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CHUCK MILLER STYLINE TRIBUTE HELD IN LINCOLN PARK AUGUST 14, 2021

C Miller Fire Engine No. 13 and Red Baron Roadster, circa 1970.
Chuck Miller pictured in early 2020 with the current re-creation model of his Zinger! Van; Miller’s original handiwork is represented in the framed image from an early Autorama, shown here a half-century later in his studio/workshop.  Photo courtesy of Doug Coombe

On Saturday, August 14, the Lincoln Park Historical Museum will open the exhibition, “Chuck Miller’s Mobile Masterpieces”, a tribute to Miller’s Styline custom auto design career, with a special event bringing some of his original creations to the grounds of the museum for one day only.  The afternoon event will be highlighted by a presentation from Lincoln Park Mayor Tom Karnes to Chuck Miller of the “Key to the City” for his outstanding and legendary contributions to the custom car world. 

Chuck Miller standing with his renowned Fire Engine Co. No. 13 and Red Baron Roadster, circa 1970.
Chuck Miller standing with his renowned Fire Engine Co. No. 13 and Red Baron Roadster, circa 1970.
Chuck Miller pictured in early 2020 with the Red Baron Roadster Number 2.  Photo courtesy of Doug Coombe
Chuck Miller’s original Red Baron Roadster built in 1969.  Courtesy of Promotions Inc. 

By the time Chuck Miller graduated from Lincoln Park High School in 1961, he was already obsessed with cars, having created models with creativity and painstaking detail. When he wasn’t sketching cars or working on models, the young Miller was wrenching the real thing, securing a job at Dick’s Collision at 13 Delisle Street in River Rouge. At 20 years old, Miller took over the shop and changed the name to Styline Customs in 1963. Though he mostly made his living bumping out dents and fixing fenders, he was soon turning out eye-catching creations of his own.

Chuck Miller’s Fire Truck Engine Co. No. 13 which won the Ridler Award at the 1968 Detroit Autorama, is pictured here in front of Fire Engine Company No. 58 on Detroit’s East Side

Bugs Buggy, The Crater Raider, The Sonic Cuda – created in 1971 as part of the Chrysler Plymouth RTS (Rapid Transit System) melding of cutting edge style and heavy horse power touring show cars, the Corvette Sportwagon (a radical conversion created for Motown Funk Brothers percussionist Uriel Jones and dubbed the “drum buggy”), the Zingers!, The Woodburner, and especially the Red Baron Roadster were just a few of the wild and wooly car creations that Miller made in the 1960s and 1970s. All have back stories as unique as their looks.  In 1968 Miller was awarded the prestigious Ridler Award at Detroit’s Autorama for his Fire Truck Engine Co. No. 13, a plastic model kit of which soon followed.

Chuck Miller’s Bugs Buggy Hot Rod.  Courtesy of Promotions Inc. 
Chuck Miller’s Sonic Cuda, created as part of the Chrysler Plymouth RTS (Rapid Transit System) melding of cutting-edge style and heavy horse power touring show cars in the 1970s. 

The legendary Red Baron custom hot rod built by Miller will be on the museum grounds as will several of Chuck’s Zingers! – half-scale autos with monstrous chromed hot rod engines of which extremely popular model kits were made for the youth market – for the opening reception held on Saturday August 14, from 12pm to 4pm. 

Chuck Miller’s Corvette Sportwagon (aka “drum buggy”) a radical conversion created in 1971 for Motown’s Funk Brother percussionist Uriel Jones.

Bob Larivee, Sr.’s passion for hot rods has seen him behind the wheel in racing car driver’s seats, officiating at race tracks, and producing Detroit’s Autorama for 33 years starting in 1961. Today, he’s the author and subject of several volumes tracing Detroit’s fascination with custom cars and drag racing history. Larivee will be at the museum on the 14th to sign the brand-new book “Hot Rod Dreams” as well as his “Hot Rod Detroit: A Complete History of Hot Rodding in the Motor City”. 

The book Hot Rod Dreams by Larry Erickson and David Boule tells of Bob Larivee’s lengthy career as show promoter. Chuck Miller’s famed Red Baron Roadster is pictured on the book’s cover. 

Inimitable cult pop artist Glenn Barr has created a limited-edition signed and numbered serigraph tied-in with Chuck Miller’s Red Baron especially for this exhibition.  Prints will be available for purchase at the museum on August 14th through September 18th while they last.

Also on the 14th, Hallmark Guitars will feature its custom Red Baron electric guitar to be played by inimitable chanteuse Margaret Doll Rod, of the Demolition Doll Rods.  

Jack White’s Third Man Records Cass Corridor will have its mobile record shop on site offering home towners MC5 and Bob Seger releases from amongst their eclectic catalog of vinyl albums and singles.

DJ Matt “Fink” Strickland spins drag racing-themed and classic rock ‘n rollin’ tunes.

Complimentary snacks include chips courtesy of Great Lakes Potato Chip Co, signature soda from Motor City Brewing Works, along with grilled hot dogs and bottled water courtesy of the Lincoln Park Historical Society.

Attending the August 14th show will be members of the West Side Rod and Customs Club with their vehicles.  Other clubs interested in attending should send a text message to 248-924-0298. 

All-in-all this will be a memorable time for custom car buffs and a good old-fashioned summertime event for families.

The special exhibit “Chuck Miller Mobile Masterpieces” runs from the opening on Saturday, August 14 through Saturday, September 18 at the Lincoln Park Historical Museum, located at 1335 Southfield Road, Lincoln Park.  Regular days and hours are: Wednesdays and 

Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.   As of this time, facemasks are required of all indoor visitors.  The museum entrance is wheelchair accessible.

Further information is available at the museum’s Facebook page for the event:  https://www.facebook.com/chuckmillerstylinetribute 

At its website: www.lphistorical.org     

Or by contacting 313-386-3137;  email: lpmuseum@gmail.com

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