It’s the holiday season. The time of year to gather with friends, family, and loved ones and to enjoy each other’s company and express how thankful you are. If you are a Mopar fanatic like I am, then this time of year meant the annual “Cars, Trees, and Traditions” exhibit at the former Walter P. Chrysler Museum on the Chrysler Technical Center (CTC) campus in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
Cars, Trees & Traditions spotlighted eight decades of holiday season celebrations through 23 decorated trees paired with Chrysler vehicles throughout the Museum. Evergreens on the Museum’s two top floors featured authentic ornamentation from the early 1900s through the 1980s, while those in Boss Chrysler’s Garage (or the basement of the museum) were embellished by theme.
The museum volunteers would do an amazing job organizing the event. Placing each decade-themed tree, near a vehicle from the extended line of Chrysler heritage. Cars, Trees & Traditions illustrated the different styles, events, and products of holidays past through advertisements, graphics, and images accompanying each tree, including a variety of historic photos of Detroit from the archives of Wayne State University’s Walter P. Reuther Library.
Following the exhibition’s narrative from one vignette to the next, guests would see how vehicle progression – from horseless carriages to enclosed, more comfortable, and better-engineered models – helped change the ways in which Americans celebrated the season’s festivities.
Later in the event’s life, an array of Lionel O and O27 gauge model trains spanning several decades would be featured in Boss Chrysler’s Garage. Many of the trains highlighted Chrysler brands including Dodge, Mopar®, DeSoto, and Plymouth. Others spotlighted such iconic Detroit institutions as Vernors and Stroh’s.
While the Walter P. Chrysler Museum has since been closed and repurposed into a workspace for the North American operations of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands, there is a hope that Stellantis might once again do something similar in its future plans with the public at the Conner Center – the former Viper plant (Conner Ave. Assembly Plant).
The former manufacturing facility, tucked in a Detroit neighborhood just south of the famed 8 Mile Road, would have space to exhibit 85 of the nearly 400 concept and historic vehicles that are now stored onsite under one roof. Previously, the Company’s extensive collection was housed in several locations.
Approximately 77,000 of the plant’s nearly 400,000 square feet of floor space is dedicated to displaying vehicles like the 1902 Rambler, the oldest in the collection, to one of the most significant, the 1924 Chrysler Touring. Conner’s administrative offices will be converted into nearly 22,000 square feet of meeting space that can accommodate gatherings of various sizes.
De sure to watch the video from Discover the D at the top of the page, to see this truly amazing exhibit from the past.