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July 24-28, 2018 – Plymouth Owners Club Grand Nationals

(Mike Bade's story, continued)

Four members of Cascade Pacific Plymouth Club attended the Plymouth Owners Club Grand Nationals in Northville, Michican, in July of 2018. Phil & Rose Ann Hall drove their 1954 Plymouth Belvedere Hy-Drive to the meet from their home in Roseburg, Oregon. The story of Phil & Rose Anne's adventure is at this link. Mike Bade and Jim Wheat left their cars at home and flew to Michigan for the show.

By following this link or clicking on the picture below, readers may view a gallery of Mike Bade's photos.

The Detroit region had tours each day, in the Detroit area for us to experience, prior to the official Car Meet on Saturday, the highlight of the meet.

Grand NationalThe first tour was to the Jefferson Assembly plant own by Chrysler which is the only American car manufacturer to assemble cars in the city limits of Detroit. The plant produces the Jeep Grand Cherokee since 1993 and the Dodge Durango since 2011 and Jeep commander 2006-2010. August 2013, the Jefferson North Assembly Plant produced its 5,000,000 th vehicle.
It was interesting to see the assembly line, how the cars are put together and see the workers as they put the parts on as the, ever moving assembly line, producing 1,300 cars each day for dealerships all over the world.

Later in the day we toured to the Ypsilanti Auto Heritage Museum. The Ypsilanti area is rich in automotive history, which is documented on the walls and displays in the museum. Featured displays include Hudson's, Kaiser Fraser's, Corsair's, extensive Ford Hydra-matic transmission displays  and come to find out that Ypsilanti is the home of Preston Tucker of the Tucker Automobile fame.

The next tour was to the Yankee Air Museum, Willow Run Airport, where a large portion of the planes during World War II were produced.  During the war countless women were trust into the factories to help build planes, thus was born "Rosie the Riveter" and displays around the history were prominent; including the "Guinness World Record Reunion" of 3000 plus Rosie the Riveters.
Vintage airplanes include three WWII aircraft: a B-17 Flying Fortress, a B-25 Mitchell bomber and a C-47 troop transport. They also have a fully-restored WWI SPAD, and Vietnam-era F-4 Phantom and Huey Helicopter. Our recent arrival is a Navy, A-4 Skyhawk. There are many unusual artifacts related to World War II and the Vietnam War.

Wednesdays tours included the Detroit Historical Museum, downtown Detroit and the Piquette Plant Museum, where Henry Ford produced the first model A's.

The Detroit Historical Museum chronicles the rich history of Detroit. Many of it's significant patrons, historical contributions related to our countries social movements and contributions towards the War Movement, producing planes and tanks. The significant contributions by the automotive industry, as it especially relates to Henry Ford assembly line method for producing cars.

Later in the day we visited the Piquette Avenue Plant Museum, known as the birthplace of the Model T. Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is recognized as one of the most significant automotive heritage sites in the world. The Ford Motor Company’s first purpose-built factory, Built in 1904. Henry Ford produced, Ford Models B, C, F, K, N, R, S, and T were assembled here. The Ford Model T was developed there, introduced in 1908 as a 1909 model.

The building was owned by different owners after 1909. In 2000 it was purchased by a group and turned into the Model-T Automotive Heritage Complex, Inc. A large group of volunteers have restored the building, similar to what it was, back in the day. The museum displays many of the Early Ford Models and significant automobiles from the era.

Friday was a big day, as we drove to the Henry Ford Museum, where we spent the day, viewing the extensive exhibits on Display. Well there were many cars of course from; vintage, unusual, concepts, common, historic and elegant cars to mention a few. Cars from every era, significant to their contributions in the progress of society were represented, with tasteful displays to tell the history of automobilia. The car section did not disappoint,  and it even included some Mopars along the way.

Other sections had airplanes, significant to the early years of flight. A full size 1927 Boeing 40-B2 was amazing to see, like in Raiders of the Lost Arc movie. More stuff like,  the Wright Brothers, Amelia Arehart and Charles Lindbergh to mention a few.

Of course there was a section dedicated to Henry Ford's contributions to the "Assembly Line" for producing automobiles. One display had visitors assembling a Model-T, piece by piece to make a complete car.

The section dedicated to early machines, like lathes, drill presses, shaping machines and saws from the turn of the century were amazing, hard to believe that is all they had to make things back in the day.

Social themes were on display, Freedom, Independence, Liberty, Union, Civil War, Slavery, Civil Rights; all had very interesting displays with amazing artifacts to see and read.

The section on Industrial revolution and manufacturing, included example after example of the guns, clocks, watches, machines, tractors, farming equipment, and on and on, pretty cool stuff.

The final section was included: generators & engines - the big kind - like room size/fill a building size/industrial size, so big you could not take a picture of the whole thing; that were used to make the electricity for the associated you could ever think plants that produced the automobiles, anything of. Examples on display was a early light bulb making machine and sanding machines, whew so much too see.

The Henry Ford museum and the near by Greenfield Village should be a place to put on your Bucket List when visiting the Detroit area.

Friday night was a barbeque dinner, the first time most-all of the attendees were all together at the same time. Good conversation and time to meet more POC members from around the country, Hosted by the National President Russ Nardi.  Through out the week more and more attendees had been arriving, bring more and more amazing Plymouths.

As I mentioned, there were four us from the Cascade Pacific Region, Jim Wheat, RoseAnne & Phil Hall and I seemed to be on all the same tours and got to send time visiting, sharing the experiences.

Phil & RoseAnne did a full  restoration his 1954 Plymouth Belvedere a year and a half ago. Since then they have driven, once across to the East Coast of the U.S. and then to Detroit and home, for a total of 20,000 miles. Phil did not intend to have their '54 judged, but all week other POC members encouraged him to have it judged, so at the last minute he made the decision to have the car judged.

On Saturday, the "Big Show" was held in downtown Northville, MI. After getting the official photos were taken it was a 3 mile drive from the hotel in Novi to Northville. Northville has a quaint downtown area with shops and even a movie theater.

The Plymouths were parked by year along the streets, filling every parking spot, up and down the streets. The cars were prepared by the owners and the judges, with their Judging sheets, put the cars through their paces, to find the cars who fit the judging criterion, best.

The cars ranged from the average examples, to some truly amazing cars in all the years. I had fun taking photos of the cars and trying to document things and visiting with owners, especially the early thirties years to gain my information and tips on where to get things I don't have on my cars.

The day quickly flew by and time for the results would be revealed later that night.

At the Awards Banquet of course there was a nice meal and a guest speaker, who was a Magazine writer, who specialized in covering the auto industry for many decades, a kind of auto sleuth, getting the inside scoop ahead of time and publishing his scoops.

Russ Nardi the new POC President unveiled a new POC Website design, which is close to being launched. There are new features and changes which will make it better for members and something new, is a member login to access some of the features. Russ and the POC Board are working to bring the POC into the 21st Century, you will be hearing more in the near future.

The awards were then given out for the various Judging Categories, which went given by Model Years.  To our surprise Phil and RoseAnne Hall received a Third Place for their car, in it's Class.
Of course they were speechless and quickly went up to receive their award, thankful they had been talked into having their car judged.  Later in the evening they also received the Long Distance Award for diving the longest distance to the meet.

One of the highlights of the Meet was seeing Lanny Knutson, the editor of the POC Bulletin. I had previously seen Lanny back in 2010, when he drove his Plymouth from Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he lives, to our Regional Meet, at the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas, OR.

A touching moment at the end of the banquet was a special presentation given to Lanny for his many years as editor of the POC Bulletin. Over the years Lanny has received many accolades for the work he does consistently to make the Bi-Monthly Magazine for the POC Membership. Russ Nardi, POC President, had some heartfelt words for Lanny on behalf of the POC faithful, which resulted in a standing ovation.

For me, it was definitely worth the time and effort to make trip to the Grand National and represent our region. After seeing things, I am motivated to have a car for the 100th Anniversary celebration in 2028, Who wants to join me? There is still stuff in the area that I need to go back and see, on the return trip.

Mike Bade