After decades of abandonment, Detroit’s East Grand Boulevard Packard plant is almost as famous for its ruinous state as for its history as one of the first automotive factories to establish the city as America’s car making capital. Now, E3 Spark Plugs takes you on a virtual tour of what’s left of the plant via a homemade dirt bike and an aerial drone camera in the video below.
Built in 1903, the plant housed Packard’s manufacturing operations for over half a century. During that time, Packard became the dominant luxury car in the US, outselling all other luxury brands combined, including Cadillac. The company also assisted military and war operations, building Liberty engines for military aircraft in the late 1910s and aircraft and marine engines for the US military and World War II allies in the early 1940s at the Detroit facility.
The last Packard rolled off the East Grand Boulevard plant assembly line in 1954, when the automaker bought out Studebaker and became Studebaker-Packard. The company sold or leased parts of the complex, which became an industrial and warehousing center, finally selling the full plant in 1987 to a company called Bioresource. Unfortunately, that moment marked the beginning of the property’s descent into disrepair and danger. Over the past few decades, the property fell victim to an ongoing series of troubles that included drugs and gang activity, paintballers and urban spelunkers, illegal dumping of tires and other trash, toxic spills, bankruptcy, ownership disputes and a jail term or two.
But there’s hope. Peru-based developer Fernando Palazuelo recently took ownership of the 40-acre property and is shopping his vision of a modern factory space designed to attract auto suppliers and other manufacturers back to the Motor City. His first order of business – 24-hour security patrols.
Fortunately, the creative types at Cantini Pictures beat Palazuelo’s security team to the property, producing a short exploratory film touted as “motocross meets the monument.” Enjoy your ride…