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Auto Hall of Fame Head Wants to Build Tourism

Grandson of Hudson Motor founder says hall needs do more.

by on Sep.15, 2010

Bill Chapin takes a spin on the 1893 replica of the Benz three-wheeler, which normally sits in the Automotive Hall of Fame, but was recently taken out and operated. “That was really exciting,” Chapin said.

Americans have a love affair with their cars that goes back to the creation of the auto industry more than 100 years ago. So it would make sense that they would want to visit the cradle  the automotive industry, Detroit.

But far too many people only think about crime, auto bailouts and bad football when they think of Detroit. They don’t realize Detroit’s role in putting the world on wheels.

That’s where Bill Chapin comes in. As the new president of the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Chapin has some ideas about how to get the general public to share his passion for Detroit’s automotive heritage.

Click here to visit the Automotive Hall of Fame’s Web site.

Make History!

AHF is the place to go to learn about the people whose names are on the cars we drive. Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, they’re all there, but so are Honda, Peugeot, Daimler and Ferrari. It’s not as much about the cars as it is about the people who created the automobile, then made it better over the course of history. You can also learn about The Driving Spirit, a theme that describes the unseen force that pushed inventors to think of something better.

Doing the Right Thing for the Wrong Reason

by on Mar.16, 2009

Sometimes the right things are done for the wrong reasons; witness Detroit City Council's decision to kill a planned expansion of Cobo Hall, home of the Detroit Auto Show.

Sometimes right things are done for wrong reasons; witness Detroit City Council's decision to kill a planned expansion of Cobo Hall.

For nearly a week, each January, Cobo Hall becomes my virtual home.  It’s not that I’m seeking asylum, but like thousands of other automotive journalists, I spend most of my waking hours at the annual North American International Auto Show.  Over the decades, I’ve come to know the aging facility well.  And I’ve heard all the arguments raised, during those many years, for expanding it, replacing it – or, if you listen to a few of my frustrated colleagues, simply burning it down to the ground.

Recently, Detroit’s fractious City Council voted down the latest mega-milion-dollar plan to expand Cobo Hall.  In typically absurd style, members of the “august” body called up racist images and turned to divisive city/suburban politics to justify their tortured logic.  The nay vote will now be the subject of an imminent court battle pitting Detroit’s interim Mayor Ken Cockrel against the council, which is led by Monica Conyers, wife of the powerful U.S. Rep. John Conyers.

I must admit, I seldom find myself in agreement with Madame Council President, but this time I think she is arguing for the right move – albeit for all the wrong reasons.  Simply cleaning up and expanding the aging Cobo Hall is little more than putting a band-aid on a bullet wound.  Frankly, the facility does need to be taken down to its foundation.

Why?  Click here to read my editorial, which appeared in today’s Detroit Free Press.