Chuck has been into cars since the age of 15, when he purchased a ’62 Impala for $100 and had to get it running in order to have “wheels” when he finally got his license.  He got it running and sold the car before he turned 16 for $175.

His college choice of General Motors Institute – a fully-accredited co-op Engineering school located in Flint, MI and then owned by General Motors – was therefore a natural for Chuck.  He selected a dual-degree program with a major in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Electrical Engineering (a program so challenging it was commonly referred to as “M.E. Suicide”).  He was Vice President of Tau Beta Pi (engineering fraternity) and an active member of the Firebirds (gear-heads).  His work projects while at GMI included retrofitting a dozen NC machines to CNC machines at the Terex plant in Hudson, OH (his plant sponsor, then owned by GM), a computer controlled engine management system for a ’75 Olds Toronado while working at the GM Technical Center - Engineering Staff, and two work sections with the Argonaut Division of GM working on plant expansions in Cleveland.  When GM sold Terex off in the early 80’s, Chuck transferred to the Chevrolet Motor Division’s Parma Pressed Metal plant.  There he co-developed a robotic servo-hydraulic actuated press loader/unloader based on then-new Z80180 technology, and developed programmable logic controlled (PLC) automation for blanking, stamping, and press welding applications.

In his “spare time”, Chuck co-developed specialty input/output (I/O) modules for Texas Instruments’ (later Siemens) line of PLCs and incorporated MicroTek Controls.  As the demands of this business grew, Chuck was faced with a choice: stay with GM and divest his “side business”, or devote full time to MicroTek.  Chuck left GM and spent the next 20 years successfully designing, producing and selling industrial hardware and software products for manufacturing applications.

Chuck’s passion for cars rekindled in the early nineties with the acquisition of a ’63 Corvette convertible, which he and Karen had totally restored.  This was followed by several more early (solid axle) and mid-year Corvettes, a couple Model T Fords, a Model A Ford, a Camaro, a Cadillac, a Cameo, a Mustang, another Chevy pickup, and so on.  Chuck and Karen are active in AACA, SACC, NCRS, CCCA and Cadillac-LaSalle clubs and have been invited to Meadow Brook, Amelia Island, Cranbrook, Ault Park and Glenmoor Gathering concours shows.  Their restored Corvettes have twice won Best of Show-Domestic at the Glenmoor Gathering, and their Mustang was awarded Best of Show at the Summer Classic at Ursuline College.


Karen, on the other hand, was a “late bloomer”.  After growing up with completely non-descript and forgettable family cars, her first car was an ’81 Citation – 4 cylinder, 4 doors, stick shift, no options.  She also attended GMI, majoring in Electrical Engineering, but not because of any interest in cars: the co-op education program was the draw.  (The rich history of Flint’s automotive past was pretty much hidden by the early 80’s.)  Following graduation, she joined Chuck at MicroTek and spent the next 20 years selling HMI/SCADA and Business Intelligence software to Manufacturing Industries.  In 1999 MicroTek was named to the Weatherhead School of Management’s “Weatherhead 100” List of fastest growing companies in Northeast Ohio.

Karen actually spotted the ’63 convertible that became their first restoration project.  Researching the history of Corvette led her to Harley Earl, which then led to Cadillac, to Henry LeLand, to Henry Ford and the wild, early pioneering start of the automobile industry in America.  Karen found the interconnectedness of the people behind the Marques completely fascinating and considers the Standard Catalog of American Cars (Clark, Kimes) her favorite “car book”.  Karen’s taste in cars covers a lot of ground: Model Ts, Corvettes, Chevy trucks, and lesser-known Classics like Marmon, Stutz and Wills Sainte Claire.  She particularly enjoys her discussions with “real” car guys (definition: anyone who has been collecting old cars longer than Karen is old) and had been affectionately taken under the wing of noted Duesenberg collector, Alfred Ferrara.

After experiencing “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of the restoration process first hand, Chuck and Karen have developed a keen appreciation of the skills, tenacity, and resources required for a successful restoration experience.  They also enjoy the challenge and the satisfaction of returning a vehicle to as close to a perfect incarnation of the manufacturer’s intentions as possible.  So, in one of life’s little irony’s of history repeating itself, when faced with a choice of continuing their Industrial Automation business of 22 years, or following their passion for restoring old cars, the choice was clear.  CK Auto Collector Car Restoration is the result.