You might have thought I had disappeared there for a bit. Perhaps a couple of you were almost hoping. Sorry, no dice. Now that I have managed to get myself back to the Land of the Maple Leaf and the ground no longer feels like it is still moving under my feet, I am all set to tell you about my trip to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI.
Ford was kind enough to fly me in for the event. This was my outbound plane. All of it. At 6 am.
There are two great things I can think of about flying that early in the morning. For starters, airports are considerably less crowded at that time of day. Secondly, you arrive in time for lunch. Where the Westin serves sweet treats like these for dessert. Other than that, there isn’t much.
In the evening, we were taken to the Ford Piquette Road Plant. This was Henry Ford’s original car building plant. His car building ventures failed three times before he finally got the hang of it. The building is filled with all sorts of antiques and oozes history at every turn. This is the Canadian Model T.
You might have thought this gem here on the skis would be Canadian, but alas, it was built for mid-west US winters.
People actually packed themselves up and went camping in this contraption. Outdoor camping-type people still mystify me…
Of course, it’s not a party without food. Michigan cheeses, roasted asparagus, quinoa salad as far as the eye can see.
Don’t worry – I didn’t miss dessert. Fresh pumpkin or cinnamon spice doughnuts and/or ice cream, with an assortment of toppings, along with a s’mores mini milkshake.
Detroit Bold coffee was there, too, paying homage to Henry Ford’s assembly line innovation in their coffee display.
We were all up again at the crack of crazy the next morning, ready to head out, after a scrumptious buffet breakfast.
We all sat in the news conference where the latest Ford vehicles were unveiled. This is the Ford 2015 F-150 Raptor. An absolute beauty (is it OK to call trucks beautiful?)
This is the 50th Anniversary of the Mustang. Here is the Mustang 350 GTR. It is tricked out with all kinds of stuff that I do not understand. What I did grasp was that they have taken out all kinds of stuff that doesn’t add to the performance of the vehicle to achieve significant weight savings. The 130 lbs that have been shaved off are a result of taking things like the back seat and the air conditioning out. Of course, with more than 500 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft of torque, not having air conditioning probably isn’t that big of a deal. With the exhaust resonators removed, you will definitely know this one is coming down the street.
Of course, the new Ford GT Carbon Fibre Supercar was definitely the show stopper. Slated for production next year, the sale price is still a bit of a mystery. I am pretty sure it’s well outside my price range anyways, but it will be interesting to see what it is.
To make sure we were up for all that walking around, Ford made sure we had plenty of sustenance, including doughnuts for breakfast.
Speaking of walking around, there was plenty to see. Like this Mustang in Competition Orange. Not quite a family friendly vehicle, but I think I will short-list it anyways.
Or this gem. A 1966 FORD F-100 Custom Cab Flareside that was modified to race as a Baja truck. Again, I am not entirely sure what that all means, but it was very cool.
There was, of course, more food at night. We ran a bit of a gauntlet to get there, on account of a small bomb threat incident. In true Canadian fashion, we marched on calmly, got back on the bus, headed back to the hotel restaurant, and ordered up some more supper. If you are wondering, to the left is a photo of an ahi tuna salad. To the right is a battered and deep-fried piece of salmon, smothered in sea food sauce and served with homemade potato chips. The potato chips were tasty.
Tuesday morning we were up again at the crack of Crazy O’Clock, after noshing down on yet another filling buffet breakfast. This time, we had hash browns and French Toast Sticks. As an aside, I have never seen to many things in miniature – ketchup, jam, honey – everything in teeny tiny little jars. So very cute.
It was the job of this drone to bring us snap models of the new Raptor pick up. Eat your heart out Amazon.
Again, there were lots of super cool things to see from the auto makers and suppliers. All of the models were impossibly slim and beautiful. They almost made me regret that second doughnut at the Piquette Plant dinner.
We ended our day with a tour of the Ford Rouge Plant, which has been recently retooled to handle the production of the F-150. It is incredible that the plant maintains the same footprint today as it did when Henry Ford built it in 1917. At a mile and a half wide and a mile long, it is truly a city unto itself. Today, we really don’t think that much about automation or the concept of the assembly line. These were Henry’s ground breaking ideas.
I’d love to tell you that after chilling out in the media room with some fellow attendees that I then proceeded to my plane, flew home, and was greeted by the same general chaos that is always my household. However, I did not. I will bore you with those details another time. For now, I will showcase my Chicago airport barista’s interpretation of my name.
If you are looking to do a little more automotive dreaming, search out the #FordNAIAS on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. My fellow Ford delegates covered just about every aspect of the show imaginable.