PCA Southeast Michigan Region

From the Blog

P4-2019-04 – SEM Henry Ford Museum & Factory Tour

As we all living in Michigan know, winter is the hardest time of the year. This winter is very unpredictable, from Polar Vortex to very warm days in the same week (over 60 degrees swing in a week). I think the biggest surprise from living in Michigan is that massive pothole that shows up out of nowhere. From pothole laden street to snow, ice and salt covered roads made me question my decision to live in Michigan. My decision to put the Porsche into winter hibernation does not help either.

Historic display of vehicles built in Rouge Factory

At the end of every February and into March, I have to answer the question why I want live in this dreadful place. My answer always brings me to my job and friends. I love working on cars and Ford provides a great opportunity for me to apply my automotive passion.

As some of you know, I love driving and talking about cars. I am so happy to be part of SEMPCA as we have great HPDEs, driving tours, social events and most importantly friends with the same passion. “It’s not just the cars, it’s the people”….

So this year, I vowed to do something fun. With the blessing from SEM board and president, we put together a plan to visit The Henry Ford (museum and Rouge factory tour) on March 16th, 2019.

We met at Ford Garage restaurant in Dearborn for lunch. Around 23 members showed up. The restaurant is decorated with automotive theme and gives us the vibe of being in a 1920’s service station to include vintage Ford vehicles, gas pumps, and fixtures. Utensils were wrapped in cotton rags and tied using a hose clamp. They even stamped their burger with Ford logo.

After lunch, we headed to the Henry Ford. Gary Ambrus gave a presentation and private tour of the museum. Thank you very much Gary…

Henry Ford dedicated this museum and village on October 21, 1929, marking the 50th anniversary of Thomas Edison’s first successful light bulb test. Ford named his new complex The Edison Institute of Technology to honor his friend and lifelong hero. This year, Henry Ford’s museum celebrates its 90th anniversary.

We split into two groups as some of us decided to visit the museum only, factory tour only or both. Museum tour was led by Gary who was also our private tour guide (you can’t get better than this). I went with the second group to the Rouge factory tour.

Lucas Phan, Aaron and Dave Kowalewsky, John Dorscht and Michael Cohen – Rouge Factory Tour
Dave and Aaron Kowalewsky, Michael Cohen, Dan Conrad, Robert Newill and Len Dodman at Henry Ford Museum
Edison’s signature – Henry Ford Museum

I have been to Rouge factory multiple times before but for work purposes. This experience was very different. The factory tour showcases the entire Ford F150 production process which was very different than my previous visits as an engineer trying to solve an engineering problem.

In the middle of the factory tour, we stumbled into a F150 Raptor display with its body panels, cab and truck bed removed, exposing its chassis and powertrain arrangements. As an engineer who is very passionate on his job, I can’t help myself from not talking about some technical details on F150 Raptor design. I tried my best to answer technical questions from our members. The factory tour lasted ~2 hours and we headed back to the museum.

Gary was kind enough to give us a tour and pointers on the museum to 5 of us who decided to go to the museum after factory tour. We are very thankful to have Gary as our guide; especially we since we were the second museum group. We managed to cover the whole automotive section before the museum closed at 5pm.

2019 Ford F150 Raptor with Body, Cab and Truck Bed removed Rouge Factory
Ford GT – Henry Ford Museum
Lunch at Ford Garage – Dearborn

I came home happy as I managed to get rid of my automotive winter blues with SEM PCA friends. Now winter is coming to an end, I can’t wait for Spring and Summer to come as there will be more SEM fun events on their way.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for next winter, please feel free to suggest it to us. I think a fun winter get together with SEM friends is the best way to cure our winter automotive blues.