GM Heritage Center: The ShowroomCANDY LAND

Or the happiest place on earth. Either expression would accurately sum up my perception of the GM Heritage Center.

Earlier this year I had the great privilege of visiting this phenomenal facility that’s closed to the general public. In hindsight it appears remaining professional and suppressing my adolescent desire to scream, do cartwheels, jumping jacks, somersaults, back flips and the moonwalk upon entry must have paid off… I was recently honored with an invitation to come back.

Thanks to Mr. Ruzzin, I also landed a spot on the guest list for the 2014 Designer’s Night party. So, in anticipatory build-up to Detroit Trip 2, I thought I’d post a load of pictures I hadn’t yet shared from my first visit to the Heritage Center.

Have you ever been so content somewhere that you’d do anything to convince yourself you’re not overstaying a welcome?GM Heritage Center 2013-01-15
After visiting the Heritage Center I wondered if the friend I’d made there would ever have me back. We had set a morning arrival time for my visit but never really discussed a duration. I spent the rest of the day there.

He was generous enough to set aside his work and personally guide me around the archive and office areas. (That backroom story is chronicled, with photographs, here: GM Heritage Center: Behind the Scenes.) That alone would have been elating enough, but there was still the grand finale, the showroom. Even better, we were going to have it almost entirely to ourselves!

Folks, that room contained dream material, machines that fueled my passion for cars, cars I’d only seen in pictures. It was overwhelming but I’m proud to say that, despite quivering, my knees didn’t buckle; though my eyes welled, I didn’t cry; and, despite some cracking, I managed speech.

GM Heritage Center 2013-01-15

It looked like acres of cars ahead of me and every way I turned was parked some special chapter from automotive history. I could easily have spent an hour on each, studying, photographing, reminiscing. Unfortunately, since time was of the essence, I had to work quickly and efficiently, subsequently neglecting to photograph some of the greats like the Y-Job, the original Firebirds and Cadillac’s Cyclone. The history associated with some of the vehicles was humbling, considering their legacies and the automotive giants that have been around them.

I only realized the end of the day had raced upon me when the lights were being turned off (seriously). My guide was exceedingly patient in light of my euphoria.

In the end, I shot more than 500 pictures (over 3 gigabytes) and yet only scratched the surface of what was on display that day.

Below are 45 of those pictures. To get this posted faster I decided to forgo my usual picture-specific commentary and let each reader make what they will of the shots (click to enlarge). They are in no particular order but have been numbered to help with commenting.

So, with all that said, have a fun look inside the GM Heritage Center, as it appeared on January 17, 2013.

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