‘Hoods in the Rear’ is theme for Packard Proving Grounds show

This 1936 Stout Scarab is one of three registered for show at Packard Proving Grounds | Cars R Stars photos
This 1936 Stout Scarab is one of three registered for show at Packard Proving Grounds | Cars R Stars photos

Golf-course fairways provide pleasant places to stage concours d’elegance and many paved parking lots work for caffeinated cruise-ins. But there are venues that provide proper historical backdrops for such events, locations such as the old Packard Proving Grounds in Shelby Township, just north of Detroit.

Each year, the facility is the location for the Cars R Stars show. This year the date is June 11 and the special feature is “Hoods in the Rear.”

Not only will vehicles such as a trio of Stout Scarabs, a Tucker, a Tatra, an original VW minibus, Corvairs and other rear-engine machines be featured, but they’ll be parked in what some consider to be sacred pavement, a preserved piece of the proving grounds’ original oval test track.

Cars parked along proving grounds' main boulevard
Cars parked along proving grounds’ main boulevard

The “Hoods in the Rear” grouping also will include an Amphicar, Delorean DMC 12, BMW Isettas, a Fiat Jolly and several Porsches.

“The goal of the Cars R Stars Show at the historic Packard Proving Grounds is to honor the role of vehicles in our collective history. By featuring some of the most unique cars in automotive history, we are telling a fascinating part of that story,” show board member Don Sommer is quoted in a news release.

“In addition, it is quite significant to be able to show three of the most famous Stout Scarabs together in one place at one time.

“Cars‘R’Stars @ PPG is known for welcoming all examples of collectible transportation as well as the special features,” he added. “Our field includes everything from 2-wheeled to 4-wheeled, brass era and pre-war, post war, hot rods, muscle cars, trucks, racers, customs, military vehicles and even bikes.”

Featured this year are Whizzer motorbikes.

“These motorized bicycles became especially popular during World War II when they were billed as a great way for defense workers to travel to and from work,” the news release noted of the special class of 17 human- or motor-powered bicycles.

Interior of one of the proving grounds buildings | Larry Edsall photo
Interior of one of the proving grounds buildings | Larry Edsall photo

And for those more interested in automotive history than automobiles, the buildings on the campus were designed by famed architect Albert Kahn and can be toured.

“The historic significance of the Packard Proving Grounds makes it an important and ideal setting for a collector car meet and celebration,” Sommer said. “The unique proving grounds is a piece of Michigan history where the greatest American autos ran their paces.”

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