Flint, MI — August 17, 2019
The bricks on Saginaw Street in downtown Flint hold a special connection to the past. To some, it’s a sacred place that evokes memories of cruising with the top down in the cool night air of Michigan.
This past Saturday it was easy to envision that by-gone era as the community hosted the annual Back To The Bricks Classic Car Show
Police shooting hoops with kids in a parking lot, women dressed in poodle skirts, music blasting from all different eras, and the classic cars lined up from beyond McFarland’s Park to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department—as far as the eye can see. These are the sights and sounds of downtown Flint every August for the last 15 years.
Growing up in the Flint area, meant you were a part of the automotive community. Most everyone knew someone who worked in an automobile factory or a car shop. Area car shows were a staple of your childhood and community.
Not Your Average Car Show
Back to the Bricks isn’t a typical car show. It was conceived to create civic pride and to educate about the heritage and legacy of “Vehicle City”. The show attracts visitors from across the state and country. With statues of Flint’s greatest automakers sprinkling the brick street and the various brands and style of cars on display. Back to the Bricks attracts car lovers from everywhere.
Drawing crowds in excess of 500,000, people stroll the mile stretch of Saginaw Street in downtown Flint. Older folks reminiscing of simpler times and fond car memories. Young people admiring cool rides and custom restorations. There is a flavor of car for everyone to admire, fantasize and drool over. From the garage kept prizes, to the Michigan weather-beaten projects. There are even owners looking to sell and buy projects while roaming the downtown area.
Just an Average Car Owner
Some owners attracted to the bricks bring cars they have owned since they drove them off the lot. Joe Persi, the owner of a local Davison Pizzeria is that guy. Listening to him speak about the miles he has put on his Ford Mustang clearly shows his passion for classic cars. An everyday car for a while, Joe drove his Mustang through Michigan roads with snow tires for about 50,000 miles.
Joe then hung up the keys and only showed his baby at car shows for many years. But, his real passion was burning deep down. Persi still loves to show off his dark red pony while tearing up a quarter-mile track with friends. He has made it to the finals in a number of different drag races and loves every second behind the wheel.
Cars like Joe’s and so many others that we love to see glisten at the end of the night. When the lights on Saginaw Street start blinking, the cars purr to life and cruise slowly down the red bricks one more time. Blending history with the present and Flint back together with one common interest—Cars.