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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Autopalooza events a tribute to the "Motor City"

   One-Tank Trip for July 23-24/11
   (c) By Jim Fox

   It's all about fins, grills, air scoops, hood ornaments, smokin' and moanin’ pipes, chrome, horsepower, more tailfins, sometimes squealing tires, speed and all things big.
   They call it “Autopalooza” and it’s a fitting tribute to what has driven the “Motor City” for all these years: the automobile.
   A field of dreams: classic and collectible cars at the prestigious Concours d'Elegance of America held in suburban Detroit. (Jim Fox photo)
   They’re simply car crazy in Detroit, the city that put the world on wheels with its legacy of museums, auto baron homes, car shows and cruises.
   “Autopalooza makes summer in The D a paradise for car-lovers,” Renee Monforton of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau said, adding: “Visitors can truly experience the area’s rich automotive heritage in a variety of ways.”

   So set the GPS and head out on the highway to see what drives the car culture.
1929 Packard hood ornament (Jim Fox photo)

   Concours field of dreams
   It can fittingly be called a field of dreams: the Concours d'Elegance of America, one of the most prestigious shows of the finest classic and collectible automobiles.
   The show on July 31 is at a new location, the Inn at St. John’s (44045 Five Mile Road) in suburban Plymouth from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
   It was previously held at Meadow Brook Hall, a former Dodge family auto-baron home, now part of Oakland University, in Rochester.
   “The new, larger field offers the Concours opportunities to do so many new things,” said Brian Joseph, who chairs the Car Selection Committee.
   It will highlight Duesenberg Models A and J, allowing enthusiasts to compare the very different eras from the sturdy and reliable to the refined and elegant.
   “Also, we will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of Chevrolet, as befitting Detroit, and wait until you see how we display the Indy cars -- it will blow your mind,” Joseph said.
   William Parfet will have his complete collection of all models of 1933 and 1934 Auburn V-12 Salon cars on display.
Beep, beep - 1930 Packard coming though (Jim Fox photo)
   The event will also trace the evolution of the Lincoln from 1921 as “an icon of American luxury” with vehicles arranged in chronological order.
    The Indianapolis 500’s centennial will be marked with a “unique display of pre-and post-war Indy cars, many with special historical significance.”
Check out that 1939/47 Rolls Royce grill (Jim Fox photo)
   Chevrolet’s 100th-year display includes two “very special circles of America’s most popular automobile,” and there will be exhibits for 125 years of Mercedes Benz vehicles.
   In the “Fabulous Fifties,” Concours commemorates the “design explosion” of the 1950s characterized by colour and chrome.
   Concours goes way back with pre-1914 gas light cars, the jazz age of 1915 to 1927, U.S. popular and classic cars from 1928 to 1942, pre-and post-war European vehicles, and American muscle and post-war, 1946 to 1970.
   The lineup of woodie wagons – forerunner to today’s mini-vans – was a popular attraction at last year’s Concours d’Elegance show in suburban Detroit. (Jim Fox photo)
   There will be post-war sports cars, 1948 to 1970, drag racers, “super cars and super sedans,” as well as scooters, mopeds, fire trucks and even pedal cars.

   Zoom, zoom on Woodward
   They’ll get their motors running for the “largest one-day celebration of classic car culture” on Aug. 20.
   It’s the 17th running of the Woodward Dream Cruise, a blast from the past as 1.5-million people gawk, gaze, admire, and even drool over, some 50,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special-interest vehicles.
   Covering almost 30 kilometres and nine communities from Ferndale to Pontiac, this is a 12-hour wheels’ fest starts at 9 a.m.
   The summer classic celebrates the heydays of the 1950s and '60s when Woodward was the heart and soul of cruising.
   Marking the Chevy’s centennial, the sponsoring company will showcase its “past, present and future” models.
   Combined with music and fashions of the era, the cruise recalls the nostalgia of bygone days in the cars that made them so special -- back when a quarter could buy a gallon of fun.
   Today's auto designers take a back seat to these vintage babies in the crowd's mind.

   Ford’s better idea
   The auto theme continues at The Henry Ford in suburban Dearborn, the museum with a collection of historic cars including presidential limousines.
   The Henry Ford, a museum in suburban Dearborn, features numerous presidential limousines including this one used by Ronald Reagan. (Barbara Fox photo)
   There’s also the Ford Rouge Factory Tours to see F-150 trucks being assembled and Greenfield Village offers rides in authentic Model Ts and a 1931 Ford Model AA bus.
   The village’s Old Car Festival is on Sept. 10 and 11 with hundreds of authentic vehicles from the 1890s through the 1930s.


   If you go:
   - Concours d’Elegance tickets are $25 ($125 for VIP includes on-site parking, special viewing and lunch). www.concoursusa.org; (248) 643-8645
   - Woodward Dream Cruise, free to attend/drive, www.woodwarddreamcruise.com
   - The Henry Ford: www.thehenryford.org; 1-800-835-5237
   - Autopalooza events: www.autopalooza.org
   - Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau: www.visitdetroit.com; 1-800-DETROIT


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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