Back to the Bricks Rolling Cruise kickoff celebrates Flint’s rich automotive history

FLINT, MI — Swapping stories of classic cars is nothing new to Flint physician Bobby Mukkamala.

A collector himself, it’s a prideful hobby of his to keep pieces of Flint’s automotive history in prime conditions.

Mukkamala is able to notch two new notes to his resume when it comes to talking cars.

The first was being named the 2021 Back to the Bricks Show and Cruise official Grand Marshall and within cutting the ribbon for Wednesday’s first day of Rolling Cruises, he was also able to swap car stories with a NASCAR driver.

“I’m a car guy myself. I happen to clean out earwax during the day, but I wrench on the side,” Mukkamala said. “(Back to the Bricks is) something that puts us on the map, and continues to keep us on the map as far as automotive history. It’s really something to be proud of when you’re a guy from Flint, like me.”

Mukkamala spoke during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 18 outside of Factory One in Flint.

He was joined by Back to the Bricks executive director Amber Taylor, committee officials, as well as Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley and NASCAR driver Erik Jones.

Located in the Carriage Town district near downtown Flint, the factory originally got its start in 1880 when it was built by the Flint Woolen Mills company as a short-lived venture into cotton textiles before becoming the birthplace of General Motors.

Taylor spoke of the history of the space, with automotive leaders who helped shape the industry and the city, as well as other colorful details of Flint’s history more than 100 years ago.

She went on to introduce Jones, who competes full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Richard Petty Motorsports.

Jones, who grew up in Byron, said he has been attending Back to the Bricks since he was “a little kid,” and as a “car guy himself,” he was excited to bring a vehicle from his personal collection to ride in the cruise.

“It’s really an honor for me to be out here and doing this,” he said. “It’s something I’m really passionate about, and really have a lot invested in.”

Neeley had the honor of asking drivers to start their engines, but before doing so, complimented Back to the Bricks, which is in its 17th year of providing events and activities throughout Flint and Genesee County.

“How wonderful and how blessed we are as a community,” Neeley said. “We have to thank God for this amazing day and this amazing city. Back to the Bricks is a part of the DNA of this community. This is what defines us in how we rise as a community.”

The Rolling Cruises continue today, Aug. 19, with excited crowds lining the streets as the parade of vehicles stretches from the bricks on Saginaw Street in downtown Flint to Grand Blanc.

Events on Friday, Aug. 20 include a car show and a live concert, featuring The Reflections and the Motortown All-Stars that takes place at 7 p.m. on Saginaw Street across from the U of M pavilion in downtown Flint.

The main event day commences with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday including a salute to veterans and active duty personnel. Following the ceremony, at 11:05 a.m. and 2:05 p.m. local rock band, 3RD° BURNS will perform.

The remainder of the day will be full of opportunities to check out the automotive vendors, cars and get food.

For more details about the week’s event, visit here.


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Katherine E. Ackerman

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