GM Heritage Center: Behind the Scenes
Some things are acceptable to horde
For this last segment of the post I have much less to write since I am not too sure what all I was looking at. Nonetheless, I figured some readers may find these pictures interesting to go through.
These two pictures below offer a look at the walls leading up to the high ceilings in the building and how the Center has decided to store some items while simultaneously add a touch of nostalgia to the otherwise slab-faced space. I’m sure there are some really cool stories associated with each of those items.
Midway up the rack, on the right, there is a really, really cool-looking model of a 1960s-ish futuristic truck or transport vehicle. Yes, I wanted to play with that one too.
You’ll notice at the bottom of the picture, at the base of the racks, there is a collection of diagnostic machines. I didn’t ask about them but I’d presume they are less for display and more for maintaining the vehicles on display. I could be way off on that.
To the right is a picture of a little nook that was hiding a 1984 Chevrolet Corvette. The passenger window was down and when I peaked my head in, I’d swear it still had a new car smell. It looked brand new. Unfortunately, that one year had the motor with cross-fire injection; not a particularly sought after model apart from the fact that it was C4’s introduction year.
Regardless, the C4 is probably my favorite of all the generations of Corvette. I’m well aware that there are far better performing models and the C4 was not known for its quality of build. However, as the conversation with my guide went, I think we’re all a little soft on vehicles we remember from our youth. I can recognize the benefits other generations and models of Corvettes have over the C4 but none can evoke feelings of nostalgia in me like a 1984 through 1990 can (particularly the 1990 model).
When we came upon this location, I noticed a pair of gold calipers. Gold calipers are what Motor Trend issues to winners of their “of the year” awards. Gravitating toward the item I asked about it. As I was getting my answer, I noticed many, many more gold calipers in the glass case.
Sure enough they were old trophies. I was told there was a time when GM would actually dispose of their awards after displaying them for a short time. He said they would actually end up in the bins behind the buildings. I was already to spring outside and start dumpster diving when he assured me, they no longer follow the practice of discarding old awards and trophies. They now see the value in the items. Mixed in with the trophies from Motor Trend were awards from multiple major automotive outlets. It warms my heart to know that someone put a stop to the travesty of trophy trashing.
The two pictures above give a little better shot (from both sides) of their collection of awards which were packed tightly in the glass-doored cases. But maybe more interesting than the awards is the “Captain Hook” tow truck model that was stored on top. It looks nothing like any production vehicle I’ve seen and I should have asked about it.
But talk about a cool-looking toy… err, I meant scale model. I want that. Bad. I don’t know where I’d put it but I want it.
I suppose close runners-up would be these other two substantial scale models shown below.
Above on the left is obviously a scale model of the 1993 limousine used by President Clinton. It’s a real shame to see a detailed model like this shoved aside and used to store stuff on top of. Notice another pair of golden calipers set on top of the model’s case; I didn’t look to see which vehicle that award was for.
The picture of antique car model, above right, is a mystery. I didn’t see any labeling and the model doesn’t look familiar to me; and I neglected to ask. In any event, these models can’t be cheap to produce and they must require a lot of man hours since they are not mass produced.
To the right is a picture that was resting, propped up as it is shown, amongst a table of miscellaneous items. What I found interesting about this picture is that it appears to be of a team of individuals that worked on the original Oldsmobile Toronado. (Incidentally, the first Toronado produced–number one– was out on the showroom floor.)
If that is indeed what and who this picture is of, I’m very curious if Mr. Ruzzin is in the shot; he was on that car’s design team. The story of that effort is described in great detail in a guest posting by Mr. Ruzzin and can be read here: Guest Post: 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado Design History.
This final picture is of the farthest-back area and is intended to give an idea of the extent of stuff GM’s Heritage Center has accumulated. I didn’t get the model of the military vehicle parked on the right but was told that GM is a little sensitive to putting it on display. There is some sort of a multi-person bike on the top shelf of the back wall but I didn’t get the story on it.
For me, going through these pictures brings back a little of the excitement I felt while being there in person. I hope you enjoyed this brief behind the scenes tour and that it gave you a little bit of the excitement I experienced. Even though this post ended up being considerably longer and wordier than I initially anticipated, I’d like to hear from you and your thoughts on the photos; maybe you’ve seen something that I hadn’t mentioned or even noticed.