By: Matt Wolfe
Induction season is a busy stretch for everyone at the Hall. By the time June rolls around, we’re all sweating over the final details of putting on our yearly festival of extravagance. My role in organizing the madness this year was figuring out how to get nine cars with a combined value in excess of $15 million dollars in and out the Renaissance Ballroom in less than 24 hours.
Planning their arrival and departure seemed a lot like trying to lead three-ring circus through a minefield. In order for the vehicles to even reach the freight elevator that would take them into the ballroom, they all had to pass through X-ray security checkpoint, be driven through the security gate into the underground loading dock beneath the Renaissance center, be inspected for compliance with the Fire Chief, and then be pushed up into the elevator.
Getting cars into the building was difficult enough. The fact that each of these vehicles was worth more than a three bedroom bungalow made the task even more nerve-wracking. Pushing on a 1950 Ferrari 275 worth over $12 million with an aluminum body that will dent if you give it a dirty look would make anyone nervous. Similarly difficult was dragging a 6000lb Range Rover up an incline into the elevator and across the ballroom. You might as well be trying to wrestle an elephant up a flight of stairs.
Even getting to the loading dock was a challenge as there’s not enough overhead clearance into the underground parking garage for a tractor-trailer, but there’s also no ramp at the dock for cars to drive up on. This meant that some vehicles had to be loaded onto a flatbed outside the parking garage in order to reach the dock. Luckily, all the transferring of cars went smoothly and nothing was damaged in the process, but it added yet another layer of complexity to the circus.
Ultimately, the plan came together and all the cars made it in and out of the hotel without a scratch. Getting these cars into the ballroom made for one of the longest days I’ve ever had on the job, but the backdrop they created was absolutely fantastic. The celebratory Coney’s after the induction ceremony had ended were definitely worth the effort.
Special thanks to; Detroit Renaissance Security and Fire Safety staff, Event Solutions International, the Griffin Family, Tata Technologies, Team Penske, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, Borg Warner, Jaguar Land Rover Public Relations, Concours d’Elegance of America, Delphi, RM Sotheby’s, Neuner’s Towing, the Piquette Model T Plant, Cauley Ferrari, The Lingenfelter Collection, and Reliable Carriers. Without the hard work and dedication of these companies and their people, none of this would have been possible.