Everyone enjoys a parade, but probably no one more than Mike Maguire from Newmarket.
Mike has customized many vehicles, motorcycles, vans, cars and Corvettes for almost 50 years.
Mike first got interested in cars when his father would take him to see the new models at local car dealerships. Mike’s father owned Earl’s Radio & TV a repair shop on Main Street in Newmarket and Mike would help him with various projects.
One of the first customizing jobs Mike did was for a friend who owned a Nash Metropolitan.
From there Mike went on to customizing a motorcycle and a few used cars like his ’62 Corvair, Mike’s first new car was a ’72 Vega GT which he did some custom work on.
Mike bought, built and customized a 1974 Ford Econoline van and the van won a number of international awards. Mike then opened his own custom shop, and after building a few more award winning vans he then moved into restoration work on classic cars – a ’55 T-Bird, ’79 Corvette, 56 Chevy convertible, 69 GTO, etc.
Mike’s first Corvette was a 1959 – 283 cubic inch, Tuxedo Black with Inca Silver inserts and a Roman Red interior. Mike ultimately sold the Corvette to buy a house for his family.
After many years of restoring Corvettes for others it was time for Mike to buy another Corvette – thus the 1988 Corvette coupe came to life and became known as the Special Events Corvette Pace Car.
Built as a Pace Car with a 350 cubic inch [5.7 L] engine, delivering 360 h.p. with D&R Electronics custom installing 12 strobe lights for the P.A.C.E.R. Program – Police And Community Educating Racers, a program to reduce street racing, this was the first domestic vehicle involved in the program, that was not a Police vehicle.
The Pace Car made its first appearance at Canada’s Wonderland along with Police Forces from the OPP, Metropolitan Toronto, York, Peel and Durham Regions. From there the Pace Car made several appearances with Police vehicles at events such as Mosport and Toronto Motor Speedway and the Colossus Theater for the premiere of the movie 2 Fast 2 Furious.
The 1988 Special Events Corvette along with Police vehicles involved in the P.A.C.E.R. program made several appearances to help educate people about the dangers of street racing.
The Pace Car has been used at numerous charity events, on display at grand openings, in front of stages at concerts, at the Canadian National Exhibition Air Show, the Canadian International Auto show, and it has appeared in and leads many, many parades. Locally in Aurora and Newmarket Mike and his 1988 Corvette Pace Car have lead the Canada Day and Santa Claus Parades. The Pace Car is the only vehicle allowed on Main Street in Newmarket on Canada Day.
Most recently the Pace Car has been used to promote a Breast Cancer Fundraiser for the Cancer Program at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, a M.S. fundraiser at the A & W in Newmarket, and the M & M Meat Shops Charity BBQ for Colon and Colitis.
Mike and his Pace Car are grateful for the sponsorship provided by Lucas Oil, Michelin Tires and Highland GM.
Watch for Mike Maguire and his 1988 Special Events Corvette Pace Car at an event near you.
Written by David Falconer