JACKSON (WJRT) -
(06/20/14) - The Back to the Bricks Michiana Promotional Tour is underway.
Over the next several days, classics cars will travel across Michigan and parts of Indiana to get folks revved up for the Back to the Bricks car show in June.
Not only are they just showing off their vehicles, but this is a chance for them to show people across our state - and also Indiana this year - just exactly what Back to the Bricks is all about later this year.
This tour gives drivers a chance to check out hidden gems in our state along the way to their destination.
About 175 classic cars are registered for the tour and many more will be picked up along the way.
The tour made its first stop in downtown Jackson, where they will be doing a parade of cars.
Not only is the tour about showing off cars and Flint, but it's also educational. Friday, we learned about Jackson's rich automotive history.
We know know that Detroit is known as the Motor City and Flint picked up the title as Vehicle City, but did you know Jackson was once in the driver seat - producing several vehicles starting in the early 1900's?
Ye Olde Carriage Shop in Spring Arbor has the majority of these vintage vehicles, with many of these vehicles manufactured right here in Jackson.
Lloyd Ganton owns the shop and has over 60 classic and vintage cars.
"When I was a young man I started collecting cars and put them in the barn," he said.
He's most proud of the several rare vehicles, including a 1902 Jaxon, the first car to be made in Jackson by Byron Carter and the Jackson Automobile Co.
"It steers with a tiller and it has a mother in law seat on the front, because the driver, o she can't bother her," he said.
There were nearly 30 models produced in Jackson, including a 1909 Jackson, and a 1914 Imperial. They are among five vehicles Ganton owns that are still in existence.
"This Fuller is a one and only and this Argo is a one and only," he said.
It's said in 1907 the last Buick Model F rolled off the assembly line in Jackson, and gone with it, the city's chance at becoming a major player in Michigan's auto industry.
Ganton says he's holding on to the memorabilia as a reminder of Jackson's role in moving Michigan forward.
"It's one of the best hidden secrets in Michigan I think," he said.