GM Heritage Center: Behind the Scenes
Here’s another otherwise boring corner of the office area, yet it too is decorated with historical automotive memorabilia.
Besides vehicular-related items themselves, I’d wager those cabinets are rooted in an interesting tale. As I had mentioned in the first write-up, the desks used by those working in the office area were antiques salvaged from an Oldsmobile office. I’m not entirely certain about their age but I seem to remember being told they were from the 1940s. There were no partitions in the office, much how things were from that time period. After an initial awkwardness, the employees have reportedly come to appreciate the arrangement as it is conducive to building friendly relations with one another. Ah, simpler times.
While I don’t know the story behind or even age of this model, the concept car that it was replicated after is from 1954. Despite its “Firebird” name, the concept was not produced by Pontiac but rather GM corporate. Further, its original name was XP-21 Firebird but after two subsequent GM Firebird concepts (Firebirds II and III) came out over the next half-decade, the XP-21 became simply known as Firebird I.
The concept boasted some incredibly non-standard features, including a 370 hp gas turbine engine and even jet aircraft-type flaps that unfurled from the horizontal wing-like panels to assist with braking. I stood next to all three of the actual Firebird concepts on display at the Center but sadly neglected to snap a single photo of them.
Here’s a picture of another scale model that was just sitting on some shelving in the archival area. I’m not really sure what it is a model of but, again, the boyhood urge to play with it was undeniably there.
Yet more of the crank-operated file cabinets can be seen behind the model. The vast array of materials stored in the cabinets is organized by brand and secondarily by year. I was shown some of what is stored on those shelves and it is overwhelming, dating all the way back to the beginning of the brands. And the Center’s collection is constantly growing. The Cadillac and Chevrolet sections are the most complete and hence take up the most space.
Here’s an end cabinet that had some large items in it. If I remember correctly, this section was largely made up of various artwork and items that could be pulled for the Center’s ever-changing needs.
Worth noting, the Center hosts roughly 350 events per year for a wide variety of purposes and the decor can be modified utilizing their wealth of furnishings to suit the need.
The cabinets shown to the right are another example of the mass storage required to support GM’s heritage efforts. I could spend weeks or probably months digging through all of their documentation, if I was ever given the opportunity.
Everywhere one looks inside the office and archival areas, there is something of interest to look at. Notice even this bland wall of file cabinets is decorated with photographic memorabilia.
Next, I’ll be presenting a look at some of the other areas where larger historical items are stored.
Continue to page 3, below.