Michigan International Auto Show
January 30 - February 2, 2020
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Iconic DeLorean Best Known for Back to the Future Trilogy to Headline Gilmore Car Museum Display

Iconic DeLorean Best Known for Back to the Future Trilogy to Headline Gilmore Car Museum Display



Jay Follis, Gilmore Car Museum (269-671-5089, ext. 13 | jfollis@gilmorecarmuseum.org)
Dianna Stampfler, Show Publicist (269-330-4228 | dianna@promotemichigan.com)
Dawn Baker, Show Manager (616 447-2860 ext. 1011 | dawnb@showspan.com)
Henri Boucher, Show Producer (616-447-2860 | henrib@showspan.com)


Iconic DeLorean Best Known for Back to the Future Trilogy to Headline Gilmore Car Museum Exhibit at Michigan International Auto Show


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Every year, the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners loads up their finest vintage vehicles and hauls them to downtown Grand Rapids for the annual Michigan International Auto Show (January 31 through February 3, 2019 at DeVos Place). One of the featured vehicles this year is an iconic 1982 DeLorean DMC-12, which is most noted as the “headliner” in the Back to the Future film trilogy (1985-1990). This isn’t the DeLorean’s first appearance at this show, but it is certainly expected to be its most dramatic.

“We are working on a fun backdrop for the DeLorean and we’ll be inviting visitors to the Auto Show to take pictures of themselves with the car,” says Jay Follis, Director of Marketing at the Gilmore Car Museum. “In fact, we’re going to be offering some fantastic prizes for the most creative, movie-inspired pictures taken and shared on social media (with our official hashtags) including tickets to our “Pint with the Past” craft beer tasting event on February 16, one admission to our Model T Ford Driver’s Training or a family membership to the museum. We’ll have contest rules posted in our display and online at GRAutoShow.com.”

The futuristic-looking DeLorean is one of the most noted movie cars of all time, starring as a “time machine” for Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox). The sports car was actually the brainchild of John DeLoren, the automotive maverick and former General Motors engineer who created the Pontiac GTO in 1964. The DMC-12, with its distinctive stainless-steel body and exotic gull-wing doors, went into production in 1981. By 1983, amidst financial difficulties and John DeLorean’s prosecution on a federal drug charge of which he was later acquitted, the venture unraveled after building only 8,583 cars.


Other vehicles on display from Gilmore this year include:

1903 Columbia Electric Runabout: Steam- and electric-powered automobiles were the most popular and most successful “horseless carriages” of the turn of the last century. In fact, the Columbia Electric was the best-selling American automobile of 1900 — years before Ford, Cadillac and Chevrolet debuted. While the electric car was popular in large cities it obviously wasn’t practical where there was little or no power.  As late as the mid-1930s, nine out of ten rural Michigan homes had no available electric service.

1999 Ford Ranger Electric Vehicle (EV): To sell autos in California, manufacturers needed to offer the public an electric vehicle. The pickup was actually only offered as a lease to fleets and Ford employees; only about 1,400 were ever produced. This truck was donated to the museum by a Ford Design Team member involved with EV project. Interestingly, the big three sued the state of California over the requirement (and won), so the EV Rangers were dropped just a few years later.

1909 Brush Runabout: In 1910 two brothers—aged 6 and 10—rode their horses all the way from Oklahoma City, OK to New York City, NY to meet Teddy Roosevelt! When they met up with their father there, the boys talked their dad into buying them a 1909 Brush Motor Car and the two young Abernathy brothers DROVE their car (identical to the one displayed) 2,500 miles home! They stopped to see the world-famous Niagara Falls, drove into Michigan to visit the Brush Motor Car factory in Detroit, then headed to Battle Creek to see how their breakfast cereal was made. The boys were treated as celebrities throughout their entire journey home, not because of their age, but for undertaking such a daring trip. During that time, less than 12 people had successfully driven the new-fangled automobile from coast to coast and most people had never traveled more than 25 miles from home. The Abernathy’s adventure was also before good roads, guide maps, or gas stations and the automobile was still considered a fad.

1926 Chevrolet Fire Truck: With the introduction of the Ford Model T in 1908 and the electric starter in 1912, the gas-powered automobile became far more affordable and easier to operate than steam- or electric-powered cars. The automotive “fad” never passed, and the car was here to stay. Emergency services also started to motorize. This 1926 Chevrolet fire truck is typical of what many cities purchased, as the city of Kalamazoo did in 1924 when they retired their last horse-drawn fire equipment. The Museum is giving you the opportunity with this fire truck to climb onboard and snap a photo during the show!

1928 Model A Ford Fire Truck: In 1897, the Grand Rapids Fire Department had 10 stations manned by 121 men and 53 horses. The city’s first motorized fire truck was a 1910 Oldsmobile. In 1919 the city purchased an Ahrens-Fox pumper that replaced a horse-drawn steam pumper. Many smaller cities finally retired their horse-drawn fire equipment by purchasing the affordable Ford Model A fire truck like the one displayed.

1929 Duesenberg J-187 Clear Vision: The mighty Duesenberg J was introduced in 1929—the same year that marked the stock market crash and beginning of the Great Depression—and became the Supercar of the 1930s. The Duesenberg J was the choice of not those simply rich, but of the ultra-wealthy and became a status symbol for Hollywood elite, monarchs and captains of industry alike. This custom-built motorcar was purchased new by a law firm in Grand Rapids, MI and used to shuttle its clients between there and Chicago. The price of a new Duesenberg J was the equivalent of purchasing 41 new Model A Fords!

NOTE: The Museum is hosting an exhibit called “It’s a Duesy” through the fall of 2019 showcasing 20 of these rare automobiles in what is perhaps the largest, most prestigious public museum exhibition of Duesenberg Motor Cars held in decades.

1957 Ford Custom 300 State of Michigan Patrol Car: The Michigan State Police was founded in April 1917 as the Michigan State Troops Permanent Force and was initially created as a temporary emergency regiment to provide homeland security during World War I. The cavalry of 300 men patrolled the state on horseback until 1924 when motorcycles became its main form of transportation. The first Michigan State Police marked patrol cars went into use in 1929. This 1957 Ford Custom 300 was built specifically by Ford Motor Company for the needs of the police fleet. Referred to as a “Police Interceptor,” it was equipped with a 312 cu. in. 300 hp supercharged engine, and included non-standard seat belts as part of the police safety package.

1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda 340 – in “Sassy Grass” Green: By 1971, with increasingly restrictive federal fuel mileage regulations, escalating personal insurance costs and changing attitudes of car buyers, the end of the Muscle Car era seemed close at hand. Manufacturers began pushing their mid-sized economy cars while their performance offerings—like the Plymouth Barracuda—received subdued advertising. While one of the current trends in new cars is a vibrant light green color, “all things come ‘round again” as they say.  The Plymouth Barracuda changed in appearance for 1971 and was offered in a total of 21 paint color combinations including six “High Impact” tones: Tor-Red, Curious Yellow, In-Violet Metallic, Bahama Yellow, Lemon Twist and Sassy Grass Green.


Founded in 1966 in Hickory Corners, the Gilmore Car Museum – North America’s largest auto museum — is nestled on a 90-acre, park-like setting less than an hour south of Grand Rapids. The ever expanding, world-class museum is considered one of the top car museums in the nation and is truly one of Michigan’s hidden treasures. Celebrating its 53rd year, Gilmore Car Museum is open year-round and is host to a variety of car shows, special events and a popular Lecture Series.


The 21st Annual Michigan International Auto Show, hosted by the Grand Rapids New Car Dealers Association, is one of 14 consumer expositions produced by ShowSpan Inc., in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Founded in 1945, ShowSpan – a Studio C Company – has grown to be one of the largest producers of consumer shows in the Midwest.

Michigan International Auto Show: January 31-February 3, 2019
Thursday, January 31    11:00am – 9:30pm
Friday, February 1         11:00am – 9:30pm
Saturday, February 2     10:00am – 9:30pm
Sunday, February 3       10:00am – 5:00pm

Admission: $12 adults, $5 children aged 6 to 14.  Kids 5 and under are admitted free.

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