Corvette concept vehicles
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Cadillacs in front of Meadowbrook Hall
1936 Hudson Custom 8
1954 Plymouth Belmont concept
August 4, 2002 - The 24th annual Meadow Brook Hall Concours dElegance in Rochester, Michigan was the main event in a week long celebration of classic automobiles, which included an automotive art exhibition, a road tour, historic races and a gala banquet, auction and fashion show.
The event took place on the lush, sprawling lawns of historic Meadow Brook Hall, an 80,000 square-foot, 110 room mansion built during the golden automotive era by Matilda Dodge Wilson, widow of automotive pioneer John Dodge. The house sits on a 1,500-acre estate that was donated by the Dodge family to Michigan State University to create what became the Oakland University.
Sponsored by General Motors Corporation, this years event highlighted the 100th anniversary of the Cadillac, and the 50th anniversary of the Chevrolet Corvette. Gary L. Cowger, President of General Motors North America, was the honorary chairman. Other special features of this years show were the racing and sports cars of Frank Kurtis, the 100th anniversary of Pierce Arrow, automotive artist Barry Rowe and the Fall Collection 2002 of fashion designer Escada.
Beginning in 1902 with a single-cylinder engine prototype that featured rack and pinion steering and variable valve timing, Cadillac founder Henry M. Leland established his vision for the ever-evolving brand. While Lelands innovations were present throughout the companys history, Cadillac is especially known for these significant contributions: the first closed body vehicle in 1906; the interchangeability of parts among various models in 1908, thereby enabling mass production, the assembly line and new industry standards; the first electric self starter in 1912; the first mass produced V-8 engine and the first V-16 engine. Cadillac won the Dewar Trophy for outstanding automotive achievements in 1908 and 1912 making it the only company in the world to win that prestigious honor twice.
In 1927, Cadillac debuted its LaSalle model, the first American car to be crafted exclusively by an automotive stylist. The stylist (and future General Motors Vice-President) was Harley Earl. His vision led to the creation of Cadillacs Art and Colour department, the industries first in house design center and the forerunner of what is now GMs Design Center.
Throughout the past century, Cadillac has established itself as a leader in luxury, innovation and design. Modern breakthroughs include On-Star, Night Vision, Stabilitrack, and XM radio. From its famous 1950s tailfins to todays edgy, futuristic designs like the CTS and Escalade, Cadillac continues to pursue expressive design and functional technology.
Having captivated Americans for 5 decades, the Chevrolet Corvette is not only Americas first, but also most coveted sports car. Making its debut at the 1953 Motorama show in New York, the Corvette immediately won the hearts of sports car enthusiasts. The cars rich and storied history begins in Michigan with the first 300 models being produced in a temporary facility in Flint. The first 8 were driven from there to General Motors Milford Proving Grounds for its introduction to the press.
After dismal success with the first model, the Corvette would have disappeared from American roads without the vision and enthusiasm of GM engineer Zora Arkus Duntov. Under his leadership, a more powerful and youthful Corvette was introduced at the 1956 Motorama show that measured up both on and off the racetrack with other world class sports cars of the period. From those early years until todays model, distinctive, often leading edge, styling and technical innovations such as disc brakes, independent rear suspension and fuel injection have helped the Corvette attain its current status as one of Americas most desirable cars.
The Sunday of the show was very hot and sunny, with rain threatening to come but never arriving. The beautiful Meadow Brook house is situated on top of a hill that overlooks the field of cars the viewing stands and the awards area. Visitors were greeted by the sight of both old and new Cadillacs and Corvettes situated in the circular drive near the front entrance to the house. Surrounding the house were tents with refreshments and seating for the patrons and visitors of the event. Also on display in the shadow of the home were some of the most significant special vehicles. These included GMs CERV series of technology demonstrators, and two of its wild 1950s era Firebird showcars and Plymouths Belmont Concept Sports Roadster.