Jerry Carr is one of the “old school” classic muscle car aficionados who gather most summer nights at the Woodward Avenue Shell Station in Royal Oak.
Carr lives the Woodward Dream Cruise life year-round. His friends, his grandchildren, everyone he knows are involved.
It’s easy for him, because he lives just five doors away, in a modest house with what appears to be a single-stall garage. But behind that narrow door a is triple-deep garage that contains all the equipment needed to restore and modify some of the most potent iron on the avenue.
He owns three Cruise-worthy cars: a race-prepared 1964 Chevy II with a blown 355-cubic-inch engine, methanol and nitrous injection; his 1929 Ford Model A Briggs Sedan with its 383-cubic-inch stroker engine; and a restored and modified 1970 Nova with a for sale sign in the window.
It had been a basket case that took three trailers to tow home all the parts. Now it has a 327-cubic-inch V-8 that generates an estimated 450- to 500-horsepower. He’s asking $21,000.
Carr, 61, has owned traditional American muscle cars and modified hot rods ever since he returned from Vietnam in 1971. That’s when he bought his first, a 1968 Chevy II. His next project will be a 1941 Willy’s hot rod.
“Ford, Chevy and Chrysler are back to building cars that are awesome,” said Carr. “But there is a difference between the old and the new cars. The old cars have a certain appeal, mechanically and for their looks. I just like the old stuff better.”