The Great Car Museum Tour: Detroit and Environs

Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Old AMC Headquarters
Former AMC Headquarters still stands in Southfield, Mich.

My hotel was in Southfield, a northeast Detroit suburb. From here, it was my plan to visit the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, as much of Detroit as possible, check out the old Packard complex, and cruise over to Ypsilanti for a look at the last Hudson dealer.

My first scouting operation was to find an auto relic right in Southfield… American Motors Corporation’s last headquarters.

In a rare bit of prosperity, AMC had built itself a nice tower in the late 1970s. It survives… even still had a rooftop sign that said “American Center” until recently. I found and photographed it. The sign now says “Charter One.”

There’s still lots of land around the tower; AMC execs in the ’70s might have had a “corporate campus” in mind like Chrysler built at Auburn Hills in the early ’90s.

The lobby of the building is big and glass. I can imagine Pacers proudly on display here. I can also imagine the sad faces in the building as Pacer sales tanked in the late ’70s, the Renault takeover and huge losses in the ’80s, and getting gobbled up by Chrysler in 1987.

I had planned on visiting AMC’s earlier HQ, on Plymouth Road, but ran out of time. It’s on my list for my next Detroit visit. End

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