The GM Heritage Center – Part Two

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Part two of my series on the GM Heritage Center – the best automotive museum you’re not allowed to visit.

So I left off part one, which you can go read here if you haven’t seen it yet, talking a little bit about concept cars. In my opinion, that’s where the real magic of the GM Heritage Center lies. Many people often wonder what happens to these show-stoppers after an automaker is finished displaying them to the public. In GM’s case, they end up here.

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Here’s a short video I took walking around some of the Corvette concept cars that were on display. I have to say, the concept cars were my favorite part of the whole museum. I often found myself wondering what automakers did with those vehicles after they were done being displayed, or eventually put into production. It’s cool to know that GM keeps these cars.

Many more were there, too. Interestingly, the Corvette Stingray concept (which was seen in one of the Transformers films) was there. In it, you can definitely see the influence of the C7 Corvette, which I think is one of the most beautiful cars GM, or any American auto manufacturer, has put out in years.

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Honestly, I couldn’t even begin to try and describe everything that was in this museum. They had weird things, too. One highlight, which I actually didn’t get a photo of, was the very last built Chevrolet Chevette. What a miserable car. As much as I love General Motors, I am not too proud to admit that they have built some terrible cars over the years. That’s part of what makes the Heritage Center so great. Even though the Chevette was a horrid machine by any standard, GM preserved this car. Perhaps as a lesson. Perhaps as a joke. Maybe even ironically. Who knows? But the cool thing is, they did it.

Here’s another one of my favorites that never made it to production. The Chevrolet Nomad concept from 2004. Everybody knows I love wagons, but this thing, to see it in the flesh was something else amazing entirely. Such a good looking little car. Sigh. If only, GM. If only….

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Anyway, enough of my words. I know that you’re all REALLY here for the photographs. Here is the complete gallery from the trip. It’s amazing. If you ever get the chance to tour this facility, drop everything you are doing. Call in sick to work, tell your grandmother you love her, postpone your wedding, whatever. Just go.

I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

P.S. I am not a professional photographer by any means. Some of these photos are terrible, but even the bad ones are worth showing here. This place is magical. I could not focus well enough to even care. I had the worst case of automotive ADD I have ever had in my life. Therefore, I apologize in advance for the potato quality on some of these shots. I did my (amateur) best with Adobe Lightroom to make them more presentable.

 

Click the Left and Right arrows on the gallery to scroll. Over 100 photos from the museum are here.

 

Here’s a video of the cool lineup of Chevy cars they had on display, too. It’s a shame that they haven’t had a true full-size RWD car since 1996.

 

What was your favorite car from the trip?

 

 

Ray Saez, Jr.

Ray is a lifelong auto enthusiast. His father worked on the dealership side of the industry for many years, and his passion for fast, fun, and unique cars has been passed on. Particularly fond of American cars and trucks, Ray is an avid General Motors fan. When not writing, he can be found with his dogs, or at a local car show.

View all contributions by Ray Saez, Jr.

Website: http://autowaffle.com

Comments

  1. CadillacDeadman24 says:

    The new SS is considered a midsize I’m guessing…

    1. I just saw this comment, but actually, the SS is considered a full-size car.

      They will probably (well, I hope) keep the last produced and add it to this lineup someday. 🙂

  2. Bob C says:

    My brother Bill has a 1970 blue Vega – exact same color as the one in the collection – in very good condition too.

  3. Bob C says:

    Noted that the 1989 Pontiac 20th Anniversary Trans Am Pace Car was missing from the photos. It used to be there. Perhaps they sold it off. In 2009 I was at Barrett-Jackson when GM sold off a 1980s Chevy Citation engineering test car for $14,000. It had two complete synchronized V6 automatic transmission powertrains; one in front and one in the rear. Each engine was hot rodded to produce about 300 hp each for a combined 600. GM engineers used to hang out in Bloomfield Hills, MI near the local exotic car dealer during lunch waiting for some dentist or lawyer to take a test drive in a new Lambo or Porsche. That “lowly” Citation made mince meat out of them at the boulevard stop lights.

    1. Bob,

      I spoke with the curator (well, one of them), while I was there, and she noted that they rotate the collection pretty frequently. The ’89 Turbo T/A Pace Car is probably still part of the collection, but it may be on display somewhere else. They tend to do that from time to time. Have you seen the one that comes to Chick-Fil-A? The owner is a really nice guy!

      The “Push-Me-Pull-Me” Citation is another one of those awesome experiments. I know a bit about that car from a friend of mine who is a huge Citation fan!

      Another fun GM oddity is the 1980s Caprice wagon they used as a chase vehicle for C4 ZR1 testing. GM has quite a history of making some radical cars that we just never get to see, and it’s a real shame!

      -Ray

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