The Original Vette Shop Detroit East Story

Welcome to the New Vette Shop Detroit East

I started working for Jon at his Gratiot front shop and immediately found my niche.  Jon and I connected because we both were very particular in our workmanship. We worked side by side for over 5 years as we repaired and restored countless Corvettes.

I learned so much from Jon, including the pride of ownership.  I developed a business plan and in 1988, with Jon’s constant encouragement, I opened The Body Shop, Inc in Roseville.

Jon and I remained friends and we confidently referred business to each other.  We both ran reputable shops and had great rapport with customers, insurance companies and even our competitors. In 1999, when The Body Shop, Inc found itself without a home for several months as we moved to our Clinton Township facility, I found myself back on Gratiot Avenue as Jon offered me space to work on a few cars to keep some money rolling in.

In 2003, the unthinkable happened.  Jon had to face a terrible medical battle and had no choice but to close The Vette Shop Detroit East. Always proud, Jon committed to completing a few pet projects that demanded his expertise.  Once again, we worked side by side, as Jon took over a few stalls at The Body Shop, Inc. I found this was the best therapy for both of us–he continued to do what he loved best–repair Corvettes and I, energized by his passion, renewed my commitment to providing the best for my clients.

The fall of 2005 changed the course of Corvette repair. As Jon faced his final days, I think he most regretted the sale of his business.  He spent years building his reputation of being the best and had to surrender it all to strangers.  I wanted to be the one to buy it, but, unfortunately, the economy wasn’t working in my favor.  The new owners took the name and the equipment and moved out.  In my opinion, Jon retained the reputation and the ability.

I am still in contact with some of Jon’s crew and we reminisce about the good old days of repairing and restoring Corvettes. We miss those days with Jon and cannot surrender them gracefully.  Can the vision be revived?

Long story short, The Body Shop, Inc was able to assume “The Vette Shop” name as one of it’s divisions.   No, it is not the same business, but it is the same vision.  I want to bring back what Jon could not sell—reputation and ability.  Please, stop by and check out The Vette Shop’s 6400 square foot, fully equipped facility.  I want to do a quality repair to your Corvette and provide the personal service you deserve.  Simply put, The Vette Shop in Clinton Township Michigan can be your one stop shop for all of your Corvette service.


Gary Oakie