Welcome to the Home Page of Vintage Motors USA, a car club started in the state of Michigan in 2012. To see what we accomplished in the past four years, click on the year that you are interested in: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.
The members of this club really enjoy cars & trucks made in the USA! These include antique, fully restored vehicles as well as modified/hot rods; custom vehicles; and "special interest" vehicles!
Our home page is intended to provide an ongoing chronicle of news, events, and other items of interest to members. In fact we encourage members and others to send items of potential interest to our WebMaster.
Farewell Visit to the Walter P. Chrysler Museum
On November 19, 2016 members of the Vintage Motors USA and the Ford Mercury Restorers Clubs together with other car enthusiasts toured the Walter P. Chrysler Museum for the last time. The museum is scheduled to close this year.
Originally established as a division of Chrysler, the Walter P. Chrysler Museum opened October 5, 1999. It documents the cars, the people, the processes and the contributions made by Chrysler and its forebears to the development of the automobile. It covers 10 acres at the southeast edge of the Chrysler Headquarters Complex in Auburn Hills, MI.
The exterior of the museum and the remarable foyer
The 55,000-square-foot museum featured three floors of more than 65 antique, custom and concept vehicles interspersed with interactive displays and historical exhibits that tell the story of the automaker's contributions to automotive design, technology and innovation, as well as the automobile's impact on American culture.
The Little Old Lady's Car??
The first floor traces the industry's first 50 years from Chrysler's perspective - both the man and the company. Rare vehicles date back to the early 1900s . The vintage collection includes such historic marques as DeSoto, Hudson, Nash, Plymouth, Rambler and Willys-Overland.
The second floor continues Chrysler's story, beginning with the introduction of the first HEMI in 1951 and spotlighting the automaker's design, engineering and marketing successes.
The lower level, called "Boss Chrysler's Garage," houses dream machines from the '60s - '70s, including classic and muscle cars from the heyday of cruising to one-of-a-kind record-setting race vehicles. The Garage also features a series of Jeep® vehicles and trucks as well as an eclectic sampling of vehicles from the Chrysler collection.
It is sad to see this museum close! For more photos and a video, please go here. Also, the video about the early years of Chrysler that was playing at the museum can be found here.
Celebratory Visit to Ed Meuer’s Collection
On September 24th members of the Vintage Motors USA car club visited Ed Meuer’s vehicle collection in Farmington Hills, MI. It was a fun visit – especially this time as it was a celebration of Ed’s marriage to Michell the next day! All the best to you guys!
It's always fun to visit Ed's collection!
New Old Car Reference
I received a new reference from Katie who is working on her BS with an automotive internship and has written articles on protecting classis cars. The link is also on our links page!
On Sunday, October 23, 2016, they began to gather in the Lowe’s parking lot off I-96 in New Hudson. Fifty-three vehicles from Classic Legends, Spark Plugs and FMRC joined VMUSA on the 2016 Color Tour and Poker Run set up by Bob and Lorraine Haas. With so many different clubs, there was a very nice variety of vehicles — and even a few regular drivers.
The tour started in the Lowe's parking lot where organizer Bob Haas explained the itinerary.
After our driver’s meeting, the group pulled out together and headed down Pontiac Trail to stop at Bob Briggs’ garage, “The Dog House.” Bob started his hobby with a few body shop classes in high school. From those body shop classes, Bob has built vehicles for Autorama like Mike Foreman’s 1940 Ford, and Norm Smith’s 1948 Ford. On display was Bob’s 1963 Corvette convertible, Jim Lynch’s 1955 Ford Pick Up, and a 1934 Ford Pick Up that was finished in 1998 that took only 17 years to build! A current project is a 1935 Ford 5-window coupe, body-off restoration — hope that’s not a 17-year project!
Left: Bob Briggs explains his collection. Right: Looks like an interesting engine discussion!
From Bob’s home, the group cruised through Kensington Metropolitan Park to enjoy the beautiful fall Michigan colors. Every time you thought you saw the prettiest trees, you rounded a curve and there were more. We turned a few heads as car after car passed through the park.
Cruisin through Kensington Metropolitan Park
Out the other side of Kensington, we cruised over to Mike LaFontaine’s Private Collection. With 3 employees, Kevin, head mechanic, Chad and Jim, the facility sells high performance parts for Ford, GM, and Mopar and is open to the public Monday through Friday, but the collection itself is closed to the public. Fortunately for us, Bob has connections!
Looks like Roxie is falling in love again! Lots of vehicles & collectables were at LaFontaine’s!
We were treated to apple cider and donuts as we wandered through a high-end collection of about 100 cars that are a reflection of Mike LaFontaine’s eclectic taste and his own personal style. There were Ford’s, GM’s, Studebakers, Volkswagens, and more. Prominently displayed was a cute little 1959 Nash Metropolitan. Sitting nearby was Larry Wolohon’s favorite, a 1951 GMC, first-generation Suburban — lots of chrome and only 2-doors!
Even a Good Humor scooter & many great cars were at LaFontaine's!
There was a Cushman scooter selling Good Humor ice cream along with a Good Humor truck. A strange hybrid called a “Mustero” was on display - a Mustang converted into a Ranchero-type body style. Surrounding everything were gas pumps, neon, tin sings, mannequins, seating areas, drive-in speakers and odds and ends. Tim Gregory was smitten with the 1964 dark blue Chevy Impala with a 409 sitting in the corner. Tim remembered when he was in high school there was one on display at the dealer — a 4-speed! He wanted it then and would take it now!
From there, the group cruised through the country side. We cruised past beautiful trees, corn fields, and produce stands with flowers and pumpkins for sale. The sunshine, a light breeze to stir the leaves, winding country roads, and shiny paint and chrome all made for a perfect color tour. We stopped at Indian Springs Metropolitan Park which was a perfect place to enjoy our picnic lunches.
After lunch, we left the park and continued on to Ed and Kathy Micol’s private home. Married for 51 years, they have been restoring cars and collecting memorabilia for 45 years. Lucky for us, they feel it’s all too much for just them and they love to share it with others. Throughout the years, they’ve collected signs, pins, slot machines, juke boxes model cars, Coke machines, and more, all from shows and swap meets. There was so much, it was hard to see everything!
Ed and Kathy Micol explain their collection to our fascinated folks!
Ed has built a new car for Autorama every year for 45 years and has had 9 Riddler contenders. He’s also sold 5 cars at Barrett-Jackson auction — maybe we’ve seen them on TV! His current project is a 1956 Buick station wagon, with a Nomad roof. Buick only made a 4-door, but this one has been shortened and is now a 2-door. If the 1957 Chevy Bel-Air 2-door hard top that was sitting there is any indication of his handiwork, that Buick station wagon will be a awesome!
Everybody lined up and turned in their poker hands. Diane Duszynski, Mike Fontana, Bob Haas, and Rick Fritz were the lucky winners. A few had to leave but most members ended the day with dinner at The Highland House in Highland. Unfortunately, Larry and Maureen Wolohon were involved in an accident heading to the restaurant. They were fine, but their 1948 Ford was damaged. Even though his car was hit at the end of the tour it didn’t stop them from joining the gang at the restaurant!
The tour ended with dinner at the Highland House!
It won’t be long and we’ll be tucking our classics away for the winter. Many thanks to Bob Briggs, Mike LaFontaine, and Ed and Kathy Micol for hosting our group, and a huge high five and a thank you to Bob and Lorraine Haas for setting up this fantastic color tour. It was a great way to end a great cruising season.
For more photos and a video of the event click here.
Our Bozo in the News!
VMUSA’s resident clown, Art Cervi (a.k.a. Bozo) held a news conference on October 13 at the Hockeytown Cafe in downtown Detroit to promote his appearance at the RetroRama Classic Collectibles Con in Windsor at the end of the month.
Art in the Past, Art Now, and Art in the Future??
“I think I can still do the voice,” he said in the silly, high-pitched tone he used as Bozo for more than a decade on Metro Detroit TV airwaves. “Remember as Bozo always says: Just keep laughing! HA-HA-HA!” Perhaps we’ll ask Art to use this voice at some of our meetings!
Art's Detroit News interview on October 13. Note his voice!
“I was surprised at the large number of people who showed up at the news conference including the newspapers and TV stations,” Art told me as we discussed the event.
He brought his Bozo costume and custom-made clown shoes with him. These were displayed on a manikin as shown in the above video.
Our Bozo bounced and chuckled his way through the role on CKLW (Channel 9) from 1966-'75, and on WJBK (Channel 2) from 1975-80. At the end of Bozo’s television run, there was a five-year waiting list to get on his show and a staff of 17 people who opened mail and handled his personal appearances! For more footage of Art as Bozo and with our car clubs, please click here.
At RetroRama, Art will receive the Northern Star Award “for his historic achievements to the medium (of television) and positive effect on the lives of untold generations of children”. Show organizers plan to donate 20 percent of all proceeds from admission to the convention to the Ronald McDonald House in Windsor and the Alzheimer’s Association of Windsor-Essex.
RetroRama Classic Collectibles Con
Time, place: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 30 at Caboto Club, 2175 Parent Ave. in Windsor
Admission: $10; children 10 and younger are free
Tickets: https://www.facebook.com/events/207296576294831 or at the door.
Color Tour Organized by Bob Haas on October 23
Core Group Member Bob Haas has organized an exciting color tour and garage tour on October 23 open to Vintage Motors Car Club members and friends. Click here for details.
Thirteenth Annual Crosspointe Cruise In a Success!
The thirteenth annual Crosspointe Cruise In was held on Sunday the 25th of September in Novi. Seventy-eight vehicles showed up to the event that Phil Lyon organized.
Left: An aerial view of the show. Right: Show organizers.
There was free food and beverages including hamburgers and hot dogs/brats. The show was a lot of fun for the entire family. A bouncy house for the kids was even there!
Left: The food looks good! Right: The kids had fun at this show too!
Three trophies were awarded as well as a best in show trophy! More photos and a video can be found here..
The trophy winners!
Vintage Motors USA Cruises Hines!
Cruisin’ Hines is touted as “a true celebration of classic car culture.” Indeed, Cruisin' Hines has grown in only two years to 40,000 classic cars and hot rods. Again this year on August 28 Vintage Motors joined the 7.5 mile Hines Drive Cruisers and enjoyed the beautiful park setting. This is also the only Cruise in Southeast Michigan that closes the road to only Classics and Hot Rods.
Besides all kinds of cars & trucks, there were unique bicyclists at the cruise!
“It’s probably the biggest car show around of its type,” said event promoter Don Nicholson, of Don Nicholson Enterprises, LLC. “The cruisers tell us it’s the best cruise in the country.” The cars in the Cruise are classic and 25 years or older: and they really cruise – in contrast to being backed up in city traffic!
Vintage Motors was once again situated this year at Nolar Bend – a great location for viewing/merging with the cars as they passed by, and to picnic! We were joined by our friends in the Falcon and Cadillac Clubs and had well over 100 cars there!
Even Abe Lincoln & the Army were there!
Several of us had the opportunity to accompany Bob Haas on a cruise of Hines in his “miniature” 1954 Ford. This video contains footage from one such trip.
At about noon a delicious lunch was served after which Roy Stull drew 50-50 lottery tickets for the bevy of donated prizes and even some cash!
Particular credit for this event goes to Mike and Roxanne Fontana who did an outstanding job of organizing and implementing the event! For more great photos by Van Nazarian and a video of the cruise click here.
VMUSA showed up in force for the official Woodward Dream Cruise Day - August 20, 2016. We had 30 cars for private, on-grass parking, easy in and out, convenient access to Woodward and nice, clean bathrooms! Not bad for our donation to Emmanuel Bethel Church!
VMUSA Cars & Trucks Parked on the grass at Emmanuel Bethel Church.
VMUSA has the best members who are always willing to pitch in and help. Our veteran Woodward Cruisers arrived the night before and staked our claim with 10 x 10’s to prime viewing space, in a shady spot on Woodward. On Saturday, up went the 10 x10’s in the parking lot, the tables were set up, and the grill was ready to go — we were all set for a great day!
Lots of food & refreshments (as always)!
Between watching the show on Woodward and cruising, members and guests worked up pretty good appetites. Generous donations allowed us to enjoy a tasty lunch of the best hot dogs in the parking lot along with, chips, cookies, pop and water. Many thanks to the folks who brought the extra goodies to share — watermelon, cookies, brownies and lots more!
And the fun part was watching the vehicles & people go by!
Next to our prime space was the Family Fun Fest in Pioneer Park! Lots of activities and free give aways just added to the fun. With the cruising, viewing and party next door, VMUSA enjoyed the day. Many thanks to those who helped haul, carry, set up and clean up, and a special thank you to Jerry Mattson for running the show! We couldn’t do it without you and can’t wait for next year to do it all again! For more pictures click here.
VMUSA Core Group Meets
On August 10 the VMUSA Core Group met at Subu's Leather Bottle in Farmington. This is the place where, thanks to Van, we will be holding our Christmas party this year. The food and venue were excellent there!
The Core Group had an enjoyable dinner meeting at Subu's!
We discussed upcoming events including the Woodward Cruise and Hines Cruises and our color tour. In addition, the group selected Gene Johnson to replace Ed Goff on our Core Group. Gene was one of the founding members of Vintage Motors USA, and has been a super contributor to the club over the years! We welcome Gene!
VMUSA Core Group Member Ed Goff Passes
Our dear Vintage Motors USA founding club member, Ed Goff, passed away on August 1 at age 78.
Ed was raised in Detroit near Tiger (Briggs) stadium. He attended St. Leo’s grade school and graduated from Western High School in 1954. After high school graduation Ed joined the Army and became a paratrooper. Ed’s tour of duty was with the 557 Aerial Supply attached to NATO forces in Normandy, France. He was a parachute rigger and, doing what paratroopers do, made 88 jumps during his tour.
Ed the paratrooper!
In 1958, after his tour of duty was over, Ed returned home and followed in his father’s footsteps as a truck driver. He has hauled bulk cement for our expressways (some of which are finally being repaved) and also for Metro Airport. In his 37 years behind the wheel Ed drove over 2 million miles!
In 1962 Ed met Nancy, the girl who just 14 months later would become his wife. It was a blind date arranged by a friend of Ed’s who was dating Nancy’s friend and college roommate.
Ed has had many cars. His most recent car was a customized 1951 Ford (see photo below) which he acquired in February of 2000. He was a strong supporter of the collector car hobby and a great guy. Ed could always be counted on to participate in club events and functions and enjoyed several big car shows every year and even had attended more distant venues like Hot August nights in Reno. He also was always willing to help his fellow car enthusiasts!
Ed & his friends installing the engine in his 1951 Ford.
Ed was the loving husband of Nancy, the beloved father of Lisa (T.K.) Barnhart, Ed (Sonia), and Kevin (Marion). He was the proud papa of Olivia, Jake, Bryan, Liam, Lola, and Sean. Ed was also the dear brother of Art, Shirley Jackson, Jim (Jonell), Don (Sally), Denny, Jackie (Cass) Wojnowski, the late Rick (Geri), and the late John.
We will miss our dear friend Ed Goff…
"It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!" -- A Video Tribute to Ed Goff
A Hot Summer Night
On Wednesday, July 27, VMUSA shared the limelight as a featured club at the monthly South Lyon Lake Street cruise. Four-year-old VMUSA was on display with 40-year-old Motor State Street Rods and we held our own! VMUSA had over 30 vehicles to display down main street — too many to fit in the main display area. Some of us had to park down the block and in parking lots! A mighty good showing for our club!
Main Streei in South Lyon was packed!
VMUSA members have a variety of interests and enjoy sharing them with others. Cole Grandy has often brought unusual items as “show and tell” pieces and he didn’t let us down. When he was just a kid, Cole bought himself a 1971 Schwinn Orange Krate Bicycle. It was top of the line at the time and he rode it home from the Reliable Schwinn store. Hard to picture Cole riding that itty-bitty bike and makes you wonder if he has everything he ever owned?!?!
Angel brought Dick Anderson and together they sat back and enjoyed the street show. Angel didn’t seem very impressed with the cars, but genuinely enjoyed having her ears scratched and sniffing all the people!
Left:Cole's bicycle is a bit small!. Right: Dick & Angel discuss the show.
The hot summer night was rocking with tunes from the DJ and glowing with the shine from the chrome and metal. People ate in the restaurants, strolled the streets, listened to the music, and genuinely enjoyed the evening. It was a great summer evening in small town South Lyon! For more photos click here.
Left: Ed & Dick look comfortable! Right: Ed's beautijul '51 Ford.
Death, Taxes and The Wilson Barn Show
Someone once said you could only count on a few things in life, and for us The Wilson Barn Show is one we can depend on. Weather is always a gamble though and after last year’s soaking, we all felt Mother Nature owed us and she paid off! As VMUSA members gathered for our customary breakfast meeting before The Barn Show, the sun began to peak out. Sunday, June 12, 2016, turned out to be a perfect day for a car show!
Left: Set-up time. Right: Club members relax behind their cars!!
Keeping with tradition, we all fired up, drove to The Barn and filed in to our reserved parking space under the shady trees. With all the help, it didn’t take long for the pop-ups, grill, coolers, table and chairs to be in place. The scene was set for a fun summer day of fine cars, good laughs, and smiles all around with the anticipation of a great day ahead.
Left: Mike's 1948 beauty! Right: Lunch was super!
Men in Black were rocking the tunes, the swap meet was hopping, the crafters were in place and the vendors were vending. With over 500 cars on display, there was plenty of metal shining in the sun. Frank Fundaro was ready with a pocket full of “things” as The Road Knights kept a running line of chatter raffling off prizes in exchange for random stuff. Who knew a bobby pin or a pocket ruler could be so valuable?
Left: Art catches some ZZZS! Right: Cheryl relaxes in the early morning sun!
Lunch was served and hungry people lined up for Phil Lyon’s great chill and Mike Fontana’s tasty hot dogs. With full tummy’s and the warm sun, it wasn’t surprising to see some of our folks catching little cat naps — a testament to a nice, relaxing time!
The National Street Rod Association (NSRA) was on site and willing to conduct free safety exams. Perhaps you’ve seen Dick and Roy who travel all over Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and more performing their tests at shows. Dick’s been doing this since 1987 and Roy since 2006. They crawled all over Mike Fontana’s 1948 Ford Panel Truck, for over 20 min. They were over, under, in, out, start, stop and start again. They explained that it took 16 points to pass with a highest score of 23. The most common failure, is the neutral safety switch. Considering these vehicles are used to carry people on public highways, having the free safety inspection is not a bad idea. We were glad to have them available. You can learn more about the Safety Inspection requirements here.
Left: Our newest & cutest club member! Right:Bill Hill with his family built '49 Ford gasser
VMUSA had their fair share of head-turning, fine-tuned metal on display:
Our newest member, Bill Hill, showed off his unique, family-built 1949 Ford Gasser, Thunder Belle. Bill, his father, William P., and his grandfather, William E., worked together to build the military themed 1949 Ford Gasser. With a 327 under the hood and a Turbo 400 Trans, Thunder Belle was only at her third show. A real eye-catching, conversation starter, it’s easy to see how she took Outstanding in her Class at this year’s Autorama, Bill’s grandfather passed away in 2009, but you know he’s proud of his grandson. Just check it out on FaceBook, Thunder Belle, or see Bill’s interview at the Barn Show here.
Larry and Nancy Deck showed off their Turquoise and White 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible with all things Turquoise — a pedal car, a radio, chairs — even their clothing!
Larry & Nancy Deck's two-tone '55 convertible with a matching pedal car on the right!
Phyllis Davidovich showed off her Guest Transport car for the fictional White Pines Lodge.
John Szwast showed off his newly acquired 1951 Mercury Sport Sedan. He always liked the 1949-1951 Mercs with a special soft spot for the ’51’s so when he saw her online he knew he had to check her out. It just happened he was to attend a family reunion in Ohio and it just happened to be “on the way” so he had to go “visit” her. In 2 weeks, John brought home his new baby. Considered a “resto mod,” she has a 350CI small block Chevy crate engine, suicide doors, and 2005 Cadillac leather interior. She needed a bit of tweaking, but John has a good friend who “could make a hot rod out of an oil stain.” Just the guy he needed!
Left: John Szwast's beautiful '51 Mercury rest-mod! Right: Bob & Lorraine Hass's '55 Ford CocaCola car!
VMUSA always does well at The Barn and this year was no different. We had too many awards to list — what a nice problem! Congratulations to Larry and Nancy Deck, Phyllis Davidovich, Roxanne Fontana, Jim Goff, Cole Grandy, Bill Hill, Pat Kaluzney, Phil Lyon, Larry Miller, Pete Morris, Bob Nicholl, Joe Piziali, Paul Rebmann, Cheryl Sauer and John Szwast. Nice job!
Thanks to everyone who helped set up and clean up and a special thanks to Phil Lyon for the best chill in town! Another great day in the books for VMUSA! For more photos and a video of the show click here.
VMUSA Tours Ron Finch's Studio
There were about 44 Vintage Motors USA club members and guests that toured Ron Finch’s studio in Pontiac on Saturday, June 25. Ron has been creating whimsical custom motorcycles and sculptures from discarded scraps over for 50 years!
Our visit started out with a walking tour through the woods on the east side of the lake on his property. We then spent time in the yard behind the studio looking at some of Ron’s creations including Chris P. Bacon, a large steel pig made from all kinds of scrap metal, car parts, spoons, and forks. He also built a large pig which is at the Bad Brads Barbecue Restaurant in Orion Township.
We had many women on this tour because they had heard about the studio from their husbands who were on the last tour we had about 3 years ago. One guy who rsvp’d said he thought this tour was a “man thing”. I told him absolutely not. he called back a little later and said instead of just he and a male friend coming, their wives would also be coming!
Video slide show created by Don Olson!
Currently Ron is working on a motorcycle that he sold 25 years ago. A guy from Maryland bought it on ebay and the man spent last week at the Finch’s helping Ron work on it. It is not yet finished.
Ruth Finch then made a great lunch for us!
After the Finch tour, some of us went to the Woodside Church Show in Troy, a charity car show to help build condos for veterans. (Words & video by Don Olson.)
Spring Cruisin’ with VMUSA
It wasn’t just a promise of donuts that brought them out. It was an opportunity to cruise the back roads of Michigan with 35 other cruisers, drivers and motorcycles. Members of VMUSA, Classic Legends, and the Falcon Club gathered together to celebrate Spring. We even had three little MG’s lined up with the big boys rarin’ to go!
Left: A lot of nice cars were on this cruise! Right: And nice people with them!
It was quite a sight as we pulled out of the Park ’n’ Ride. Following the map, we drove through tree lined country roads, past farms, and through small towns. Under the canopy of trees and around the curves, our route took us by Henry Ford’s Sharon Mills Ford Factory. Evidently, we weren’t the only clubs that thought it was a perfect day. The people of downtown Chelsea had their own private car cruise as we passed another club going the other way and later in the cruise a motorcycle club.
Our destination was R&A Engineering in Manchester, where Bob and Mary Anzalone were our gracious hosts. They allowed us full access to their shop and barns. Nothing like 54 people wandering all over your property!
Left: Van w/o his camera! Right: Arriving at our destination.
Bob had been restoring cars for years when he finally quit Kelsey Hayes in 1987 and never looked back. High school sweethearts, Mary has been beside him all the way and together they make quite a team!
Through the years Bob has appeared in several magazines and has won numerous awards. In 1978 he won the coveted Riddler Award at Autorama. His incredible attention to detail and pride in craftsmanship is apparent in everything he does. Currently in his shop, he has a beautiful 1930 Dodge DC8 with a straight 8, a 1922 Indy Car Clone, a 1966 Shelby GT 350H (Hertz Rental Car - very rare!), a 1966 Charger Hemi, matching numbers car, a 1936 Pierce Arrow, a 1964 Cadillac, and more. The facility is a former dairy farm, and Bob uses every inch of his 14,000 square feet.
Mary enjoys the hobby, too, as she proudly displayed her 1933 Cadillac. As the third owner, it is completely original and Mary enjoys showing her off in parades, festivals and car shows. They also have a beautiful 1959 Cadillac and when we left the shop, that’s what Bob and Mary used to cruise with us to Jerry’s Pub for lunch.
Left: A beautiful '30 Dodge. Right: Brian & Matt study an advanced suspension system!
Many thanks to Mike Fontana and Gene Johnson for whipping this together. The route was easy to follow with clear directions. There were only a few oops-missed-the-turn-moments and everyone arrived safe and sound. It was a great start to the cruisin’ season.
For more photos of the cruise, click here. Van has also taken many photos that can be found here.
VMUSA Tours the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
April 23, 2016, was a bright, sunny day in downtown Detroit that brought 40 Vintage Motors USA club members and guests to tour the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, the birthplace of the Model T: the car that put the world on wheels. Some had visited the plant before and for some it was a first time. Kevin Paul and daughter, Katie, were first timers; Al Majewski grew up in the area, so it was a bit like going home for him; and for others, like guest Roger Rose, it was a return visit. It may have been a return visit, but, as Roger said, “you always learn something new!”
Club members & guests stand at the entrance to the plant.
A small room where the female employees assembled the flywheel magneto, essentially the generator for the Model T, is now being used to show two introductory films as a starting point for tours. We viewed “Wild Dodge Ride,” that shows the terrible conditions of the roads back then, and then a 15 minute history of the Piquette Plant with Henry Ford and his Model T that set the stage for our 90 minute tour of the plant.
Folks were entertained by the Wild Dodge Ride video!
Our group was split into two, with docents Tom and Ryan leading the way. Paul Martin commented on how impressed he was with the knowledge of the docents and the guided tour while our own resident historian, Cole Grandy, added some unusual details.
Located in the heart of Detroit’s cradle of the automotive industry, Milwaukee Junction, the first floor of the plant is currently being leased by businesses to help support the building renovation. Our guide treated us to an interesting and entertaining tour of 2-stories of the 3-story building. It’s amazing how much history is packed into a 3-story high, 56-foot-wide building! Our guides showed us the details of Henry’s world at the Piquette Avenue Plant and among other things, they explained the fire suppression system, the development of each rendition of Henry’s car, nicknamed the Alphabet Cars, and even touched on Henry and wife Clara’s supportive relationship. The main hall on the second floor, nicknamed Milwaukee Junction, now holds a model of each of Henry’s Alphabet Cars, A through T, on one side; and many hard-to-find, one-of-a-kind competitive vehicles of the time on the other side. To our surprise, the museum staff were setting up the hall to host a wedding that evening! The museum is booked for weddings every weekend for the next 12 months!
Left: The docents did an excellent job of explaining Ford history! Right: There's a wedding here tonight!
The Piquette Avenue Plant tour is an educational, informative tour that can be shared with the whole family. Mike Mitchell brought his son, Jeff, and his grandson, Danny, to learn what it was like in the early days of the automotive industry. Good thing we had Danny along as our guide needed help when it came time to demonstrate how the Model T engine worked.
With a tour of the Piquette Plant, comes a mighty appetite! At the close of the tour, we headed down the street to Z's Villa, a bar and grill located in a 100-year-old house for lunch. A nice ending for a good day. Another good day in the books for VMUSA. For more photos of the tour, please click here. Van Nazarian has also posted many fine photos here!
What a beautiful touring car!
Club Member Completes Latest "Tribute Art" Piece!
Out resident artist, Van Nazarian, recently completed this beautiful picture. It was won at the VMUSA Christmas Dinner raffel by Jerry Worful who, after about a year without redeeming, donated it to his friend John Durrant. John just finished his 55 Merc that was dedicated to his late wife, Donna.
The best looking 55 Merc that I've seen!
Two Disc Set of Detroit Autorama Images Now Available
Van Nazarian has also put together a 2-Disc Set of his 900+ images from the 2016 Detroit Autorama, and is am making
them available to club members at a Special Price: the 2-Disc set is $15.00. Note that this is much less than
the admission, parking and fighting the crowd! If you are interested, please contact Van. In addition, photos fron Van's recent visit to Motor Sports can be seen here.
Van's photos are great!
On March 26 at 11 AM Vintage Motors USA went toEd Meurer’s Collection in Farmington Hills! It was fun! Stay tuned for more info!
I bought this old beater from Don Olson, one of my best friends, I thought…. Just kidding…. Love Ya DON!! I think I bugged him for this truck for about a decade. The truck had not run in years.
Brian's completed truck!
I started the restoration project with a new interior, carpet, paint and wheels. I knew the engine was old: but it cost me nothing to wait and see how old. I did, however, add all the toys to make it loud and fast and it sprang to life. After getting this Frankentruck up and running for the 2015 season, it was a blast to drive. I beat on it hard during the Woodward Dream Cruise and Hines. It started to make some nasty noises down deep. I realized the old motor wasn’t long on this earth the way it was.
So, as soon as the cruising season was over, I had the motor rebuilt 100% with a racing cam, pistons, and all new sliding parts. I got it back from the motor guy a few days after Christmas.
With the El Nino winter in my favor, I moved it into the heated garage shortly thereafter. I installed DJM Dream Beams to lower the front by 3” and a DJM rear spring mount system to lower the rear by 4”. This kit was amazingly simple to install. Four new Gabriel shocks together with four new steel Cragar wheels and tires to replace the out of sorts aluminum ones gave it “just what I was looking for”. With the help from EZ-VZ for the hand painted logos, I was almost done. I like the old look and I truly have fun making the patina. It is done!
I took it out during the unusually warm weather on 3/8/16. Cruising a local neighborhood, I passed a group of about 15 young kids playing in a yard, I got a whole bunch of thumbs up with the rumble that it made idling by. That made my day.
The Detroit Autorama: A Show with a History!
This year the 62nd Detroit Autorama ran from Friday February 26 through Sunday February 28 at Cobo Center. On Saturday Morning at 9AM Brian, his son Matt, and I lined up to enter the show.
More than 800 hot rods and custom cars from around the world were on display. The lower level of Cobo contained a display of hot rods and rat rods that harken back to the ’50s and earlier—the stuff we really liked! A quick tour of the show is captured in the video below.
Video by Steve Rohde
Many other Vintage Motors folks attended including Art Cervi who had been at and won prizes at early Autorama events that were held at the Detroit Armory!
Frank Taubitz's 36' Coupe that won 3rd. place overall at the first Autorama!
A Super Tour of the Lingenfelter Collection!
It was a perfect combination for February in Michigan: a sun filled morning and a showroom filled with beautiful shining cars. And so the Vintage Motors Club USA took this opportunity to visit the Lingenfelter Collection in Brighton, Michigan.
Left: Club Members Discuss Vehicles. Right: Young Ladies Discuss Same!
The Lingenfelter Collection is active in supporting many charities and has already raised over one million dollars through tours and showings. So, with pleasure, over 50 Vintage Motors members and guests made a donation at the entrance.
After a brief introduction, the group was allowed to stroll through three rooms filled with cars. On display were over 150 Corvettes, muscle cars and exotics. The collection of rare automobiles included a Bugatti, Ferraris, a Lamborghini, an Auburn and many Chevy muscle cars.
Art & Cole Discuss Vehicles as do Steve & Matt!
The weather was nice, the company was good, and the showroom was awesome! All things considered, a good day to live in Michigan…. Cheryl Sauer. For more photos of the event and a video go here.
VMUSA Core Team Begins Planning 2016 Events!
On January 7 the VMUSA Core Team met at Brian Saylor's home and began the planning process for club events during 2016. There was much enthusiasm and we've tentatively scheduled at least one event each month! Not all the event dates and confirmations have not been made but you can see our current plan here. It should be a fun year!
VMUSA Core Group planning!
Report on Corvette Enthusiasts Seminar
One of the nice things about Vintage Motors is the eclectic nature of the members and their vehicles! Many of us belong to other car clubs and participate in their events too!
I belong to the Michigan Chapter of the National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) and participate in many of their events. One of these was the Pro-Team Corvette seminar held in Napoleon Ohio last November. The seminar was organized by Werner Meier, a recent inductee into the Corvette Hall of Fame. The subject material was very interesting and dealt with the evolution of the Corvette.
Greg Fadler and John Heinrecy opened the program with “The Evolution of a Race Car” that outlined their experiences at General Motors developing and driving race cars.
Next, Russ McLean, Program Manager for the C4 and C5 Corvettes, shared a relatively unknown chapter of Corvette history, where cancellation of the Corvette program was mandated by GM.
An extremely interesting look into the life of Zora Arkus-Duntov was presented by Jerry Burton, who recently authored a book about Zora Arkus-Duntov. While renowned for his role as Corvette’s first chief engineer, Duntov was successful as an inventor and engineer, having amassed a plethora of patents in numerous fields and enjoying a degree of success as a race driver.
Lastly, Ken Kayser, shared a number of interesting Corvette historical excerpts that he uncovered while doing research for his upcoming book on the Big Block engine.
I’d highly recommend this annual seminar to VMUSA club members even if you don’t own a Corvette!
Three of the talks at the seminar. Click on the images to see that video.