Winnipeg Free Press

General Motors offers rare history lesson

by . Mar 09 2018
Vintage gas pumps add to the vibe.

Vintage gas pumps add to the vibe.

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. — The bus pulls up to a deliberately non-descript industrial warehouse in this Detroit suburb.

There’s very little indication this is a repository for some of the most famous — and most infamous — products and concepts in General Motors history.

This is the GM Heritage Center, an invitation-only collection spanning the history of one of the world’s largest automakers.

Inside, there’s a 1903 Oldsmobile Curved Dash, a 1905 Buick Model C, each of the Corvette generations as well as the original jet-engine powered Firebird concepts — including the version I, with its 1,250-F exhaust temperature.

There’s the Firebird II, also jet-powered, but with a heat exchanger that lowered exhaust temperature by 1,000 F.

There’s the striking 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad, as well as the less successful Nomad concept from the early 2000s.

The centre’s inventory changes on the daily, but it typically holds about 150 models at any one time. It’s not open to the public, making any glimpse inside that much more meaningful.

— Kelly Taylor

The 1903 Curved Dash Oldsmobile.

The 1903 Curved Dash Oldsmobile.

The GM Heritage Center’s Corvette Alley shows off each generation of the iconic sports car.

The GM Heritage Center’s Corvette Alley shows off each generation of the iconic sports car.

The jet-engine powered 1956 Firebird II is one of about 150 cars on display at the GM Heritage Center at any one time.

The jet-engine powered 1956 Firebird II is one of about 150 cars on display at the GM Heritage Center at any one time.

The 1969 512 Gasoline Experimental.

The 1969 512 Gasoline Experimental.

The 1905 Buick Model C.

The 1905 Buick Model C.