Welcome to the debut blog posting of Antique Touring Company! My name is Lisa and in 2018 I started the little touring company beneath the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit. Perhaps if you have been to Detroit in the summertime you have seen us zipping around the city in Model A Fords. The idea is to share a glimpse of historic Detroit with people in the most tangible way possible, that is from the seats of the iconic cars that were built in the Motor City.
I have had more than a year to think about what to say in Antique Touring Company’s first blog posting. The blog was a website improvement my friend and colleague Alysyn and I had been planning to debut for the 2020 touring season that never happened. During the long winter…summer…winter of the pandemic, as people grew more divided than I have seen in my lifetime, I imagined very clearly the content of this long-postponed first effort.
You see, during the summers of 2018 and 2019, as I was driving around Southeast Michigan in the Model A’s, I discovered what has become the “Daffodils” of my lock-down experience, a memory of happiness to draw upon while “in vacant or in a pensive mood.” My most powerful memory of Antique Touring Company’s first two years has been the delighted reactions on the faces of people as they walk along the sidewalks or pass us in the streets. People honk and wave; they shout out requests to hear the AHOOOOga horn. What makes this especially delightful for me is that It does not matter if we are in the city or the suburbs, along a country road or on Woodward Avenue, we are met by smiling faces and friendly hands waving wherever we go. On a journey up Dixie Highway from downtown Detroit to the suburbs of Flint, in the Model A, we encounter the best of America in people from every walk of life. After such a difficult year, how could this not be the topic of our first blog?
After a major website restructures, Alysyn and I were ready last week to go online with the blog. At just that moment I had the pleasure of meeting an extraordinary young man by the name of Paul who astonished me on tour by saying out loud precisely what had buoyed my spirit throughout the pandemic. Paul was traveling with his mother and sister and remembering his father with whom he had shared a love of old cars. In describing their passion in common for the elegant lines and analog technology of the Vintage era, the seventeen-year-old quipped joyfully, “the older the better!”
Paul sat up front, focusing on the interrelated stories of the MotorCities Heritage Area Tour. Not a cellphone in sight, the young man engaged in thoughtful discussion. His observations aligned with my own in a voice so fresh and authentic that I felt I could no longer do justice to Antique Touring Company’s first blog topic without making space for Paul to share his own thoughts in his own voice.
Graciously, Paul has agreed to be an occasional blogging partner on the Antique Touring Company website and has written the following words for our debut blog about his experience on tour.
I visited Detroit last week and because I love old cars, my mom surprised me with a tour of the downtown area in an actual Model A. Lisa was my tour guide, and she was absolutely amazing. Our tour was long and it included everything you would hope to see in Detroit if you love old cars–the original factory site, the Highland Park factory site, many of the original buildings not just for Ford but for Packard assembly plants and General Motors. Also, the whole time we were driving, we were hearing awesome stories about Ford and his family, the Dodge Brothers, Nash, Chrysler, Durant and all of the stars of America’s golden age of auto manufacturing. Along with the original factory sites, we visited Henry Ford’s beautiful home and other mansions of Detroit (they all lived near each other!), and the beautiful Fisher Building that belonged to General Motors. It was an amazing, exciting way to get to know the city, and the best part about it was that our car was so beautiful and so impressive, that everywhere we went people waved and wanted to talk to us. That’s my favorite thing about riding in restored vintage cars—-it brings so much joy to people just to see the car. You can see people’s faces light up and they want to beep and stop what they’re doing to see your awesome car go by. Old cars bring people together and bring them happiness. So it wasn’t just a wonderful 2-hour-plus tour. It was an experience bringing joy to other people. Lisa must love what she does. I hope one day I can restore some older cars and bring that kind of happiness to other people myself.
I have every confidence that Paul’s dream of restoring old cars will come true. When it does, America will be a little happier, perhaps even a little more drawn together, for his effort.