September 20, 2015
Show co-founders Randy Mason and Jack Miller reminisced about the founding of the Orphan Car Show. Jack said “For many years, we talked about how Hudsons, Studebakers, Willys, and many other orphans were always over shadowed at car shows and parked in the back rows behind Mustangs, Corvettes, classic tri-5 Chevy’s, and others. We finally did something about it in 1997 and held the first orphan show which featured Hudson and still have most of the first volunteers working on the show in 2014.” Randy mentioned “We’ve kept the Orphan Car Show pure by having a carefully-defined definition of what constitutes an ‘orphan car.’ Ypsilanti has such a rich history of orphan-make development and production; it’s a natural location for the show. The enthusiasm and dedication of the local folks has made it work well over the years.”
During the early years, Chrysler sponsored the show. When Plymouth was orphaned, the Walter P. Chrysler Museum sponsored the show for 9 years.
“Pass In Review” is a unique feature of the show and has been part of the show from the beginning. With auto writers and historians narrating, the show is an automotive history classroom.
From the start, the first Sunday in June was the date for the show. Tornado warnings the second year of the show and showers several of the early years bothered the show. In June of 2010, heavy rains flooded the Huron River and Riverside Park where the show is held. It was then decided to move the show to third Sunday in September, a drier time of year.
Early on, the New York Times declared the show as one of the country’s best auto shows. The MotorCities National Heritage Area continues to highlight and promote the show as one of the top auto related events in Southeastern Michigan.