2021 EyesOn Design Automotive Design Exhibition returns to the Ford House

1925 Jewett owned by John Gackler (photo by Gloria Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. — After two years due to Covid-19, the 2021 EyesOn Design Automotive Design Exhibition returned to the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House.  This event celebrates the emotion, beauty and character of these beautiful cars both past and present. 

This year’s theme was ‘Marques of Extinction: Significant Designs of Bygone Brands.’  This 33rd annual event benefits the Henry Ford Health System’s Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology which continues to research treatments to help the blind and visually impaired.

I talked with John Gackler from Caledonia, Mich. about his 1925 Jewett which he owned for 22 years.  This vehicle was made in Detroit as one of the first cars with hydraulic brakes.  It has a six-cylinder engine and goes up to 60 miles per hour.  “I drive it regularly,” says Gackler.  

The unique feature of this vehicle is in the interior–it has a floor heater.  That is what amazed me.  Gackler says it is a four-door deluxe and not the original paint.  He added a rear view mirror which is attached to the spare tire.  “The Detroit Police used this car back in the day,” added Gackler.  He showed me proof of that in a picture taken in 1925.

“They made 100,000 of these cars in the five years since 1925.  $1,745 was the cost of this vehicle in 1925.”

Automotive legend Bob Lutz served as the grand marshal of this year’s automotive design exhibition. He previously served as a judge and an honorary chairman at past EyesOn Design events.

Another vehicle which caught my eye was the ’65 Factory Five Daytona Coupe owned by Paul Borror of Lake Orion, Mich.  He says he owned this kit car for four years.  “The Factory Five is the world’s largest manufacturer of replica cars,” says Borror.  Peter Brock designed the Daytona Coupe.  “The original was made by Carroll Shelby as a rebodied Cobra who won the World Championship with the Daytona Coupe in 1965.”

This vehicle has a Coyote 5.0 engine and produces 500 horsepower.  “It is very aerodynamic to make it go faster.”  However, we made it to be a cruiser and we drive only 2,000 miles a year.  It is a fun car to drive,” says Borror.  This vehicle is a two seater with air conditioning and the body is made of fiberglass.  The original is all aluminum.  “The interior is custom and nothing like the kit.  I did everything except paint it.  It was painted in a hot rod shop in Taylor.  The average person has no clue what type of car it is.”

The ’65 Factory Five Daytona Coupe car was driven by race car drivers Dan Gurney, Bob Bondurant, and Allen Grant.

The Visions of Excellence Awards ceremony was held at the Ford House.  The Honorary Chairman Award went to a 1956 Lincoln Continental.  The Grand Marshalls Award went to a 1936 Cord.  The Preserving Vision Award went to a 1924 Studebaker.  The Stellantis introduced their luxury car, a 2022 Grand Wagoneer.  Some Designer Choice Awards went to a 1910 Stoddard-Dayton, a 1928 Pontiac Big Six Sedan, a 1941 Olds 98, and a 1931 Studebaker President Speedway Roadster, to name a few.

Hyundai introduced their Prophecy visionary electric vehicle concept at this year’s car show. It “strips away complexity in favor of clean lines and minimalist structures” according to the automaker.

To conclude, it was a lovely day for the show and there were some amazing cars to be seen.  Looking forward to the 2022 EyesOn Design show next year on June 19, 2022.  See you there.

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