BY BTL STAFF
Detroit has a rich automotive history that car enthusiasts can enjoy beyond the annual North American International Auto Show in January. Here is a list of some Michigan favorites.
The Henry Ford and Ford Rouge Factory
Located in Dearborn, the Henry Ford holds one of the finest automotive history collections in the country, featuring almost 300 vehicles and an extensive collection of automotive product literature. The Ford Rouge Factory Tour, located within the museum, offers a five-part experience that includes watching the assembly of the Ford F-150 truck from an elevated walkway. Learn more at http://www.thehenryford.org.
1.6 million visitors a year visit Greenfield Village, making it one of Michigan’s major attractions known for the 1896 Ford Quadricycle, the first 1965 Ford Mustang, the bus on which Rosa Parks was arrested and everyone’s favorite exhibit: the 1950s-era Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Learn more at https://www.thehenryford.org/visit/greenfield-village/.
The Henry Ford and Ford Rouge Factory and Greenfield Village are both located at 20900 Oakwood Boulevard in Dearborn. Call 313-982-6001 or 800-835-5237 for more information.
The Honda S800 RSC at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn. Photo courtesy of Cars In Depth
Automotive Hall of Fame
Next door to the Henry Ford is the Automotive Hall of Fame featuring a mix of vehicles and narratives about the people who contributed to the American auto industry. The museum features include a 65-foot-long mural celebrating the impact of the motor vehicle on the world’s culture and a full-size replica of the world’s first gasoline-powered automobile. Get a close-up view of Edison’s first battery-powered electric car, antique cars, a design showroom with modern vehicles, and motorsports memorabilia. The Automotive Hall of Fame is located at 21400 Oakwood in Dearborn. Call 313-240-4000 for more information or visit http://www.automotivehalloffame.org.
GM Renaissance Center and Showroom Tour
Visitors will be guided through Detroit’s landmark GM Renaissance Center on a one-hour public tour outlining the rich history that General Motors shares with the city of Detroit. The popular GM Showroom is a 40,000 square-foot display space offering an interactive look at GM’s Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC brands. The tour hosted by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy occurs five days a week until Dec. 30. The complimentary tours are offered twice daily, Monday-Friday (except holidays) at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on a first-come basis. For more information (including blackout dates), visit the GM Ren Cen website or the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy at http://gaybe.am/mw.
Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit
Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
The recently restored Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit’s mid-town area was built in 1904 and is the first manufacturing facility owned by Ford Motor Company. Visitors will enjoy touring this birthplace of the historic Model T and the manufacturing site for earlier Ford “Alphabet cars.” The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is located at 461 Piquette St. in Detroit. For more information, call 313-872-8759 or visit http://fordpiquetteavenueplant.org.
Detroit Historical Museum
The Detroit Historical Museum’s signature exhibition “America’s Motor City” tells the fascinating stories of how cars built metro Detroit and how metro Detroit built cars, as well as why Detroit became the Motor City. This new exhibit incorporates the popular “Automotive Showplace,” featuring cars from the museum’s collection. The Detroit Historical Museum is located at 5401 Woodward in Detroit. For more information, call 313-833-1805 or visit http://detroithistorical.org.
“The Detroit Industry” fresco cycle, Diego Rivera, 1932-1933
“Detroit Industry” at the Detroit Institute of Arts
The famed “Detroit Industry” fresco cycle is located inside the Rivera Court at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The twenty-seven panel work depicting an automobile assembly line was conceived by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera as a tribute to the city’s manufacturing base and labor force of the 1930s. It is considered the finest example of Mexican mural art in the United States, and the artist thought it the best work of his career. The DIA is located at 5200 Woodward Ave. in Detroit. Call 313-833-7900 or visit https://www.dia.org/art/rivera-court.
The popular Vinsetta Garage just outside of Detroit is a local favorite. It’s the kind of place that made a name for itself on Woodward Avenue by delivering the deepest kind of care to car owners and auto lovers one wrench turn at a time. Today, the oldest garage east of the Mississippi carries a different kind of torch but the cause remains the same: make it honest, make it legit and make it as good as you know how. Chef Aaron Cozadd’s menu is built on the kind of custom Detroit eats – burgers, Union Mac & Cheese, noodle bowls, coal-fired pies – that the mechanics and techs would have called their own back in the day. Vinsetta Garage is located at 27799 Woodward Ave. in Berkley. Call 248-548-7711 for more information or visit http://vinsettagarage.com.
Pasteiner’s Auto Zone Hobbies
Pasteiner’s Auto Zone Hobbies, established by the Pasteiner family in 1988, features metro Detroit’s largest selection of automotive automobilia including more than 150 current automotive magazines from around the globe as well as vintage magazines from the ’50s and ’60s, hundreds of automotive book titles from American Motors to Zagato (including technical, historical, and racing),hHundreds of finely detailed diecast model cars from 1/87th scale to 1/8th scale, original artwork, posters, signs and plastic model kits and hobby supplies. Pasteiner’s Auto Zone Hobbies is located at 33202 Woodward Ave. in Birmingham. For more information, call 248-646-2886 or visit http://www.pasteiners.com/catalog/.
M1 Concourse Race Track
M1 Concourse is an 87-acre playground for auto enthusiasts that includes a secure community of more than 250 private garages and a state-of-the-art 1.5-mile performance track with its own private Motorsports Club. M1 is a place where enthusiasts can keep, show and exercise their vehicles in the company of other enthusiasts and enjoy unforgettable experiences in a social setting unavailable to people who keep their cars at home or in a traditional storage facility. M1 Concourse is located at 1 Concourse Dr. in Pontiac. Call 866-618-7225 or visit https://m1concourse.com/ for more information.
Gilmore Car Museum
Gilmore Car Museum
The Mission of the Gilmore Car Museum is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret the history of transportation in America; to connect people with the heritage and social impact of the automobile; and to provide an understanding of the past, embrace the present, and imagine the future. The collection includes Pierce-Arrows, Cadillacs, Lincolns, and many others housed in barns and replica vintage dealerships. The Gilmore Car Museum is located at 6865 W. Hickory Rd. in Hickory Corners near Kalamazoo. Call 269-671-5089 or visit https://www.gilmorecarmuseum.org/.
Visit the Ford Family Home
The Edsel and Eleanor Ford Home in Grosse Pointe Shores tells the story of the home life of a prominent American family. The Fords were cultural, social and economic leaders in an era of great optimism, as well as a turbulent time of economic depression and world war.
Hours for the home vary with the seasons. Tours are scheduled twice daily Tuesday through Friday, and every half hour 12-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. House tour prices range from $12-15 for adults with discounted prices for kids and seniors. The Edsel and Eleanor Ford Home is located at 1100 Lake Shore Road. Call 313-884-4222 or visit https://www.fordhouse.org/about/the-henry-ford-estate for more information.
Michigan International Speedway
Michigan International Speedway
Michigan International Speedway boasts a proud, 48-year history of hosting America’s best racing action on its 1,400-plus acres in the scenic Irish Hills with a 12,000-seat cener grandstand. With 18-degree banking and 73-foot wide sweeping turns, Michigan International Speedway provides drivers with three and four grooves to run around the two-mile speedway located at 12626 U.S. Highway 12 in Brooklyn. Call 517-592-6666 or visit http://www.mispeedway.com/ for more information.