Fun in Michigan
By Michael Gustafson
My wife Lois Ann and I were in Michigan at the 50th Anniversary WPC National Meet,
Aug. 13-17, 2019. This event did not really seem too well attended, though 53 cars were
registered for the show. The location for the event was the Auburn Hills Marriott Hotel in
Pontiac, Michigan, just off famous Woodward Ave.
Here is a link to photos from the national meet:
This also happened to be Pontiac Power Week, a yearly weeklong celebration of cars
and music, with the iconic Woodward Dream Cruise on Saturday. Therefore, the hotel
parking lot was also a gathering place for classic cars from many states, and Canada.
The cruise is a 16-mile route along Woodward Ave., through several Detroit-area
communities. Billed as the largest one-day automotive event in the world, there were
about 40,000 cars bumper-to-bumper and over a million spectators along the route. It
was fun to be in this environment, and although we did not stay for the Saturday cruise
event, we did get to see the Friday gathering process and trial runs.
We also stopped at a rural residence on Curtis Road in Salem Township, between
Pontiac and Plymouth. This is a farmstead where my wife's mother worked for the Ford
Motor Company as a nanny. Although you might first assume the job was for the Ford
family, that was not the case. This farmstead was a converted old cobblestone collection
of buildings that Harry Bennett and Harry Mack (both Henry Ford's cronies) made into a
modern horse and cattle ranch. Harry Mack and his family actually lived on the ranch
from 1933 to late summer of 1945 when Henry Ford II fired both Bennett and Mack. The
timeframe for the nanny job was in 1942 and early 1943. Pictures taken during this era
show people and horse riding events captured in the same setting that we found when
we drove onto the property.
Along with the pictures also appeared an old rodeo brochure. The rodeo happened at
the farmstead in September of 1942. It was sponsored by several Ford Motor Company
people, including Bennett, Mack and board members such as Charles Lindbergh.
Lindbergh was a friend of Ford's who helped to bring about the creation of the Ford
assembly plant at Willow Run, which built B-24 Liberators for the Army Air Force during
MD adds - There is more to this story, which Michael is researching. He is working with
two sisters who now own the ranch, and with volunteers from the Salem Township
Historical Society. It will be interesting to learn about what he discovers.
Fall Cruise to Afton
Sunday September 29th was cold and drizzly, but 11 people in six cars braved the
elements for a nice easy cruise out to quaint Afton, MN, on the banks of the St. Croix
River. The drive was very pretty - along Mississippi River Blvd, then skirting downtown
St. Paul on Kellogg Blvd and east on Bailey Road and Afton Road. Fall colors were
barely starting, just a few yellows and reds mixed into the greenery.
When we got to Afton, the Art in the Park annual show was going on, a two-day festival
of arts and crafts from area artists. Tents were set up all along Main St. Since it was
rainy, we all opted to head inside for some lunch. We ate at “Current” restaurant and had
great food and animated conversation. We never did make it to the fair, though it had
stopped raining by the time we came out of the restaurant.
Cars and people that participated in the cruise –
1956 DeSoto - Bob and Deb Smith
1990 Imperial - Kathryn and Kristian Oyen (New car – they got it for $650! Looks great.)
1995 LeBaron – Scot Rolek
1993 LeBaron Convertible - Elke and Garry Keim
2012 Fiat 500C – Garry and Mickey Yazell
2015 Chrysler 300C – Linda and Jim Hanson