Detroit’s allure as a motorcity has evolved through time
DETROIT, Michigan—Call it the motoring way of life.
Those who are at this side of journalism referred to as the beat on wheels tend to have the privilege of getting first dibs on the next available car in the market in the most sought-after destinations.
It’s both a PR and marketing strategy for auto firms to be taking a bunch of motoring journos for a ride—not quite literally—if only to fetch the best impressions they can impart to their targeted clients.
From the autobahns of Europe, the freeways of America, the tight rural roads of Japan and even the tightly guarded formula tracks and speedways, there are no boundaries for a car brand to pull off a surprise.
The proverbial life is a box of chocolates is always applicable to the motoring beat. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to get.
So off we went to Detroit, Michigan, as visitors of General Motors (GM) expecting no more than another of those be-the-first-to-see-our-latest-car sessions and be at least pleased enough to write about it.
Well, years of association with the bowtie brand have kept us updated with what’s happening with them years after we drove the electric Volt through winding roads in Lucerne, Switzerland, with snowcapped mountains and lands of such lush vegetation to mesmerize a first-timer.
This time, we found ourselves behind the wheel of a compact SUV called Trax.
It was barely half a day getting to know you encounter with something that could add to the continuously growing number of cars plying the Metro Manila streets and well, adding to the traffic woes.
The Trax, in an honest-to-goodness compact summary, is just a right fit for the right customer.
Put in a showdown with the more established models, the Trax can surely hold its own with a price that is a little less than a million, an engine that can handle both city driving and an out-of-town ride at a maximum fuel efficiency and the comforts of a long ride.
The more elaborate erudition of this hatchback immortalized by the blockbuster film “Transformers: Age of Extinction” will come in the coming months when the units are ready to ply the streets. But there was one surprise that caught a visitor’s fancy: One of the chosen colors was called Boracay Blue.
That was the Trax drive part of the itinerary.
The next was more on the Detroit charm. Or what was left of it.
The chance to roam around the General Motors Heritage Center took us to a sentimental time travel, boasting of countless car stories that spelled the difference for the human race’s mobility nowadays.
There were precious gems like the 1912 Cadillac, 1939 Buick Roadmaster, 1937 Cadillac Fleetwood, 1955 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, 1967 Camaro Pace Car, 1969 Manta Ray, 1970 Chevrolet Nova SS and even the 1972 Buick Silver Arrow.
They form part of GM’s mind-boggling collection of 450 cars, 165 of which occupying a space on the 6,000-square-meter display area.
More reminiscing was to come as the forefathers of American music were given some reflection in the visit to Motown. There was no denying the connection of that now legendary label to an industry that has made the city to what it is more than a century later.
It was also hard to believe that a one-day event like the Woodward Dream Cruise could bring in as many as a million tourists. Much more 40,000 cars of sentimental value.
But they all did and a first timer like this author wound up salivating over the parade of classics in a joyous atmosphere of a motoring Mardi Gras stretching to as far a distance of 14 miles or around 22 kilometers.
Looking at how people spend their lazy hours slumped on foldable seats by the roadside waiting for the next Vanderbilt or prewar Cadillac to whiz by with engines roaring could be a puzzle.
It was time to turn off the TV and see what’s being shown on History Channel coming to reality on Woodward Avenue.
Apparently for those attending the event, there was something better than a Freedom Day parade or bikini watching in California!
The best was yet to come.
The final part of this Chevrolet trifecta was the Pure Michigan 400, a Nascar Race at the Michigan International Speedway.
A lady took us to a brief garage tour and opened our eyes to the reality of why Nascar drivers being treated bigger than the American rockstars.
They had crews operating from a team bus easily worth $2 million and spend as much as $25,000 on tires alone, per car per race. It makes for good reason that a ticket to a race is worth at least $70 and it appears like every cent is all worth it.
All things considered, Detroit can really have its charms for a tourist if the trip is well planned. The GM way.