Automotive history – A visit to the ruins of Detroit

Detroit was once the envy of the world. In 1900, was the heart of the automotive industry the ultimate in luxury and technology. During World War II was called the “arsenal of democracy” when factories were retooled to build war machines. The intersection of Milwaukee, in the center of the automotive industry was vibrant and alive with business and prosperity. Detroit is where the middle class was born and rich carriages built to order.

Main Dodge, Ford Model T plant, American Axle, Body Murray. Polo in the city, named after GM bought the community to build its plant, a center of enormous expansion. The Ford Piquette building built in 1904 was the prototype for assembly. Some men walked the line, the line did not move. The ruin of the most fascinating is the old Packard plant at the intersection of Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Junction was the heart of the automotive industry in 1900. Packard was a Lexus or Mercedes brand with cache. Early in the automotive industry, the production model has been outsourcing. Packard built the chassis. You can order the chassis, engine, transmission. Then there was a catalog to order the body of a number of bodybuilders. It was actually commissioned body components. There was a lot of customization. You literally designed his own car. Truly a custom business model. Packard was a price mark for the wealthy elite. Request for your car like a nice suit. Only about 200-1000 cars of any model year. At its peak, 55,000 vehicles were built each year.

During World War II, Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin engines for our fighters. Detroit and the auto industry has been called the “arsenal of democracy”. Without the industrial might of Detroit Germany had won World War II. It was surreal to stay outside to walk around the ruins that s’ collapses used to be the ultimate in luxury and technology to another era. One could almost imagine what it must have been for many years. The ruins of the Packard plant must be a mile long and as high as eight histories. Vehicles are moved from one floor to another in a set with huge cranes. giant sliding doors separate the sections of the assembly. Thousands of middle class Americans who have worked, coming and going during change of position. Imagine lunch, thousands of people leaving the factory to eat in restaurants, shop in stores or enjoy the beautiful day in Michigan. Today, almost no one lives at the intersection Milwaukee, is a ghost town.

Detroit is a melting pot of humanity. Waves of immigrants have influenced the culture and fabric of life in the city. The first wave was in Europe. German, Finnish, Dutch, French, English, Irish. The next wave was in Eastern Europe, Poland, Ukraine, and the Serbs. In the 1930’s and 40 blacks migrated to Detroit from the South to escape oppression. Each culture has its own customs and cuisine, religions and values. There was microbial cultures. Each wave of immigrants built their own churches and grouped. Are four Catholic churches in a region. One of the Germans, one for Ireland, one for English and so on. Most churches and buildings remain. Many are crumbling as the Packard factory.

There is a road bridge over the plant, which used to have the Packard logo on it and the slogan “ask the man who has an” above the door of the factory. During the Depression, Packard has decided to “lose market” to produce a cheap car to a wider audience. They built the Model 120. The Packard 120 was the quality and looked like a Packard, but he was at a lower price. This movement marked the end of Packard. They lost its cache and exclusivity for the rich.

His timing was off. In 1941, he built and installed the Clipper. Then came the war and had to be redesigned for the war effort. Four years later, after the war, he turned to enter the Clipper. It sells well, and even until the end of 1950, GM sold more than Cadillac Packard sold, but the management was too conservative. Design for new 1949-1950 Clipper has been dubbed “the speaker cutting. They had some problems with suppliers when Chrysler bought Briggs a leading provider in your body. What finally killed Packard had quality problems.

In 1952/53, Jim Nance Packard to run the company. He was talented and brilliant, but did not see the ground floor of multi-Packard as an albatross. He moved to the manufacture of a new facility which has been dubbed “the cookie jar.” It was too small. There was so many young men could not move, is dangerously close. Quality suffered. End of Packard products were never designed to perfection with incredible genius. Bu collapsed and in 1956, the public had had enough.

Today, the ruins of the Packard plant are stripped of almost all metals. Some frames to maintain the fragments of broken glass. A musty smell emanates tract full of garbage. Strange things like a boat, computer equipment, tires, shoes and stuffed toys. We have not seen homeless people, organizations or animals. Packard is the most decrepit.

We also went to the Rouge plant still in operation. Raw materials enter the plant and the cars go. Raw materials like steel, rubber. Huge piles of coal sitting ready to heat the furnaces to melt steel, which is rolled and cut and assembled and trained. Ford Rouge plant is the only raw materials and finished in a car out.

Outside the Red is a memorial complex. There is a bronze statue larger than life of Henry Ford. Along the marble courtyard engraved with pictures of historical events in the history of Ford. The images are not all in favor of Ford. They have an incredible story. After the bridge, where “Bridge Battle” took place. It is the birthplace of the UAW. Workers clashed with rioters of Henry Ford and won the right to fair working conditions and compensation. Since then, the UAW has become too strong and disgraced, but there is still a need for unions. There is a need for bargaining power for small and weak against the strong and the rich have all the advantages. This is another story.

Henry Ford, while no philanthropist shows the advantage to pay its employees well. You could say he was the father of the middle class. It was the first to pay his workers enough so they can afford to buy their products. He paid enough so they can buy their cars and their homes. The basis of the richness of the Ford family is the belief that the good of many is more profitable, more profitable than the current culture of “every man for himself”.

Those were the days.

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