2022 May Cruise Night – Griffin Claw Brewing

May has been a strange month weather-wise for Michigan.  It’s been unseasonably cold and only in the last couple days did we turn a corner.  To further complicate things we went from cold to 80-degree weather overnight, almost skipping spring.  Unfortunately, our luck didn’t hold for the Cruise Night, we went back to cold (50’s) and rain.

Our Cruise Night Director, Mike Cipponeri, found a new venue in Rochester Hills, called Griffin Claw Brewing.  His intention was to have us dine alfresco in our private area off the main dining room, but instead they had the “walls” up and the heaters on full blast.  We still had a nice evening catching up with friends, drinking good beer and eating from their diverse menu.  MCVO supplied a nice variety of appetizers for those attending.

Even with the cold and rain we had a nice turnout of 23 in attendance, but unfortunately there were no Vipers.

Our thanks to Mike for taking the time to plan these events, along with the staff at Griffin Claw.  Also, thanks to Ann Rappaport for the photos.

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2022 May Cruise Night - Griffin Claw Brewing

2022 Spring Tech Day

Our Spring Tech Day was held near the end of April and as we mentioned in a previous entry, the weather has been all over the map.  Earlier in the week we had 2 inches of snow, and literally 5 days later they were calling for 80-degree weather for the weekend. Unfortunately, the evening prior to the Tech Day we had some rain, and the roads were still wet.  With all this uncertainty, we still had a great turnout of 12 Vipers and 51 attendees.

Our Motorsports Director, Paul McClorey found a unique location for all of us gearheads. Thanks to our host, Lee Carducci, we were able to visit McLaren Engineering.  Given the specialized nature of their business, we were asked not to take any photos inside, thus you’ll only see our group in the lobby or outside.  This did not diminish our tour, since we were able to view their fantastic facility and their state-of-the-art capabilities.  They say it best: “The Mobility segment is subdivided into three regional groups: North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Within the Mobility segment, the regional groups are vertically integrated operations combining expertise in light metal casting, forging, machining and assembly for both the global electrified and traditionally powered vehicle markets.

The Mobility segment products are focused on both components and systems for new energy powertrains, body and chassis, driveline, engine and transmission systems of these vehicles. In addition to the recently formed eLIN Product Solutions Group that focuses on Electrification, McLaren Engineering provides design, development, and testing services for the Mobility segment.

Seeing the groundbreaking that is going on today for electric vehicles, there is still nothing sweeter than the sound of a high-performance gas engine running on their dyno.

The club provided coffee and donuts prior to the tour and our Cruise Maestro, Bob Swartz, found and led, those that wanted to have lunch, to a nice restaurant, near Walled Lake.

Our thanks to Lee and his staff for coming in on Saturday, to show us their facility.  We also want to thank Paul and Bob for their efforts in setting up the event and lunch.  Paul has recently come on the Board but is already finding unique events for us to do, and Bob is a “rock star” in the club for his contributions all year long.

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2022 Spring Tech Day

2022 April Cruise Night – 5th Tavern

Here we are in the third week of April and two days before our Cruise night, we had 2 inches of snow.  On the day of the event, the snow is gone, but we barely hit 50 degrees, and there has been a light rain.

Our Cruise Night host, Mike Cipponeri, brought us back to the always enjoyable, 5th Tavern.  They never fail to disappoint with great food and service.  The menu has a wide variety of choices and everything we’ve ordered has always been very tasty.

Considering it was a cold, gray evening, we had 30 intrepid souls come out for a fun evening to see old friends.  Many of our members travel to warmer weather during the winter and this is the first time we’ve seen some of our friends in months.

We even had 2 courageous members (Mike Sutton and Dave Buchesky) who brought their Vipers.  Our thanks to Mike and his lovely wife, Diane, for putting on an enjoyable evening and making us all feel so welcome.

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2022 April Cruise Night - 5th Tavern

2022 Winter Party

Our Winter Party is traditionally held in late February but with many of our members on vacation it was held in late March this year.  Unfortunately, winter is not letting go anytime soon.  Our temps were in the low 30’s with the “real feel” around mid-20’s.  You can tell that everyone is anxiously awaiting spring.

This is our second event at the Italian American Cultural Center, on the east side.  The food and service are great, and their prices are very fair.  With their pricing and the club subsidy, we were able to offer an open bar, for the same price as last year, with a cash bar, at another location.

The food is served buffet style, with a wide variety of entree selections, along with salad and desert.  After dinner the members played various “Vegas” games (roulette, blackjack), along with our very popular Viper Racing.  The games are all for fun and in the end, prizes are awarded randomly, with raffle tickets.  Almost everyone is a winner!  Diane also had a few extra gifts to raffle off, so hopefully no one went home empty-handed.

During the evening, tickets were sold for the 50/50 raffle and our big winner was Mike Prudhomme.  Congrats Mike!

We had one of the largest turnouts in years with 54 in attendance.

Our sincere thanks to Mike and Diane Cipponeri. Their love of the club and its members shows in every event they plan.  We also want to thank the blackjack dealers and volunteers who helped with setup and cleanup.

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2022 Winter Party

2022 March Cruise Night

Our beloved Cruise Night Director, Mike Cipponeri and his lovely wife, Diane, have been enjoying their time out of state.  In the interim, Mike Sutton has been helping out with planning the February and March Cruise Nights.

Mike found a nice spot on the west side, in Northville, called Mission BBQ, where the interior is covered wall-to-wall with photos and tributes to first responders and our great military veterans.  The Cipponeri’s were on hand to lend their support with checking everyone in and handing out badges.

There was a wide variety of smoked meats and poultry, along with tasty side dishes.  One of our favorites for the evening was the cheesy potatoes.

It was a beautiful evening with temps in the low 60’s.  We had a great turnout with 31 in attendance and we actually had 4 Vipers.  For those of us that still have our snakes in hibernation, it was nice to see and hear those Vipers.

The restaurant has a counter, where each member went to order their respective meals. With this arrangement it was impossible to have a club sponsored hors d’oeuvres tray for each table.  Instead, Mike and Diane came up with a fun drawing where numerous members won small cash prizes.

Mike Sutton and Mike Cipponeri gave a brief overview of upcoming events, and everyone is truly excited for the season to begin in earnest.

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2022 March Cruise Night

2021 Holiday Party

Our Holiday Party was held this year at the Italian American Cultural Center.  The Center was beautifully decorated for the Christmas Holiday.  This is the one time of year our members come out in the festive attire, with men wearing suits or tuxes and women wearing their beautiful gowns and dresses.  It was quite fun to see our members who we traditionally see in jeans and t-shirts all dressed up!

We had a great turnout with 78 in attendance and one stalwart member, Dave Buchesky, who even drove there in his Gen 2 Viper.  It was great seeing members, who we hadn’t seen in some time and catching up on our latest adventures.  All of our cars are put into hibernation with a few members heading south for the winter soon.  It was bittersweet knowing we wouldn’t be seeing each other for a few months.

Our hosts, Mike and Diane Cipponeri, along with the staff of the Cultural Center, showed everyone a great time.  Diane was able to secure an open bar, even with the super discounted price we paid for the evening, and everyone was enjoying the free adult beverages but in moderation.

We feasted on numerous entrees, salad and side dishes and everything was delicious.  The meal was topped off with a sampling of sweets.  After our meal, Diane gave out numerous gifts to the members with unique and creative games.  One of the games required everyone to get up on the dance floor, and dance until the music stopped.  At that time, they had to “pre-decide” whether the coin toss would be heads or tails and indicate that on their own body.  Eventually only one person remained on the floor after numerous tosses, was declared the winner, and awarded a prize.

Our thanks go out to Mike and Diane for all the hard work they put into making this a memorable evening.  We also want to thank Ann Rappaport, for taking photos throughout the evening, with a small sampling below.

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2021 Holiday Party

2021 November Cruise Night

November in Michigan has been a rude reminder that winter is approaching.  We were lulled into having a very mild and warm fall but recently the temps have been falling into the 40’s.  In a strange about face, we had a 60 degree day for our Cruise Night, but with some rain off and on.

Our Cruise Night Director, Mike Cipponeri, found us a new venue to visit.  Our last Cruise Night of the year was held at Joe Kool’s in Troy.  Mike was a little concerned that no one would show, but we were all pleasantly surprised by the support, with 25 in attendance.  We also want to acknowledge the one lone Viper in attendance, brought by Marty Heitkamp.  Unfortunately, the rain resumed while we were dining.  Marty graciously invited us all back to his home to help him wash his car.

Our thanks to Mike and lovely wife, Mom Viper, Diane Cipponeri, for being gracious hosts and consistently working to make this the best Viper club in the country.  Everyone had a great time.  The food and service were fantastic and our thanks go out to the staff at Joe Kool’s.  Lastly, our thanks go out to Ann Rappaport, for recording another fun Cruise Night.

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2021 November Cruise Night

Fall Tech Day

Our weather in Michigan took a turn towards winter with temps dropping to the 40’s and the threat of snow for our Fall Tech Day.  Fortunately we didn’t see any snow, but a light rain arrived during our event.  We had a fantastic response to our signup with 36 in attendance but sadly no Vipers were present, with most of us beginning to place our Vipers into hibernation.

Our Fall Tech Day was held at the garage of Wil and Carrie Thorne.  For those of you who do not know Wil or his services, he has been working on Vipers for over a decade.  He has been slowly buying up parts and specialized equipment needed to work on our cars.  He has recently expanded his services to include aligning our Vipers.

The session started with a brief overview on what we need to do to prepare our cars for winter storage.  Wil then went out for the remainder explaining the basics of our suspension and alignment process.  Wil stressed the importance of a pre-alignment inspection and repair.  He also stressed the need to have the car in properly prepared prior to alignment (full tank of gas, personal “ballast” removed).  A bad suspension part or even improperly inflated tires will affect the ride and tracking of the vehicle.  Wil then went thru the various steps of an alignment and how each affected the overall response to handling.  He stressed that many of the “cheaper” shops will not know about the many diverse ways that the Viper suspension can be tuned but most will actually cause more problems when they ignore a pre-inspection or incorrectly change a setting.

I think all of us were very impressed by Wil’s knowledge and expertise and will never take our cars to a “cheapie” alignment shop again.  Our thanks to our host, Wil and Carrie, who spent numerous hours preparing the shop and putting on a fantastic event.  Our thanks also to MCVO for providing the refreshments and Carrie for the pictures.  Lastly, we want to thank Ann Rappaport for taking additional photos which will be highlighted in the next edition of Snakes Bites.

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Fall Tech Day

2021 October Cruise – Grand Tavern

October can be a tricky month for planning a car event, but we’ve been fortunate this year. The evening of the Cruise Night, was going to be the last of the 70 degree days for the for seeable future. There was some speculation about a light sprinkle later in the evening, with everyone consulting their phones. You couldn’t ask for a prettier evening with a few members coming in their Gen 1’s without tops and windows.

For our October Cruise Night, our host, Mike Cipponeri, picked the Grand Tavern, located in Rochester Hills. We had a nice secluded area to park our cars and another indoors to dine with our friends. The club treated everyone with heaping plates of nachos, while we were waiting for our meals. The staff did a fantastic job of handling the large influx of people, all hungry and thirsty.  After the meal, Mike spoke to the members and thanked everyone for attending.  He let on that he was a little concerned, that when the clock rolled around to 6-ish, no one was showing up.

We didn’t let him down and shortly thereafter we had 33 in attendance with 20 Vipers.  A nice turnout indeed!

When we came out of the restaurant, we were a little surprised to see some rain on the cars, with the Gen 1’s getting their “interiors cleaned”.  Word quickly spread that rain was coming and everyone said their goodbye’s and made a hasty retreat home.  All in all it was a fantastic evening to see some we haven’t seen in awhile and a new face or two.  Dan Steele who was recently transferred to Michigan for work, came in his Gen 2, and we quickly pounced on him about membership.

Thanks again to Mike Cipponeri and the staff at Grand Tavern for an enjoyable evening.

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2021 October Cruise - Grand Tavern

2021 FrankenColor Cruise

Michigan weather in fall is always unpredictable.  We had been having some beautiful and very warm days prior to our event.  Unfortunately, the night before, we received a lot of rain and the weather turned very cold.  Our members were greeted with wet roads and temperatures hovering around low 40’s, that morning.  The Fall cruise to Frankenmuth has been one of our more popular events and we felt it was time to go again since we hadn’t been there since 2018.

Our Cruiser maestro, Bob Swartz and our new Motorsports Director, Paul McClorey, were able to bring together a fantastic event in short order after we heard many ask if we were going to have a fall cruise.  Our soggy, cold day started at Great Lakes Crossing and from there we cruised to Past Tense Cider Mill.  Their delicious pies were awarded to every member car that attended, courtesy of MCVO.  After a brief stay of shopping, cider and donuts, we cruised to Frankenmuth.  By this time the sun was beginning to peak out it was a gorgeous ride thru the countryside.  A few late arrivals met us at Frankenmuth and by that time we were 39 attendees and 15 Vipers strong.

We dined in the world famous Bavarian Inn restaurant, and everyone seemed to enjoy their meals. After our lunch, our members said their goodbyes and went off to explore the city.

We want to thank our coordinators, Bob Swartz and Paul McClorey for taking the time to put together a fantastic after for our club.  Also a quick shout of to the management at Past Tense and Bavarian Inn for working to make our stay seamless and enjoyable.

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2021 FrankenColor Cruise