Tuesday, August 3, 2010

destination detroit

Twenty years ago this month, I steered my Desert Rose 1956 Imperial (white top and wire wheels, thank you) toward the Motor City for a very special car show. It was the Grand Invitational of the Lambda Car Club, the country's largest gay and lesbian car club. Detroit was hosting for the first time and it was my very first gay car show, having found Lambda only a few months prior.

It was a long day on I-94 winding up from Chicago (the axiom about Michigan having two seasons- winter and road construction) was never more true and although the big Hemi's temperature gauge never wavered, mine came close to overheating. Finally, long after sunset, I turned the big pink Mopar into the parking lot of the host hotel and the headlamps immediately caught a row of....Model A Fords. It occurred to me that I might have made a grevious error in judgment. I stepped into the office and asked if there was more than one car club staying there. The lady glanced over my shoulder at the grinning Pepto Bismol Imperial and smiled. "Oh, you guys are out back. Take the first left." I did as instructed and saw a row of glistening tailfins. I was home.

It was a week long graduate study course in automotive history. Museums, homes of the auto pioneers, old historic factories, even searching for the faded Imperial water tower on mound road. A couple of hundred guys, many of whom have remained friends to this day. Many other fine people no longer with us. Over a hundred cars on the field. An iconic time.

Last week I was in Detroit for their "Motown 2010", on the twentieth anniversary of the original. Another awesome event with four hundred people and over two hundred cars in attendance. A lot of people from the original and even three cars on the field from the 1990 show. I'll be sharing stories throughout the week. I'm in automotive sensory overload. This is a good thing.

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