Perhaps more than any other car manufacturer, General Motors lauded their automotive achievements and presevered them for history. Under Vice President of Design Harley Earl, GM created The Art and Colour Section , which resulted in the first concept car, the 1938 Buick Y-Job. Beginning in 1949, they showcased production cars in an extraganza held at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel that would later become to be known as the GM Motorama. In later years, special “Dream Cars” were constructed to show off new design and technology concepts to the motoring public. The show traveled around to different cities in specially built “Futureliner” buses, which were themselves works of art.
Today, much of that history is alive and on display at the General Motors Heritage Center in the form of the General Motors Heritage Collection. This top notch assortment of about six hundred production, racing, and concept vehicles is housed in a nondiscript warehouse in Sterling Heights, MI, where about a third of them are available for viewing at any given time.
Although actually touching any of the vehicles is frowned upon, there are no velvet ropes here, so you can get up close and personal with all the display subjects. It’s amazing to see so many historically significant cars in one place. In one corner are all three Firebird turbine cars from the 1950s. In another are the current Camaro coupe and convertible prototypes. And in still another corner is a 1961 Pontiac Tempest, a technical innovation of it’s day. There’s so much eye candy here, you could end up in an optical diabetic coma!
But there’s a catch here as the collection isn’t open to the public, which is a real shame since this is something every old car enthusiast should experience. There are, however, special tours available to groups of thirty or more, such as a car club, for an admission charge of ten bucks a head during the week days, which seems like a bargain considering what you get in return.