Buick Research Gallery

Here is the model of factory #31-#11-and #66 at the Buick Research Gallery in Flint, Michigan.
When I was at the Buick Research Gallery one thing really disappointed me. A lot of the cars I was looking forward to seeing were not on display. The Sloan Museum used to display the Buick’s more prominently before the research gallery was opened. They still do special Buick showings, in fact one is coming up may of 2008. Myself and others I’ve encountered on the internet have this idea of using the original Buick factory #31/11 which is still in existence only abandoned by General Motors. The combined buildings at this location include old factory #66 the crankshaft factory. Now this structure still has the original roof trusses in place from when factory #01 (the first Buick factory built for the Oak Park Industries) was a single story building, plus the roof trusses are there from when Buick’s first sheet metal plant (#12) was a single story building. Now here’s the fun part. You could use these buildings as an on sight museum for all automotive history in Flint. This would open up the Cultural Center for other activities. Right now they’re removing historic houses and always complaining they need more parking. Could you imagine this museum located in the actual buildings where the history was made? Now I know most of the machines and equipment are usually abandoned and left in place in these old G.M. factories but thats a plus. All you would need to do is sweep up the floors and patch the roof leaks and start setting up the displays. Picture in your mind actually seeing and being able to touch this part of Flint and General Motors history. The parking places are already in place which is another plus. So here we are on opening day, walking into the south entrance of old factory #11 on Leith Street going through the very entrance that thousands of Buick workers have walked through over the past 100 years. Maybe the first thing you notice is the same thing the original worker’s noticed, “this place is huge”. As you walk through this living time capsule you will see mixed among the machinery actual artifacts from Buick and Flint’s past. Now the city of Flint tried this idea of bringing in tourism with Auto World, but this is on a whole other level. I went to Auto World and believe me it was pretty cheesy and by that I mean it seemed like it was designed as an amusement park by people who only read a book about Flint. This living museum could be used for 100 more years and beyond. If you wanted to draw in the tourist dollar, you need something unique that nobody else has and these buildings would definitely qualify as unique. I can only imagine the people from all over the world who would come to Flint to see this “LIVING MUSEUM”. If people could see the cars and displays that are hidden away for lack of space I would venture to guess they would find it very similar to the “Henry Ford Museum”. Maybe this is a foolish dream but our ancestors that made Flint the auto capital of the world back in the day were also dreamers. Once these buildings are gone, they are gone forever and so is the dream.

Here I am in a 1917 Buick and if I was any fatter I wouldn’t fit.
This is the M-18 Tank I seen at Buick’s 100th birthday running around at Bishop airport.
Here is a large dealer neon sign.
Here is an original wood and clay mock up for the 1939 Buick. It is rather large. My daughter’s reflection in the case gives an idea of size.

This is one of the workshops at the Buick Gallery in Flint. When I was there on April 15, 2008 they were still working on the body of the 1953 Skylark. You can see the Buick Bug with it’s hood removed and also a Whiting automobile.


One thought on “Buick Research Gallery

  1. I don’t think this is a foolish dream. This idea, or one like it, should have been implemented instead of Autoworld. A massive car museum would have been a legitimate thing for tourists to visit. Look how amazing Sloan is despite its size limitations! Alas, it’s hard to imagine it happening now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s