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Old 09-16-2008, 10:40 AM   #1
Ryan
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Default Detroit Again

I've been thinking about Detroit a lot lately. I guess it all started with the news of the Packard building a while back. From there, I began touring the "Ruins of Detroit" through websites like...


To read the rest of this blog entry from The Jalopy Journal, click here.

Last edited by Ryan; 09-16-2008 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 09-16-2008, 10:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Detroit Again

Linky no worky.
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:01 AM   #3
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Default Re: Detroit Again

Sorry bout that... FIXED!
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: Detroit Again

In the 50's & 60's, Detroit was the place to go. Folks from places like Toronto, Cleveland, etc came here to party & vacation. Now the theater district is gone, most of the ethnic neighborhoods are gone (mostly due to freeway placement), & the public transport fell apart, so shopping died too. The riots of the late 60's finished off this town's night life for tourists & the flight to the burbs accelerated.

Now, a corrupt city gov't has kept Detroit in the tiolet despite the best efforts of corporations like Compuware & GM moving their HQs downtown. The only new business that the city gov't (with the mafia) has brought to town has been a few casinos. Big Whoop!
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: Detroit Again

It reminds me of my hometown of Buffalo, NY. It seemed to be a real hub at one time (before my time) but has really been slipping in terms of population due to steel plants and grain production closing. Also the opening of the Erie Canal did not help either. It's sad to watch a city dwindle away, and I hope that cities can find new ways to stimulate themselves so that they do not become forgotten. I think that Buffalo is on the up and up now. Let hope Mo-town does the same.
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:33 AM   #6
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Default Re: Detroit Again

I grew up in Dearborn, Mi and have seen the decay of Motown starting with the riots of 67 and never recovering from them. It is sad when the big three are now almost gone. As the saying goes as "As GM goes so goes the country". No truer words today.
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Old 09-16-2008, 12:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: Detroit Again

My Father was in the auto industry for over 40 years. He just closed up and retired last spring. Two things sum up the downfall of the big three. Global competition and poor business practices. Now I am not gonna start bashing any brand or lay blame on another country, or group as the way I see it, the big three have themselves to blame and they are the only ones that can fix what they have built. Allow me to explain....

Until the Japanese car companies came in the US market in force in the 70’s, The big three had what was basically a locked market. They had nobody but the domestic producers to compete with. In the 70’s my Father has told me he had a relatively large stockroom’s worth of parts that he HAD to have on hand in order to do repairs. Dozens of starters and other parts. If he had to order something it took days or weeks to get it. The cars were complex for their day and the gas crunch and emissions stuff caught them with their pants down. Few had small cars to offer.

I would say that without the gas crunch the hold import manufactures no has would be but a shadow of its current strength. They were able to quickly and quietly drop tons of cheap, fuel efficient cars on people struggling to deal with the events at hand. (sound familiar?) By doing so they were able to grab some customers. The cars were cheap and reliable and their customers were happy as result. The seeds were now planted. They ran their business different too.

Instead of having their dealers stock everything they had them order what they needed and had a shipping network deliver it that day or the next. Simple things were still fixed right away but anything else was planned for and then fixed. But the major killer to Detroit was and still is the poor long term decisions made with respect to the Unions. I know it’s a tough pill for some to swallow, but the Unions, IMO, have had and currently have a heavy hand in the blows to Detroit and the US auto industry in general.

But in the end it’s not any one person or company or group responsible for the fall of Detroit. It’s the sum total of arrogant management, short sightedness, crazy workforce demands & concessions and out right mis-management, combined with un-preparedness for major shift’s in societal needs & wants in automobiles. Add the extra pressure of competing with more lean companies with less cost invested in building cars that fit the need you weren’t ready for.

Now you have 26 year old fresh out of business college workers trying to pressure and tell dealers to sell sell sell and they’ve never sold a thing in their life. Much less sold anything to a populace struggling to have enough money to make ends meet. One example was the above aged “executive” trying to school my Father on how to sell cars to people and run his business to meet some quota they thought he should met without having stepped foot into his market. He was promptly told that my Father had been selling longer than he had been alive and he was in no position to make the demands he was making. This is one of hundreds of stories I’ve heard. Ford even after my Father said to them I am closing my doors continued to send him items for inventory that he did not order and automatically billed him for the parts. There by padding their “profits”. They also price parts with ridiculous mark ups. One diesel part that Ford had trouble with was dealer priced at over $90 per unit and listed at close to $180….well when it became apparent that Ford had to replace all of them on the diesels if they went bad, they suddenly went to a list price of only $18 dollars or so with a list of $45 bucks. And I have been told that Chevy and Dodge dealers have echoed similar experiences when talkign with my Father.

It would make you sick if you knew how the small business backbone of the US auto industry is treated by the corporate 3.

The business practices and global competition are the downfall of Detroit. I think they can fix things, but it’s gonna be painful and I think at least one of the big 3 might not make it through it all. It’s tiem to stop blaming others and actually do some work to make the once mighty US auto industry mighty again. It could bring Detroit back from the brink.
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Last edited by tjm73; 09-16-2008 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 09-16-2008, 12:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Detroit Again

sad is right, but sometimes there is beauty in decay as well, a sad beauty though:
http://www.opacity.us/gallery107_around_the_bend.htm

The worst part is not that it is like this, but that they are busy just tearing it all down or letting the bums burn them down. No sense of preservation or care about saving any of it.
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Last edited by stude_trucks; 09-16-2008 at 12:34 PM. Reason: elaboration
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Old 09-16-2008, 12:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: Detroit Again

It's not just Detroit.... Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and dozens of other smaller towns are seeing the same kinds of decay. The rust belt cities that were the backbone of the industrial age in America are ALL struggling.
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Old 09-16-2008, 12:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: Detroit Again

I remember watching a show about the automobile and, boy this is a foggy memory, there was a designer who was wanted both in Hollywood to design sets and Detroit to design cars, I don't think it was Harley Earl. This was back in the 20's I believe. The guy moved to Detroit because is was the more Glamourus (sp) place to live. Can you imagine that, I have a hard time with the way things are now acutally being able to comprehend that.
The old pictures make me sad, and angry, I know the auto industry killed detroit (and flint, and lansing, and a lot of S.E. michigan) but so did the riots and the predjudice that still exists today. A lot of cities have moved on and reinvented themselves, some more successful then others but Detroit sits in the same mentality of the 60's and nothing has happend good since.....
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Old 09-16-2008, 12:59 PM   #11
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Default Re: Detroit Again

In the second picture you can see three tall smoke stacks belonging to an Edison power plant. Henry Ford worked at the plant, he used the machine shop to make parts for his Quadracycle. I think that this picture was taken from the Maccabees building.

The plant is still there today...
It makes you think...
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Old 09-16-2008, 01:21 PM   #12
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Default Re: Detroit Again

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron51chevy View Post
I remember watching a show about the automobile and, boy this is a foggy memory, there was a designer who was wanted both in Hollywood to design sets and Detroit to design cars, I don't think it was Harley Earl. This was back in the 20's I believe. The guy moved to Detroit because is was the more Glamourus (sp) place to live. Can you imagine that, I have a hard time with the way things are now acutally being able to comprehend that.
The old pictures make me sad, and angry, I know the auto industry killed detroit (and flint, and lansing, and a lot of S.E. michigan) but so did the riots and the predjudice that still exists today. A lot of cities have moved on and reinvented themselves, some more successful then others but Detroit sits in the same mentality of the 60's and nothing has happend good since.....
I don't 100% agree with you that the auto ind killed this city, because the Big 3 do keep supporting stuff around the city (DIA, Belle Isle, DSO) or in the case of GM, moving back into the city.
These current econimic woes are the result of Wash DC & the Harvard MBAs looking to turn the US into a "service economy". (welcome to Mao-mart) Manufacturing turns the economic engine when $$$ turn over in an economy. The Big 3 are responsible for following Washington's lead on outsourcing a lot of stuff & that's what is killing this city.
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Old 09-16-2008, 01:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: Detroit Again

We went to the Ford Museum last year as an educational trip for our girls. All of Detroit seemed like a ghost town. The only people we saw working were the security guards around the huge empty factories. We had a great time though. Every one was especially friendly. Not at all like the horror stories of rough inner city crime that you frequently hear. I wonder if Detroit is trying to remake themselves as a tourist destination. The new museums were really impressive. At the Blue Suede Cruise earlier this month a really neat '32 Ford coupe was on display. It was called the "D" - for Detroit. It had a whopping Chrysler Hemi in it. It was obvious the their chamber of commerce or tourism board was sponsoring the "D". They were passing out stickers & magnets promoting the Detroit area. I hope they are successful. Something needs to be done to save the wonderful piece of America.
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Old 09-16-2008, 01:46 PM   #14
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Default Re: Detroit Again

I live in Hamtramck which is surrounded by Detroit and have explored many of the abandoned buildings in the city, its both neat and depressing. I just look at this city as an example for every other city not to live by. Everyday i see things that just make my think what the hell is wrong with this place? Many of the people lost all respect for themselves and their city. Some day things will get better here but it will take a long time and a lot of work.
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Old 09-16-2008, 01:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: Detroit Again

That second picture is staggering. I can make out a lot of the buildings but so many are gone. I live a hundred twenty miles north of Detroit and I was born a decade after the 67 riots. However it's a subject that is very near to my heart. I love this city and it drives me nuts to hear people still citing the aforementioned riots as a reason they wouldn't go to Detroit. It's as if they still think there's still tanks rolling down the streets. Is it gritty? yes. Is it dangerous? Some parts are. Will bums walk up and ask you for spare change? Absolutely. Still, if you use your head and don't try and put yourself in dangerous situations it is still a fantastic city. All these pictures were taken on my many trips to Detroit (fourteen times so far this year not counting Billetproof Detroit and the Dream Cruise.) Detroit is sad and beautiful at the same time, but don't let the bad press dictate what you do. Just take a day to explore, go to dinner, see a Tigers game, and maybe hit one of the bars before you head back. You'll have a great time in what is still a great city.
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:29 PM   #16
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Default Re: Detroit Again

i was down there for the autorama in march

The whole town has just fallen apart. On one of the man roads, every mile had a number of houses burned down as i was going to the ford museam

That abandoned train station was really impressive to drive past, it was huge and competely abandoned and in disrepair, really the town amased me, skyscrapers with boarded up, graffitied windows
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:33 PM   #17
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What can you do when they don't add jobs in that area. Why do you think the foreign car companies put their new plants elsewhere. I'll give you a hint, sounds like UAW.
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:35 PM   #18
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Lucky 77 and I are friends. That fact is amazing to me as he is over a generation younger. The automobile brought us together and hot rods in particular. When ever I think all is lost I only have to think about him and his positive outlook to think maybe I'll be able to live out my life without loosing all faith in humanity. He is the eternal optimist, always looking at the bright side.
Detroit is only an example of the excess that America has wallowed in for far too long. It stands as a testimony to the "ME" generations that followed WWII. Lets see how much "I" can take, let the next fellow give something back. As a result a lot of the country that was once the envy of the world now has a deteriorating FOR SALE sign hanging on it. Our graduates can't balance a checkbook or make change without a computer. They don't know anything about history and its consequences and think they are owed a cushy life style regardless of their input. Before you jump on me with examples of the opposite save your breath I already gave you an example and he lives within the confines of this site.
All I'm saying is Detroit is just a reflection of a far greater problem and only some soul searching followed by action will turn it around. I just find myself loosing faith about the chances of it happening before it too late.

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Old 09-16-2008, 02:41 PM   #19
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Default Re: Detroit Again

It's the dying American auto industry that brought me and my family to California when i was a kid. We left Detroit in the rear view mirror in the early 80's and i remember by entire family crying as we drove away. Dad went from working on cars to aerospace in California (which was taking off w/ Reagen in office during those times.)

Today is GM's 100th Anniversary celebration, and they presented the Volt. Will this 100 yr party symbolize the end, or a rebirth? I hope the latter...

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Old 09-16-2008, 02:58 PM   #20
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I spent hours looking thru the ruins websites and stuff after reading the posts about the old Packard plant. I even did the google street view maps and cruised around a bit. Its sad. Its even sadder when you have city and/or state governments that really could care less about any sense of historical preservation. Case in point, the way they keep fighting against the people trying to preserve part of Tiger stadium....fight to tear it all down to build another parking lot that will probably remain vacant as well. I understand moving forward, I understand progress, nothing stays the same. Lets just not forget where we came from...and what got some of these places where they are now. Id love to see some pictures of the Clark st. Cadillac plant if anyone has any.
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