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Monday, April 30, 2018

DETROIT HISTORY TRAIL, HENRY FORD, STUDEBAKER AVANTI AND OLDSMOBILE

Back in 2012 CARHUNTER and few friends converged on the Detroit area to search out some Automobile Roots!
The Henry Ford was naturally a good place to start!
https://www.thehenryford.org/  







This is the X100, yes the car President Kennedy was shot in while passing through Dallas!  


Displayed with the bullet proof roof insert that was not on the car that day!

Ronald Reagan used this one! 

This "Safety Car" was a trend of over the top over thought designs which remind me of the Homer Simpson designed car! 



 
Homers "Safety Car" had Rack and Peanut steering! 



Checker Marathon often seen in Manhattan 








This is how Packard started!



Interesting, a 1916 Hybrid car!
One of the surviving Ghia built Chrysler Turbine Cars




The Henry Ford is a virtual history of Automobiles








The 1st Blue Bird bus
One of 48 Tuckers


Mrs. Ford drove a Detroit Electric 




An Electric delivery truck, Henry Ford was very friendly with Thomas Edison and they often worked on Electric Vehicle projects too 








 





















Old Brooklyn NY cross town trolley

Packard's still born Predictor Concept
The Lincoln Futura concept car which became Batmobile #1 
I have heard of Floyd Bennett field in Brooklyn! 

Daily with the help of a museum visitor or 2 a Ford Model T is assembled and driven out of the building, taken apart that night again. The original assemble methods are used.



We got lunch right after seeing this, I wondered what made us so hungry!
When you are at the Henry Ford you can opt to take the bus over to the River Rouge Plant where they build F Series trucks, highly recommended!
This is more of a city as far as the eye can see from an observation area.   
You get a greeting from Henry Ford the III I think on the bus monitor and it is timed exactly to the moment you drive up to the visitor center and greeted by this display of vehicles built here years ago!  
There are 2 screening rooms theaters, one has the Detroit Symphony Orchestra with surround sound and all view screens as you sit in chairs that spin around in sync with the cars being built! One is a great film about Henry Ford himself, I learned a lot that day!     
They let you roam above the assembly line as long as you want with signage explaining the process's you are witnessing, no photos of course.
Compared to the Corvette Plant this was very refreshing and it was at that point as I watched the quality control area at the end of the F series truck line I decided a Ford truck was in my future!   
Ransom Eli Olds, now you are asking who?
Yes there was a Mr. Olds behind the eventual Oldsmobile once and he lost his namesake car as many early automobile manufacturers had because of poor understanding of controlling stock! Actually he had stepped down to Vice President bowing to financing I guess? He was later removed from the company and by 1908 Oldsmobile was merged into General Motors. 
He had returned with another car and truck; REO after his initials, at first R E Olds company but that was going to end in a law suit! .
This little building is one of those hidden treasures and recently the building was given to the museum as opposed to rent of $1 a year!  


It is rather funny that R E Olds had no connection to most of the cars in the museum


The most famous Olds was the curved dash and rumor has it this model was the only prototype that survived a fire and that is why it was chosen for production! for some reason these were produced as replicas years later and the staple of most museum collections  

REO fire truck
This REO has a MINI REO as a display mate! 
 



An original condition 1930 Durant - Billy Durant started General Motors and he was forced out eventually! 





Star was just another name Durant built cars under








Did you know Oldsmobile built a truck?

Yes R E Olds produced lawn mowers and eventually under the REO name
Frigidaire was a division of General Motors 
This is full size reproduction of the Body by Fisher name plate logo 









This car was built to help push employees through the snow at the Lansing Factory, yes kiddies people did not drive SUV's back then!







442 wagon!

















 
I feel I have a duty to share the most inane Craigslist posts, truthfully I am just copying and pasting as is in the ad's
 
NO LOW BALLERS ASKING $8,400 OR SCAMMERS PLEASE. check it out on youtube ....AND PLEASE NO MORE ADMIRERS COMING TO SEE IT OR HAVING THERE MECHANICS LOOK AT IT , THEN TELLING ME HOW IT'S WORTH IT BUT YOUR'RE SON NEEDS TAP DANCING LESSONS OR YOU HAVE TO GET YOU'RE TEETH DONE....J
NEXT
Photos included also can be almost too bad to be true, dream sequence?

 

When Studebaker shut down in 1966 one of the original buildings in South Bend Indiana was full of mandatory replacement parts as manufacturers need to guarantee and this is hard to even believe!
I am going to skirt around trying to track the entire Studebaker history so I don't loose you.
Near the end of Studebaker  all the tooling for the Avanti was sold to Leo Newman and Nate Altman, established South Bend Studebaker dealers. These 2 reintroduced the Avanti as life #2. 
Along with the tooling and assembly line for the Avanti II Newman and Altman also acquired one of the building once a Studebaker Wagon Factory built in 1874 right there in South Bend Indiana!
They also received the truck line, but more impressive they were able to purchase the replacement parts inventory of new parts!

Newman and Altman passed the Avanti on to several other companies- too much on that for this blog and sold the parts inventory to Dennis Lambert of SASCO Studebaker Autoparts Sales Corporation moving the parts across the street to the old Studebaker Engineering and Design building as the wagon factory was demolished.
Crazy to even understand, but brand new Studebaker parts were and still are available today over 50 years after the cars ceased production!
NEXT?
A company named Studebaker International bought the inventory of SASCO and one of their 2 locations has a warehouse in the old Studebaker Truck Plant in South Bend, this location was/is a proving grounds for AM General= Hummer. Well you know that had to tie in and maybe unknown to most Studebaker was building military vehicles and mail trucks, yes that became AM General! 
     Not too far from South Bend is Bendix Woods County Park, I won't go into that history, but you noticed Bendix name? This was Studebakers proving grounds used to develop new cars and to this day the original trees planted to spell Studebaker are still visible from the sky!   
 Navistar Trucks (once International) used the track as their proving grounds!
AUTO REALITY TV?
CARHUNTER has already expressed his less than pleased opinion about the endless staged reality TV a certain Car Related network has been bringing us.
Those cute misleading names like South Beach Classics when the business was actually Ted Vernon Specialty Cars located 10 miles away from South Beach loaded with created drama and colorful personalities!
I want to thank Jessica Lipscomb of the New Miami Times for doing the follow up on her original story.
Those who know The CARHUNTER have endured the many complaints that a certain network is insulting our intelligence and  insist Car People enjoy the more enjoyable non-drama related shows. That network needs to spend a little more time vetting and researching who they make a star and present to the public.
In my opinion I can live without deadlines, drama and confrontation in a hobby that is supposed to be an enjoyable past time and some peoples passion!    
 
1947 Studebaker Sportster Gardner Prototype
 Although Mr. Gardner lived in South Bend Indiana (Home of Studebaker) and studied under auto designers Raymond Loewy of Studebaker and Gordon Buehrig in that Auburn little factory (Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg) the car was home built and survives today. CARHUNTER viewed it up in Dayton Ohio at a Concour D'elegnace.
 Believed to be the first bubble top car!
 


So we have been talking Studebaker why break the pattern?
I want to recommend Kustomrama if you have an interest in those Kustoms of days past!
Gary Elmore took what was already a wildly styled car and made it wilder!
A stock 1953 Studebaker Champion
 Takes a lot of imagination to improve an already progressive design!