The Heritage Center
GM Heritage Center -  building frontageFollowing the party on Monday night, I had more plans to finally meet face-to-face with another important cohort the next day. My point of contact at the GM archives, who has frequently astounded me with material, had originally arranged for me to attend one of five scheduled viewings of their historic treasures.

It appeared, based on the schedule, that I would have anywhere from one to one-and-a-half hour of viewing pleasure. Instead, I was treated to much, much more including a one-on-one personalized tour around the complex that incorporated rooms and areas the other groups were not shown. I again felt honored.

GM Heritage Center - partial data storage

It started with a showing of the office areas where the research takes place, and vast cabinets and shelving where the historical information is kept in hard-copy format. He showed me their computer system and how my requests are filled. Even the beautiful wood desks that he and his small group of coworkers sit at had some history to them, having been salvaged from the 1940s from some of Oldsmobile’s offices.

Behind his work space was a large model and cabinets filled with historical trinkets and more, smaller models. Some had truly fascinating history behind them.

He then opened a door that was a side entrance leading to the Center’s automotive display area. This is the point when I’d swear I heard angelic singing as though we’d entered through the pearly gates themselves. To me, this was Heaven on earth.

GM Heritage Center - partial overhead of collection

The cars, rare production models, prototypes and concepts, were lined tightly in rows. My eyes struggled to adjust, not due to poor lighting but because they were overloaded and I didn’t know which way to look first. It was breathtaking. Truly it was.

Thanks to my somewhat privileged form of entry, I essentially had no crowds to contend with, no other voices or camera flashes. Nobody. It was just my guide and me. And he allowed me to stay all the way to closing at 5:00, snapping my camera the entire time.

I’m not going to detail all of what I saw that day in this post; after all, this is supposed to be an overview. But the pronounced subjects on display seemed to be Corvette concepts (every one made, I believe) and many concepts from Cadillac. I presumed their prominence was because of the 2014 Corvette Stingray’s and Cadillac ELR’s introductions at the NAIAS.

GM Heritage Center - 1986 Chevrolet Corvette Indy concept

I’ve provided some pictures in this post (larger versions of some are found in the gallery) but, of the 600-plus photos I took, most will be kept for future posts. Others will be added as post updates, such as the GM Ultralite I’ve already written about.

It was rather demystifying to see these historic icons in person after having drooled over many in magazines since I was but a lad. I even finagled permission for brief hands-on contact with the Cadillac Solitaire concept, providing me with an indescribable sense of fulfillment.

GM Heritage Center - 1985 Cadillac Cimarron PPG concept

I could go on and on about the experience but have to stop somewhere. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this overview and the sample pictures in the gallery. More pictures will come out as I report on the individual cars in the future. Feel free to ask me any questions about my experience.

So you see, even though I wasn’t able to make it to the NAIAS, I honestly believe the activities I experienced in Detroit were equally, if not more, thrilling.

Continue below to the photo gallery.

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