2021 Fall Meet
Report – the belated 50th Anniversary!
For me the meet
started much earlier than September. Originally planned for 2020, I
was able to keep the same format, but with state restrictions on size
of gatherings, would 2021 be a bust also? Fortunately, things
started to open up, and, it was time to let the fun begin!
Wednesday finally arrived, with two years of on and off planning over - It’s
Showtime! The Marriott Auburn Hills was our host. The hotel
volunteered their lobby to host one of our vehicles. Randy Guyer,
who brought two letter cars agreed to display his F convertible once
he and his crew finished eating greasy chicken and stolen bread in
Frankenmuth. The car was driven through the front door, and the
hotel maintenance folks seemed reluctant to proceed. Too big, won’t
fit was the word. These are not the things to say to our members,
who, after some strategic maneuvering, with an inch to spare on each
side of the car, placed it perfectly under the lights.
hospitality room set up in the 11th floor lounge, things
were rolling. 300’s started coming in from West Virginia,
Minnesota, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and beyond, the lot
was starting to fill. Members from all over were rekindling
friendships after the last years’ craziness. New attendees
were making friends - it was a happening!
Thursday was a
beautiful sunny day and we caravanned down Woodward Avenue to the
Piquette Museum was on. Driving over the remaining burnout marks
from the Dream Cruise, we eased through the center of Detroit. The
museum is in the second factory that Henry Ford built, before the
creation of the assembly line.
It started operation in 1904, with the
last cars produced there in 1910. We gathered in the courtyard, and
the eager crowd rode the ancient freight elevator up to the museum.
described the cars built at the plant, as well as the unique build
process of the time, which was batch building with several groups of
workers. The docents did a great job of fielding questions from our
group, such as why did our early cars start with right hand drive and
yet we have left hand drive. There were also competitors’ cars
from the era, as well as history displays of the early auto industry
in Detroit. The railroad tracks adjacent to the plant, known as the
Milwaukee Junction, provided parts and supplies to several of the
early automakers, Packard, Brush, EMF, amongst others. It was a
great peek at the fledgling auto industry in Detroit.
Now it was
lunchtime. And where do you take 100 of your friends to lunch in
this era of erratic restaurant operations? Why Hamtramck, of course,
the Polish enclave in Detroit! After driving through the heart of
the city, past the Kowalski sausage factory, we arrived at the Polish
Village Café. I heard people asking what is city chicken?
Dill pickle soup? Really? This restaurant has not changed in several
years, it is reminiscent of the days of the narrow streets and small
eateries and corner bars. Something different, and enjoyable.
The next stop was
a tour of the Chrysler car collection at the Conner Avenue Assembly
Plant. Not a functional assembly plant anymore, it was home to the
Viper and Prowler production. A corner of the plant is now home to
over 120 cars, several from the former Chrysler Museum, the remainder
from the Detroit Trim Plant storage facility. We were the first
outside group to visit the facility, which required several internal
approvals, and it didn’t disappoint.
the first Plymouths, to the Airflow, to the La Comtesse, to Sergio
Marchione’s Demon, the whole gambit of Chrysler in one area.
There were production as well as concept cars to see. The Atlantic,
one of the hot concepts from the ‘90’s, a late ‘50’s
Chrysler wagon, trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps, all eye candy to Mopar
After dinner, it
was time for the business meeting. Then back to hospitality and the
parking lot to check out the cars. As the hospitality room
overlooked the flock of 300’s below, the party atmosphere went
on into the early morning.
Friday morning –
destination Stahl’s Museum.
Stahl’s is an eclectic
mixture of cars and music machines. We entered the music room
first, to a mechanical accordion playing the Beer Barrel Polka.
Mechanical devices of all types are on display, from player pianos to
a machine that played violins. Club member Bob Brown, who helped
set up many of the musical machines in the museum, provided many
details about how the machines operate. Several organs, one from the
Wurlitzer home, provided entertainment. One of the docents, who
played one of the huge organs, wowed the crowd with several musical
requests. A Chrysler
turbine car, which came from a former collection in Indiana, was
staged and ready for start-up. Unfortunately, technical difficulties
prevented that, but seeing it up close was cool. Only a handful of
turbine cars that were not destroyed when the Ghia program wound
down. Other cars were on display, a Pierce Arrow owned by Fatty
Arbuckle, a wrought iron VW beetle, a Graham sharknose, a Terraplane
convertible, and on it went. It is truly a great place to visit, so
many unique cars and music machines!
After lunch, it
was time for the Road Rally. I wanted to have a driving event which
was entertaining and provided a tour of the area. As this was
something out of the norm, many members came to the hospitality room
to see what this was about. Teams went out to tour and answer
questions, with prizes
awarded to the one who answered the most
A friend of mine and I modified an existing
rally and added several touring spots to get people out to see the
area. With stops at the Meadowbrook Mansion, Oakland University
(there were co-eds out there which slowed down some teams), the
Chrysler Tech Center (if you can’t get a tour of the place,
next best thing is a drive around the outside), through Pontiac and
into the Cranbrook Museums. A driving event like this can result is
some spirited discussions amongst the teams. Several people were
reluctant to do it, but many came back to say, that was pretty cool.
Something to keep in mind for future meets.
Back at the hotel
it was time to board the bus for the Princess River Boat cruise on
the Detroit River. We boarded and sat down to a buffet dinner.
Everyone went out on one of several decks to see the sights as the
boat cruised to Belle Isle, then down to the Ambassador Bridge and
back to the dock by Cobo Hall. The weather was perfect, 75 degrees
and no wind. The sunset was terrific. The city looked great under
the lights. The bus ride back to the hotel was full of happy people.
Unbeknownst to us, member Bill Elder from Belle River, Ontario,
unable to cross the border, did the next best thing and parked his K
in a park by the river with the Princess in the background. As they
say Bill, if you can’t stop, honk and wave!
and it’s time for the Concours. The show was held in
conjunction with the Michigan Mopar Muscle Club at the Hub
Two cars were judged, Bill Golling’s G convertible
and Greg Piche’s K hardtop, both beautiful cars! While the
judges were attending to their duties, the rest of us had the
difficult task of voting for the People’s Choice Awards. With
34 letter cars, 3 sports and 2 Newports, voting was quite difficult.
So many great cars, Joe Jordan’s F 4spd, Mark Obermann’s
hunter green B made its debut, Herb Grube’s F, Keith Boonstra’s
C, Tom Haberek’s ‘70 (with about every option known to
Chrysler), and on and on. A super turn out!
during the show, Dave Coston, who is assembling information on a new
300 Story video, was interviewing members about their cars. We even
found a former Jefferson Assembly Plant Area Manager, now 85 years
old, who also was interviewed about the plant and building 300’s.
Dave and his crew will be using this information to create another
stellar video on our cars. Stay tuned, this will be a must have for
all 300 enthusiasts.
Peggy Lee says,
the party’s over, it’s time to call it a day… but
wait, there’s more! We’ve got a banquet to do. Diverting
from the hotel, the Lafayette Grande in downtown Pontiac was the
chosen site. This was originally a Masonic Temple built in the
1920’s. We were able to park our cars on the adjacent sidewalk
and parking lot, all picked up on video by Dave Coston’s crew.
As this was our
club’s 50th Anniversary, Terry’s Mc Taggart
talked about the details of the founding of the club and how Gil
Cunningham was instrumental in the formation of our club. We
recognized the founders in attendance, Terry McTaggart, Carol
Cunningham (Gil was unable to attend), Jim Bartuska and Arnold Lueth.
Then it was on to the results of the judged cars and the people’s
choice awards. Jim Krausmann, outgoing president, was roundly
applauded for his efforts for the club.
It was a great
meet, for the first time I can remember, the weather was perfect, no
rain. Those of us with convertibles really appreciated it. It was
great to come out of lock down, to get out, talk, ride in cars,
repair cars, dine together, meet new members and do the things we
I enjoyed meeting
the first time meet attendees, Dave and Kya Mason (Virginia), Rick
and Carol King, Wayne and Sue Simonson, and Greg and Jill Piche
(Michigan), Jeff and Kim Bailey (Oklahoma) and Bob and Nancy Kelley
(Wisconsin). Welcome aboard, it was great to meet you.
I want to thank
several people who helped with the meet, Gary Runkel, road scout and
parking assistant, Noel Hastalis, registration, Jamie and Dawn Hyde,
meet packets, Costco shopping and brake light repair and Jim
Bielenda, road rally and general advisor. This was my first meet to
host I enjoyed it. With a great group of people, great cars and
great weather, this meet was a real hit. If you weren’t able
to attend, I am told there are lots of pictures that will be shared
on the website.
Photo credits: Carl Bilter, Keith Boonstra, Brian Frank, Joe Gross, Jamie Hyde,
Mick Kreszock, Noel Hastalis, Jeff Miklas, Gloria Moon, Mark Obermann, Tony Rinaldi, Caroll Ripley, Don Verity,
Don Warnaar and Joe Williams.
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