Why We Should Move Downtown

September 14, 2016

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By Matt Wolfe

On Thursday, July 21, at our 2016 Induction Ceremony, Automotive Hall of Fame President Bill Chapin made the official announcement that the Automotive Hall of Fame is seeking to move from its present setting in Dearborn, Michigan, to a new location within the city of Detroit. “We feel there is a need to develop a visitor destination downtown that will tell the global stories of automotive innovators…” Chapin said in an interview with The Detroit Free Press.

Though Dearborn has been a more than hospitable home for the Automotive Hall of Fame since our current facility was erected in 1997, the present leadership and the HOF’s Board of Directors feel that the time is right for the Hall to move to Detroit to become part of the City’s rebirth. In its 77-year history, the Hall of Fame has never called the Motor City its home. After being established in New York City as The Automotive Old Timers, the organization would later move to Washington D.C. and then Midland, Michigan, on the grounds of Northwood University before moving to Dearborn.

While moving downtown will certainly allow the Hall of Fame to better leverage Detroit’s automotive history and heritage, the presence of the Hall of Fame there will provide the City with a premier automotive attraction for car enthusiasts and tourists, something many feel Detroit should have had a long time ago. Moving to Detroit also provides the Hall of Fame with greater marketability than its present location. Our proximity to the Henry Ford Museum and Ford Motor Company’s engineering campus created the perception to many that we are associated with those organizations, despite not having any such ties. Moving the Hall of Fame to a setting that is not in such close proximity to any particular manufacturer will help eliminate those false connotations and allow the Hall of Fame to stand on its own. Although the process for moving the hall will certainly be a significant undertaking, we feel that the result of our work will finally put the Hall of Fame where it truly belongs.

As of this writing, the Hall of Fame has not set a timetable for its relocation nor has a definite location been designated. Our management and Board of Directors are in the process of determining the size and layout requirements for the Hall of Fame’s new home and are considering a number of different options. If you would like to assist the Hall of Fame in its relocation, please contact Hall of Fame President Bill Chapin by phone at (313) 240-4000 or by email at bchapin@thedrivingspirit.org.

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