GROSSE POINTE SHORES, Mich. — The 36th annual EyesOn Design Car Show was held on Sunday at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford house grounds, as usual, and as of this year the name has changed to EyesOnDesign at Ford House. Many cars has been showcased here and I have never seen a more beautiful display of uniquely-designed cars. I think it was the best show yet.
First, I talked with John Petru from Cincinnati, OH about his 1953 Studebaker Commander Regal Starliner Coupe. Petru says it was the predecessor to the Hawk and Golden Hawk which was made later on. “The Museum of Modern Art states that this car is on the list of the most beautiful designed car of all time,” says Petru.
“This car was built in South Bend, Indiana and has 2,994 original miles. It has a 232-cubic-inch V8 overhead valve engine, 125 horsepower and can go 100 mph at the time. There is no air conditioning in this vehicle as it hadn’t been invented yet,” added Petru. There are air vents on the side of the vehicle around the front wheels that open from an inside lever to reduce the air resistance of the vehicle body by guiding the airflow. By the way, this vehicle has the original paint and tires.
“In 1852, Studebaker went into business and started with horse drawn wagons. In the early 1900’s, got into cars. In 1910-1911, they got into electric. However, electric didn’t make it as gas was more reliable, and electric was used only around town. In 1956, Golden Hawks were built using the same body but changed the hood and trunk. It also had a Mercedes-type grille,” added Petru.
AmericaJR’s Jerome Rzucidlo spoke to Dave Wathen about his 1964 green Shelby 289 Cobra. “It’s an original, exactly authentic vehicle with 43,000 miles on it which I still drive. There is only one made with this color, called Lincoln Highland Green. It has a 289 engine which can go 145 mph. This Cobra is the one car that won all the championships. You can break the tires when you are in third gear because it is so light and has so much horsepower. This is a street car Cobra and is kept that way,” says Wathen.
“There are no windows, it has side curtains. It has a small trunk, but at least it has a trunk. It is a fun car to drive. The cost was $6,395.00 in 1964,” added Wathen.
On the older side, I found an interesting 1935 Chrysler Airflow C-2 Imperial Coupe. Chrysler engineers wanted to build a car that was lighter at the time, safer and more aerodynamic. The new Airflow’s engine was moved forward to the front wheels, and they moved the seating position for all passengers forward so passengers sat between the axles, not on top of the rear axle. This improved weight distribution to 54 percent front and 46 percent rear. Although this car did not sell as successfully as Chrysler had expected, they only built 200 of these. The engine was 299CI L-head inline eight, has 122 horsepower at 3400 rpm with a top speed of 95 mph. The brakes were Lockheed hydraulic drum type.
At 1:30 p.m., The Visions of Excellence Awards Ceremony began at the north end of the meadow. Dr. Philip Hessburg spoke along with Chief Judge Glen Durmisevich. The Honorary Chairman Award went to the 1970 Lancia. Among the several Designer Choice Awards went to the 1925 Detroit Electric, 1930 L29 Cord, and 1935 Cadillac V16. The Product Design of the Year Award went to the 2022 Maserati MC-20.
Ralph Gilles was the recipient of the EyesOn Design Lifetime Design Achievement Award.
Philip C. Hessburg M.D. (who is 93 now) has formally announced today that as of July 1, he is turning over the reins to the genius David Goldman M.D. as the organizer of the show and Medical Director of Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology. Hessburg will serve as Medical Director Emeritus.
The EyesOn Design at Ford House car show this year was a balmy 71 degrees when I was there. Much more comfortable walking around than in past years. This event provides financial support and also raises awareness for the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology’s research and support for the visually impaired.
Next year’s event with be on Sunday, June 16, 2024. So save the date folks.
Stay with AmericaJR for more coverage from the 2023 EyesOn Design Car Show…