Gratiot Cruise Chairman Jim Tignanelli will present a 1937 Ford pickup at the Aug. 1 event. He has owned the truck, which has about 65,000 miles, for 13 years.
Photo provided by Jim Tignanelli
CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The Gratiot Cruise is back with a little more engine roar this year.
The 18th annual Gratiot Cruise takes place Aug. 1 in Clinton Township. The cruise route runs between 14 Mile Road and Wellington Crescent — about a five-mile loop.
Gratiot Cruise Secretary and Treasurer Paul Silvestri said, last year, a car show was held on Gratiot, along with a casual cruise. Due to pandemic restrictions, he said it wasn’t anything too extravagant.
“It’s going to be great being able to do things again this year,” he said. “It’s been a staple in the community for many years. Come on out, have some food, have some fun and enjoy what should be a sunny day.”
Cruise headquarters are in the parking lot of Michigan Urgent Care at the southeast corner of 16 Mile Road and Gratiot Avenue.
Car show registration begins at 8 a.m. and allows a car owner to have a dedicated parking spot and to participate in a car show.
Opening ceremonies are set to commence at 11:10 a.m. and include opening comments by Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon and the playing of the National Anthem.
A pedal car parade begins at 11:30 a.m. Car show awards and passport prizes will happen at 2 p.m.
A pair of food trucks — Clinton Township’s Slaw Dogz and Kawaii Bubble Tea — will make an appearance at the cruise.
“It’s the people and the cars,” Silvestri said when asked what the best part of the cruise is. “These car owners are dedicated people who put a lot of time and effort into making their classic cars look great. It’s awesome to see them drive around Gratiot, parking on the side streets and relaxing. It makes for an awesome day.”
Cousins Jerry Tignanelli and Jim Tignanelli will be bringing cars to Gratiot.
Jim Tignanelli, of Clinton Township, is the Gratiot Cruise chairman and will present a 1937 Ford pickup.
“I’ve redone it, but it’s the original-style engine,” he said. “It’s got white walls and side-mounted tire. It’s as cool as it looked in 1937, and even cooler now.”
Jim Tignanelli has owned the truck, which has about 65,000 miles, for 13 years.
“It’s very driveable, and it’s not so technically astute that you can’t use it,” he said. “It’s an 85-horsepower stick shift that you crank the windshield out to get fresh air.”
He called the Gratiot Cruise a neighborhood cruise attended by a lot of people from outside the neighborhood.
“It’s not as showy as some, but it’s supported in a large way by local clubs and local businesses, which I think attracts a lot of cars,” Jim Tignanelli said.
Jerry Tignanelli has a 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 that he hopes will be out of the repair shop in time for the cruise.
It has a 5.8L engine with about 845 horsepower and less than 11,000 miles.
“I basically drive it to car shows and on nice days,” he said. “The car show has always been my favorite part on Gratiot.
Jerry Tignanelli, who retired from the Warren Fire Department, said the cruise brings out plenty of car enthusiasts.
“A lot of them have been in the car scene since the late ’60s,” he said. “There’s an influx of younger people who are coming and are interested in modern muscle and high-performance cars.”
There will be DJ entertainment; official cruise merchandise; games like cornhole, ladder ball, and giant Jenga; and food available all day.
The family fun zone is located in front of AMC Theaters, on the west side of Gratiot, north of 15 Mile Road.
The Clinton Township Parks Department kids zone opens to the public at noon and features games, paint-a-car and touch a truck, a DJ, food, and vendors.
“There will be lots of kids’ activities down there,” Silvestri said.
Seven pre-cruise car shows were scheduled to be held in Clinton Township July 14-29, after press time, at places including Fern Hill Golf Club, M3 Gratiot Pub and the Clinton Township Civic Center.
This year’s grand marshal is Macomb County Clerk Anthony Forlini.
To learn more about the cruise, visit ctgratiotcruise.com.