GM Heritage Center,
Sterling Heights, MI - October 9, 2007
Contrary to some reports it is possible to
visit the GM Heritage Center. In my case it was a business meeting
where my supervisor rented out the conference room at the center for a
day for his monthly meeting of managers. During lunch we were free
to visit and wander about the vehicles on display. It also appears
that many GM car clubs gather at the Heritage Center for gatherings
throughout the year. So you have to rent the facility out to get
in as it is not open to the public unless part of a special group.
The Heritage Center at any
one time only contains about 20% of the historic vehicles GM has saved.
Each vehicle that GM has in its collection is in running condition and
gets two oil changes a year, even though for the most part they are not
driven. Most of the vehicles I looked at had the keys in the
ignition although I assumed the batteries had been disconnected to keep
visitors like me from firing one or two of them up. The photos
below are not comprehensive as to what was on display when I was there
but what I thought interesting. There were just too many cars and
trucks to take photos of all of them.
Actually it was fortuitous that the boss
rented out the room because most of us in the meeting lost our jobs
during the Great US Automotive Meltdown of 2008-2009. Even the
boss lost his job in 2009 after the let the rest of us go. One of
my co-managers in the group who was able to survive the earlier purge
made it until August of 2012 until he was hunted down and sent packing
during another effort at "right sizing", which is now the politically
correct term businesses use to justify eliminating jobs.
I grew up in a Fisher Body family and worked
there during the summers to put myself through college. It was
good to see the coach again.
The Firebird XP-21or Firebird I. This was the first gas turbine car in the US.
Note the Allison Gas Turbine insignia on the tail.
Note the relay and open wiring at the front of the engine bay.
The aviation design is very evident in the
passenger area or should we say cockpit.
This was used for test track purposes only.
Note the large exhaust.
A curved dash Olds.
A Delta 88 Indy Pace car from the good old days.
This was a somewhat obscure 50's era song
about the famous Olds Rocket 88, the first high compression V-8 engine.
For Ike Turner it was before Tina made him famous not so much with her singing
but her long legs and years before she wandered out into the Australian
Outback and became an Amazon Queen in a forgettable movie.
June 16, 1977. More of the good old
This was an Olds retro concept car.
In the 60's The Beach Boys sang about a
Chevrolet Engine which can still be heard on the radio today!
Of course engines were on display also.
A Pontiac Trans Am Concept Station wagon.
A fastback Grand Prix.
The Monkeemobile was a modified Pontiac GTO.
Many people feel that electric cars are a something new where in fact
they have been around off and on since 1828 when the first one was
invented. But the concept comes and goes in cycles as each time
the lack of range due to low battery energy density makes them
impractical in the real world. It will be interesting to see if
the cycle in broken in the 21st century by the new breed of pure
The GM Electrovan was a fuel cell concept electric vehicle with a tank
of oxygen and hydrogen in the back.
Sort of like driving around with a bomb in the back. Remember Apollo 13.
This bus would tour the US during the Depression and had a diorama
inside depicting the positive changes the automobile would bring to the
Note the more diffused exhaust and again the
Allison Gas Turbine insignia.
Firebird II which was a four passenger family car with dual intakes.
This shows the vast size and rows of great cars lined up for viewing.
An example of one of 60,766 Pratt & Whitney radial engines built at the
Chevrolet Tonawanda, NY engine plant during WWII. It produced both
the R-2800 seen here and the R-1830.
The engine display area.
A Cadillac Le Mans two passenger concept car.
More of the good old days when GM built motor homes.
The only reason I put this photo in was to
show that James Taylor had hair at one time. :)
The first Vega built. We will leave it at that.
A Buick two passenger concept.
Again note all of the cars in the background.
This 1967 GTO was used in the 2002 movie XXX with
Inside the GTO.