Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dan Gilbert calls for auto-themed Detroit tourist destination ... like AutoWorld?

Posted By on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Screen shot 2014-05-29 at 9.49.07 AMBazillionaire Dan Gilbert called for an automotive-centric tourist destination in Detroit Wednesday, saying he considered tapping an executive from Universal Studios or Disney to formulate a proposal, the Free Press reports.

Our immediate response was ... you mean, like, AutoWorld? Built in 1984, the $80-million theme park was predicted to reign in "the rebirth of the great city of Flint" according to then-Governor James J. Blanchard. The park closed just six months later, due to lagging attendance.

AutoWorld boasted car-themed attractions such as recreations of historical Flint, a giant model of a car engine, a film that celebrated three decades of automotive advertisements, and more. Its failure can be traced to an identity crisis — was AutoWorld a theme park or automotive museum?

From the North American International Auto Show to tours of the Ford Rouge Factory Tour to the Henry Ford Museum, we're not sure if car nuts need yet another way to get their fix in Detroit.

Gilbert also said that the annual Woodward Dream Cruise could be dramatically expanded, saying more than a “million people are willing to come to southeast Michigan on a hot muggy August weekend, in essence, to see nothing. What I mean by that is they’re bringing their own thing. Imagine if there was a something. We might get 2.8 million.”

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