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1960 Detroit Auto Show Line Up at the City’s New Cobo Hall

Last August we posted a series of photos of the 1960 Detroit Auto Show held at the recently completed Cobo Hall on the Detroit River in the heart of the “Motor City.” Today’s photograph, taken by Joe Clark shows a display of the new 1961 Automobiles being presented on the parking ramp of Detroit’s new Cobo Hall. This image appeared in Life Magazine’s November 17, 1960, issue with the following caption:

“On the futuristic ramp of Detroit’s Cobo Hall, a parade of 1961 model autos spiraled down from the roof to be enshrined, almost like jewels, for this week’s opening of the 43rd National Auto Show in the brand-new $54 million exposition palace beside the Detroit River”.

Interestedly the domestic compact cars, the Plymouth Valient, and the Mercury Comet, first introduced in 1960, and the Pontiac Tempest and the Dodge Lancer, new 1961 models introduced at the show and highlighted in the line-up at the top of the ramp.

Tell us what else you find of interest in the enlargeable photograph below, and be sure to view the series of nine interesting images posted earlier at the 1960 Detroit Auto Show. The photo is courtesy of the Portal to Texas History.

  • Cobo Hall parking ramp with the Detroit River and Windsor, Ontario, Canada in the background.

Cobo Hall 1961 Detroit Auto Show Cars 2


19 responses to “1960 Detroit Auto Show Line Up at the City’s New Cobo Hall

    • Probably so. The boat is headed downstream which means it is bringing its cargo from that was loaded somewhere on Lake Superior. November is getting toward the end of the shipping season which ends when the ice gets too thick. The ore boat might have been headed for the Ford Rouge complex a few miles further down the river, or to one of the Ohio foundries located on Lake Erie.

  1. at 5 past 12 so to speak on the first covered coil …a Studebaker Lark.? to my uk eyes I first thought Hillman Minx.

    • I think your UK eyes are correct. The shapes do not suggest Lark even though the size is right. I do believe Hillman
      s were being imported at that time. My parents had a Hillman Husky wagon.

    • On the upper ramp, in the left foreground, are a 1961 RAMBLER Classic and a 1961 RAMBLER American wagon.

      Parked on the ground below the ramps, on the right, is a VOLKSWAGEN Beetle.

  2. It seems to me that 1960 was near the end of the great designed cars of the 1950s. It was downhill from there along with increasing government regulations and labor issues. Ninteen seventy three was essentially the end, and quality and design was lackluster until the 1990s. Thanks to the bankruptcy of the auto industgry in 2008 and with re-organization, we again are seeing excellent quality and some interesting design work . The New Detroit?

  3. The ramp may have been futuristic, but the cars were very much of the day. Notice the stain from oil dripping in the center of the ramp.

    • Perhaps, but since it’s Mid-November in Detroit that dark stripe could also be the contrast created by road salt residue. Given the elevation of the ramp they would have been salting it even before the surface streets got dosed.

      • Henri, that may well be correct, but I’ll stick with the oil stain. I spent much of my life in the retail car business and remember putting drip pans under engines for cars in the showroom until the late 80’s.

    • I would guess oil. Having spent many hours over many years on that ramp with a drippy oil pan on my various cars from 1965 and up, lots of cars dripped and stood still there for hours at a time. The salt and tracks my be a factor in making it stand our, but I do know that the middle of those lanes were oily.

      • Folks… Cobo Hall was new at the time. It was just contrast on where traffic going up and down the ramps . Remember steering had the be hard left going up… hard right going down. There wasn’t time to build up oil slicks yet.

    • Contraflow. Two up and one down for inbound event traffic. Reversed for after.

      Lane discoloration is tire wear – still evident today. See satellite image for proof.

  4. The tremendous size difference in the luxury range is apparent in the front and center lineup of Lincoln – Cadillac – Imperial

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