HomeCar CultureLifestyle'The Drive Home' to Detroit, the hard way

‘The Drive Home’ to Detroit, the hard way


America’s Automotive Trust and the North American International Auto Show have launched their third annual vintage vehicle road trip to the Detroit Auto Show. “The Drive Home III” is a convoy of six classic vehicles and a retro-motorcycle that will make a 10-day roundabout path to the Motor City starting from Boca Raton, Florida.

Did we mention that all this takes place this month?

While half the country has put away vintage cars in favor of snow blowers, the folks at America’s Automotive Trust – the entity which consists of the LeMay-America’s Car Museum, the RPM Foundation, Club Auto and Concours Club – will hit the frigid roads to remind the Detroit automakers about their past, even as they race headlong into the future.

A Hugger Orange Camaro representing the RPM Foundation is loaded up for Florida | Renee Crist

The classic cars will go on display alongside the latest and greatest in automobile technology at the NAIAS inside Detroit’s Cobo Center. While the world’s automakers debut their newest models brimming in connectivity and autonomous systems, the vintage display will serve as a gentle reminder of the special interface between human beings and cars, and “America’s love affair with the automobile.”

Two of the cars in the caravan are from the LeMay-America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS and a 1972 Chevrolet El Camino that were both the property of Harold LeMay, namesake of the museum. Volunteers assisted the collections staff at the museum in preparing the two Chevrolets for the 2,200-mile, 9-state trip to the Motor City.

Additional vehicles will come from other organizations joining the event this year. The Concours Of America in Plymouth, Michigan and Kettering University in Flint, Michigan have teamed up to field a 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. The NB Center for American Automobile Heritage in Allentown, Pennsylvania will be driving a 1955 Chrysler C-300 resto-mod. Classic car insurer Hagerty is bringing along their own 1962 International Harvester Travelette truck. Acting as a support vehicle is a 2018 GMC Terrain on loan from General Motors.

“The Drive Home” to Detroit, the hard way | ClassicCars.com Journal
Car enthusiasts met up with The Drive Home crew along last year’s route | Derek Klein

America’s Automotive Trust Vice-Chairman David Madeira is riding along on a retro-themed 2014 Triumph Thruxton motorcycle supplied by Ace Café in Orlando, Florida.

Madeira recently relinquished the CEO position at America’s Automotive Trust to Adam Langsbard, formerly of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Madeira stayed on to champion projects like The Drive Home, which he co-created with NAIAS chief Rod Alberts.

The Drive Home begins each January from a different spot in the U.S., ending at the Cobo Center in Detroit. The first edition of The Drive Home started at the LeMay-America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, while last year’s event began in Boston. The event invites the public to bring out their own classic cars at stops along the route. In past years, car clubs and car owners have spontaneously joined in the caravan, driving along in their classics for hours at a time.

I will be tagging along again this year and reporting from the road for ClassicCars.com as we meet classic car enthusiasts from across the country as we wind our way to the Detroit auto show.

The first gathering will take place at the event kickoff on Wednesday, January 3 from 4-7 pm Eastern time at the Casa de Montecristo in Boca Raton, Florida. Following that, a “Cruise-In” will take place at the Ace Café in downtown Orlando on Thursday, January 4 at 6 pm.

For a complete listing of public events along the route, refer to the America’s Automotive Trust website.

William Hall
William Hall
William Hall is a writer, classic car broker and collector based in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. He has spent the whole of his professional career in the automotive industry, starting as an auto-parts delivery driver at the age of 16 to working for some of the nation's premier restoration shops. He is a concours judge and a consultant to LeMay-America's Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington.


  1. I’m sitting in O’Hare with snow delay ready to head to Ft. Lauderdale and our kick off party at Montecristo in Boca Raton tomorrow night. TDHIII is part of our effort to demonstrate that vintage vehicles are meant to be ‘celebrated’ and ‘driven’ not relegated to a lifeless existence in a museum as merely a cultural artificial. We’re also committed to providing opportunities for enthusiasts to continue to enjoy their cars, trucks, and motorcycles today and in the future. Come on out and ‘join the movement’ as we come through your town!


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