Car Shows, Collections and Museums in Detroit

A Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is displayed at the press preview of the 2014 North American International Auto Show January 14, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan.
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Detroit has to live up to its Motor City moniker, which means that a lot of our recreational life revolves around the automobile. Whether you're into the classic cars, Mustangs, automobile history, the latest production models or concept cars, there are plenty of car shows, collections, and museums in Detroit.

Permanent Exhibits / Tours

The most notable (and permanent) celebration of the automobile in the Detroit area would have to be The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, which houses probably the greatest depository of historic cars. Lest you think the collection contains only Fords, think again. The hangar-type hall includes just about every make and model there is, as well as mobile homes, bikes, and cars involved in historic events. For instance, the museum displays the limousine Kennedy rode in when shot, the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, and the Rosa Parks bus.

While at The Henry Ford Museum, you can board a bus to the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. The self-guided tour includes the chance to watch the assembly of the Ford F-150 truck. The tour includes a documentary about Henry Ford and a Multi-Sensory Theatre Experience. It also includes the Legacy Gallery, which showcases five Ford models from various eras.

If you're a Chrysler fan, check out the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills that houses Chrysler models from the past, present and future. Throughout the year, the museum also hosts several special exhibits and events.

Annual Car Shows

The North American International Auto Show is arguably Detroit's biggest annual event. The Detroit car show was originally organized by area car dealers back to 1907 and was expanded in the late 1980s into the North American International Auto Show (“NAIAS”). The car show has been hosted by Cobo Center in downtown Detroit since 1961. The NAIAS showcases current models from manufacturers around the world and consistently claims the most world-wide production and concept-car debuts of any of the national car shows, including those held in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. It is also the only domestic auto show to be distinguished by the Organisation Internationale des Cosntructeurs d'Automobile as a “major international” show.

The Concours d'Elegance of America showcases classic luxury cars selected by the show's organizers. The event is held on the grounds of the Inn at St. John's and includes an automotive-inspired art show and a vintage car auction. In 2011, the organizers added a track event at the Michigan International Speedway.

Still Other Car Shows:

While the museums and shows described above hold the most cars in terms of collection and exhibition, there are several other car-related events that take place throughout the year in Detroit. In addition to the car shows and events hosted by communities along Woodward Avenue to complement the Woodward Dream Cruise, there are several other car shows and events throughout the Metro-Detroit area in August, including the Bloomfield Township Classic Car Show, Mustang Memories All Ford Car Show & Swap in Dearborn, and Cruzin' the Park Swap Meet and Car Show in Belleville.​

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