parking lot and excellent service. They even offered us inside seating and outside tables, near our cars, for those that felt more comfortable being outside. We had our own waitress outside, Dawn, who took fantastic care of everyone.

We had a great turnout with 17 Vipers and 30 in attendance. We had a couple of notable “news” items: Paul Choukourian stopped by in his beautiful Ford GT. We had a couple, Jim and Kathy Kos, who recently joined our Facebook group. They saw our post and decided to come mingle with the group. Hopefully, they’ll decide to join our club.

The club purchased humous and pita as an appetizer, and everyone had a great time catching up with their Viper club mates.

We want to thank our Club Cruise Night Director, Rick Jakacki, for a fantastic evening. We know it’s a difficult task to find restaurants, that have great parking, food and service for a group to meet, during the pandemic. We also want to thank Ann Rappaport for the photos.

(Note: To view all photos for this event, move your mouse or cursor toward the picture, then click on the directional arrows that will appear.)  You may also click on a photo where you’ll be sent to Flickr and can download your favorite.
2020 September Cruise Night - Little Daddy's