Celebrating the automobile
Keith Crain is editor-in-chief of Automotive News.
This past weekend was the annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California.
A few weeks earlier was the annual Concours d'Elegance of America, which was held at the Inn at St. John's in Plymouth, Mich., just outside Detroit. I've been involved with both of those great events. Considering that Pebble Beach is more than 50 years old, and the Concours d'Elegance of America is about 35 years old, there has been a lot of celebrating.
What makes those events special is that they celebrate the history of the car, both American and European, going back to the beginning of the automobile more than a century ago.
Each year at several events across the country we can stand back, take a look at the marvelous lineage of cars -- and occasionally motorcycles -- and pause to realize what a great history there is.
Those events attract thousands of spectators who come to admire the wonderful rolling works of art. It can be breathtaking to see the vehicles that are on display.
There are few industries -- aviation might be another -- where there is such a stunning history that today's engineers and designers can realize the impact of their predecessors.
And to put it all in perspective, this past Saturday in Detroit was the annual Woodward Dream Cruise, an event that almost defies description.
Just try to imagine a million people, six deep, along a 16-mile stretch of Woodward Avenue, watching 40,000 vehicles of all sizes and shapes celebrating the American car and the American phenomenon that was cruising Woodward. People arrive in Detroit from all over the world to watch or participate in the annual ritual. There is no gate, no admission: They just come and enjoy. It's quite a sight.
It is reassuring that so many Americans enjoy and appreciate their automobiles. Everyone has a story about his or her first car. For many, collecting cars that they cherish is a part of their dreams.
For any naysayers in this industry I suggest a strong dose of celebration at any of those fine events. It has to restore your faith in the American love affair with the car.
That love affair is alive and well.
You can reach Keith Crain at firstname.lastname@example.org.