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13th Annual Orphan Car Show

This June, owners of orphan- and independent-brand cars will flock to Ypsilanti, Mich., for the big annual Orphan Car Show.
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Although the Orphan Car Show features all independent and
orphan cars that have been out of production for at least seven
years, Hudson will be this year’s featured marque in honor of the
company’s 100th anniversary.

This June, owners of orphan- and independent-brand cars will flock, as they have for more than a decade, to Ypsilanti, Mich., for the big annual Orphan Car Show.

This year marks the 13th annual Ypsilanti event. It will be held Sunday, June 7, in the city’s beautiful Riverside Park. Sponsored by the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, the show runs 9 a.m.-4:00 p.m. As before, the show is open to stock, non-modified cars, trucks and motorcycles that have been out of production for at least seven years.

Conceived in 1996 as a public educational program of the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, the Orphan Car Show is dedicated to educating the public about an often overlooked aspect of America’s automotive heritage: the cars produced by the independent, “non-Big Three” auto companies.

Each year, the show highlights a particular brand and this year, the show will honor Hudson’s 100th anniversary by making it this year’s feature make. A large turnout of Hudsons is expected, along with Studebakers, Nashes, Packards, Avantis, Ramblers and many other makes. There will also be a number of defunct foreign car models making appearances.

Ypsilanti has a unique automotive history for a city its size. Apex Motors produced the ACE car there from 1920-’22. Ypsilanti is also where Preston Tucker, whose family owned the Ypsilanti Machine and Tool Co., developed and built the prototype for the Tucker Torpedo automobile.

The area abounds with automotive history. Kaiser-Frazer produced cars in nearby Willow Run from 1946 to 1953 in a giant plant that GM later purchased for production of Hydra-Matic transmissions. From 1959 to 1969, GM also manufactured the Corvair nearby.

One of the most popular highlights of the Ypsilanti Orphan Car Show is when the various old cars pass in review. This feature parade includes expert running commentary by automotive historians Jeff Godshall, Bill Tilden, Jim Wagner and others explaining each vehicle’s history and special features as it drives past the reviewing stand.

Admission to the show is $5 for adults, while children 12 and under are free. All proceeds from the show benefit the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, which features many restored Kaiser-Frazer and Hudson cars. The museum is also home to Miller Motors, the World’s Last Hudson Dealer. With records dating to 1927, Miller Motors Hudson represents a priceless part of Hudson and Ypsilanti automotive history that’s now being preserved.

To register a car for the Orphan Car Show, go to the museum’s Web site at, or call 734-482-5200 for a registration brochure. Interested parties may also write to the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, 100 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti, MI 48198.

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