There are even some oddities like a factory-built Cadillac station wagon from the mid-1980s. This was developed in a series to show there was a future for body-on-fame Caddys, specifically by those who wanted to keep the historic Fleetwood/Clark Street plant open. The proposal failed, but the Detroit Historical Society got these and something else very interesting from this (more on that in a moment.)
But what about the really interesting prototypes? Two cars that come up very often are Ford proposals known as the 1963 Cougar II and XD. This coupe and convertible were styling exercises that also happened to be built on Cobra CSX chassis. So there are plenty of collectors out there who would be happy to make their home in the pods next to these concept cars.
One of the first reactions to seeing all these interesting cars locked away and frozen in time is that it’s a shame these are not shared with the world. But that is far from the truth.
The Detroit Historical Society has a large space devoted to automobiles at its Midtown museum. There are some great permanent exhibits, including allowing visitors to operate the body drop donated from the old Clark Street Cadillac assembly line.
But there’s also space here for rotating displays from the reserve collection.
This museum can’t display all of the Society’s treasures at once, and so they have taken on a larger role in providing these vehicles across the country. They welcome invites for any of their vehicles, and often all an event needs to do is secure transport for the vehicle and its custodian. This is how both Ford prototypes were on the lawn at Amelia Island four years ago to celebrate unique Cobras.
Some even have more permanent homes like a rare Ghia-bodied Chrysler Turbine car from the 1960s. The Society’s coupe has been given a prominent display in the Gilmore Museum for the last few years.
So while these vehicles in suspended cocoons look less accessible than Area 51, it turns out these secret cars might have been living among us all along…no alien conspiracy needed.