With the Big Three automakers pivoting away from passenger car production and towards the crossover/SUV/truck segment, America’s Automotive Trust and the North American International Auto Show have decided to stage a rolling tribute to the history of America’s four-wheeled workhorses.
Four vintage pickup trucks — a 1957 Ford Ranchero, a 1965 Ford F100, a 1955 Chevy 3600 and a 1962 International Travelette — will leave Houston, Texas on Thursday for an indirect, 2,700-mile roadtrip to Detroit, arriving nine days later on January 12 for what has become a traditional parade down the Motor City’s Woodward Avenue.
The trucks will be displayed inside the Cobo Center for the duration of the 2019 North American International Auto Show, which is open to the public from January 19-27.
Each truck will wear the livery of the entities within America’s Automotive Trust, including the LeMay-America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, the RPM Foundation, Club Auto and the Concours Club. The International Travelette has been provided by classic car insurer Hagerty, and the Ranchero is on loan from the NB Center for American Automotive Heritage in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The trucks have been prepared for the possibility of winter weather along the route. The two trucks from the America’s Car Museum have had clear vinyl applied from Custom Clear Bra, Inc. to protect the paint and bodywork, and will be fitted with Michelin snow tires en route.
One goal of the Drive Home is to create outreach to classic car owners through public meet-and-greet events along the route. The choice to feature vintage pickup trucks should appeal to new millennial and Gen X classic car enthusiasts, which Hagerty finds to be 35 times more likely to be interested in a truck or SUV compared to baby boomers and pre-boomers.
While the Drive Home series is likely to continue, this event will mark the last year that AAT will brave the winter roads as the North American International Auto show moves to June in 2020.
Past trips have resulted in winter driving challenges and a number of breakdowns amidst the rotating cast of classic cars. Two years ago, AAT’s 1965 Ford Mustang boiled-over its transmission just off Times Square, and its 1961 Chrysler 300G snapped a rear axle on a highway in Indiana.
Despite the breakdowns, the crews managed to get the cars to Detroit, and overcoming the difficulties became just another part of the old-car adventure.