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2014 Annual National Meet,  Full coverage and photos below.   July 9 12, 2014 Auburn Hills, Michigan

                               More photos on our Facebook Page 

From around the country and around the globe WPC members came to Auburn Hills for the annual WPC Meet. They started arriving on Sunday, several days before the meet was scheduled to begin and by the time the meet officially began we had quite a good crew on hand. Members from Arizona and Colorado,Texas and Louisiana and Massachusetts and all points in between were ready to tour. It was nice to see so many faces not seen in recent years. We also had a small contingent from  Sweden and Norway and Canada as well.  

 For those anywhere near Detroit on Tuesday it was monsoonal  rain, it took us 3 hours to drive in from Kalamazoo and I'm not sure we really ever made contact with the road until getting  just outside the parking lot. Many other members mentioned  this whether coming from the east or farther west, but once in  Auburn Hills the weather was perfect for the entire week.

 The tours had a WPC theme to them, even if we weren't touring  much owned by the makers of our cars. The Ford Piquette Avenue plant which was the second Ford factory was very  interesting and fairly small,but it turned out some of Ford's best early cars. Ford's original plant. Mack Avenue where the original Model A was built was only a few blocks away, Studebaker had a factory next door and the old GM Building could be seen out the window just a couple of blocks over on the other side of Woodward Ave. Many of the parts for the early  Fords were made by the Dodge brothers. When Henry started  production of the Model T in 1908 the Dodge Brothers factory  provided most of the heavy metal used in that car, the engine  and many of the parts of the running gear. John and Horace  and Henry parted ways in 1914 and a new car was bom, the  Dodge Brothers, a bit bigger and a bit better than the Model T.  Of course the Dodge's had made a large fortune while working  for Henry Ford and put it to good use.

We learned that the early Ford's built at this plant had wings   emanating out to either side from the Ford logo. This plant was  where the Model T developed and the earliest T's were built  there beforeproduction shifted to Highland Park where the moving assembly line was perfected.

  After this stop we toured on down Woodward to the General  Motors World Headquarters on the Detroit River in downtown  Detroit. The building was built by Ford Motor a couple pf   decades ago as a headquarters. It is easily recognizable as the    tallest building on the riverfront and in Detroit and by its five   cylindrical towers. The view from the top is just spectacular   and you can look south to Canada across the Detroit River,   or to Cobo Hall, site of the North American InternationalAutomobile Show, Belle Isle or out across Detroit into the far suburbs. Many took advantage of the huge Food Court on the ground level and dined on just about anything your heartdesired. Others walked out onto the new River Walk along the Detroit River where they were setting up for the boat races on the weekend.

After a few hours it was back to the buses and back to the hotel for the night. It was good to get into Detroit again and see it was so busy downtown and along Woodward, the city at least in some areas has made a remarkable comeback, it still has a long way to go, but it has started making noticeable strides and should be able to make more in the years to come.

Thursday we headed over to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village for a day of many eras and types of history. From the earliest Ford cars, and Presidential Limousines to the bus on which Rosa Parks moved the civil rights movement forward to other types of vintage machinery, airplanes, trains and just about everything else used to build American industry and much more of what it built are on display in the Ford Museum. Over in Greenfield Village is displayed life in simpler times from the old village square to the Wright Brothers home to Thomas Edison's Menio Park complex, where the inventor  created so many of his famous inventions. It is worthy of a day  or two just to stroll around and soak up the atmosphere, you  can forget you are in the center of a bustling city and right next  to a Ford Motor Company engineering center. Not far down the  road is the new River Rouge plant where Ford is building its  all-new aluminum F-150 pickups. And out across the parking  lot is the old Ford Airport where Tri-Motors used to land  bringing people to Dearborn, now part of Ford's Engineering  Department it is used as a test track.

  Thursday night we had Dr. Charles Hyde, noted historian and  author speak about Detroit and the Arsenal of Democracy.  Dr. Hyde has written several books on the Dodge Brothers,  Chrysler and orphan cars as well as his subject of the evening.  Friday we drove over to Meadowbrook Hall, just about 5 miles  from the headquarters hotel. The group toured the home of  Matilda Dodge and Alfred Wilson had a fine luncheon under  the big tent outside the house and got a close look at the Dodge   Garage which housed 6 Dodge Brothers cars including the last   personal cars owned by Horace and John Dodge. Many of the   group had the opportunity to get pictures of their cars in front   of Meadowbrook Hall on the circular driveway.

From here it was a short dive to the Walter P. Chrysler Museum where we had the opportunity to spend some time viewing the magnificent collection of Mopars on display. It looks surprisingly like it did the last time I was there several years ago. There are some different cars on display, but most of the displays were pretty much the same. It is definitely worth seeing if you get the opportunity. I am asked all the time about the museum as so many people would like to see it, both cars guys and regular tourists, but there is not a real good answer I can give them. The museum is available for pre-arranged group tours, just give them a call and set one up. As the Mopar guys in town we need to keep spreading the word and maybe Chrysler will notice that many people would like to see it and at least  open it occasionally.

 While at the museum we got a group photo of many of the cars parked up in front of the building in celebration of Collector Car Appreciation Day sponsored by SEMA to recognize the importance of the auto restoration hobby in America. Clubs of all types around the country celebrated that day and the photos can be viewed on their website.   A short hop after this brought us back to our headquarters hotel. The evening brought our membership meeting where it was great to see so many old friends and make new ones as well. Then the highlight of the evening was the Fun and Ugly Auction. Many items were brought in to the auction ranging from books, posters, car parts, and other objects de art. All fund new homes and raised about $500 for the clubs coffers. And it was great fun. I have to give a special thanks to Sue Simonson who acted as our auctioneer and Dwight Fish as our ring man who really got into it. Hopefully we can do more of these in the future.

Early Saturday morning the parking lot became busy with  activity as vehicles began to lineup for pictures and placement  in their proper classes. Saturday was a bit warmer and more  humid than the rest of the week which had beautiful summer   weather, but once your car was parked you could sit right on  the hotel patio and watch all the activity, have lunch and have a  drink. It was a great way to take in the show.  The cars were arranged in 15 classes covering the entire  production history of Chrysler. We had Airflow, 300, Town &  Country, Prowler, a Chrysler boat. Charger, Challenger and it  seems likeeverything in-between. We even had a small swap  meet at the edge of the show field to help finish up that next  show car. It was a fun and relaxing day.

  As night fall approached we all headed to our banquet, just yards  away from the show. The dinner was very good the company  excellent and then we were ready to give out the awards. The  awards were handed out by our two newest board members. Pat  Opipari and Terry Williams, both new to the board but veterans   of many WPC Meets. Awards in the 15 classes, plus the special awards, plus a new award this year. The Bob McClure Award honoring his service to the club and his love of Imperials of the 1950s. The first one being awarded to Clyde Horst and his beautiful 1956 Imperial convertible. The other special award presented which goes to a member who best represents the spirit of the meet was awarded by its benefactor Dr. David George Briant, along with his son and grandson was given to Janet Cook who worked tirelessly at registration all week. I am not sure who was more excited by the award Janet or David when she kissed and his hand went up in salute. It was truly a great moment.

The Lee lacocca Award is presented to a member who has  worked for the WPC Club and the old car hobby over the years. This year it was awarded to Norm Frey, the first president of the WPC Club. Norm has continued to be very active in the old car hobby well into his 90s and continues to be an ambassador for everything Mopar. Usually we take up a collection for the lacocca Foundation and diabetes research at the banquet, but this year decided to open this up to anyone wishing to donate to this worthy cause. So you can write a check to the lacocca Foundation and send it to Greg Biskey, 2535 85th Ave NE, Blaine, MN 55449.

A national meet takes years of planning and a small army of  people to make it happen. This year we are indebted to our Great Lakes Region under the direction of Sue Simonson for taking up the challenge and pulling it off so flawlessly. All the members of the region deserve our thanks for helping Sue make this such an enjoyable week for the membership. I know I will miss many if I tried to name names so hopefully a group thank you will suffice. A few special thanks are in order to Marc Rozman and Tom Wilson who put together the Power Point presentation of winners for the banquet and to Marc for his  acting as official photographer and to additional photographic  help from Ken Angyal, Terry Williams and Ron Glowen.

  Now it is time to turn our thoughts to the next National Meet   in Springfield, Illinois in 2015, planning is just about done and  it looks like it should be a great meet, it will be about 2 weeks  later in July next time. And it is never too early to think about  2016 when we will be heading to Maine for our meet and doing  something a bit different and having it in early September. Hope  to see you all at one of these future meets.Explanation of the title of the article, the 100 is the anniversary of the Dodge Brothers first car in late 1914, the 90 refers to the anniversary of Chrysler which started in 1924 and the 50 refers to the 50th anniversary of the Plymouth Barracuda which beat the Ford Mustang to market by a couple of days. Chrysler Corporation has a lot of history to be proud of and to celebrate.With that in mind next year is the 60th anniversary of the fabled 300.