Metairie, LA – MoPar fans and vintage concept car lovers are in for a double surprise at the Amelia Island 2018 Concours d’Elegance. In addition to seeing the incredible restored 1956 Plymouth Plainsman on display, Cars of Yesteryears will re- introduce the iconic hemi-powered 1954 Dodge Granada dream car convertible. After a lengthy, meticulous frame-off restoration, this radical fiberglass concept returns to public view 68 years after it debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The fully restored Dodge Granada will be featured at this year’s Amelia Island 2018 Concours d’Elegance held March 10-11. Ironically, Dodge originally displayed the Granada in various locations around Florida in 1954. So the 2018 showing is a bit of a homecoming.
Built and engineered in 1953 (for 1954 model year) by Creative Industries of Detroit for Dodge Division of Chrysler Corporation, the Granada has a most unusual history. Although many knowledgeable vintage car fans today may never have seen or even heard of the Granada, it was a highly popular and successful concept car in the mid-1950s. The Granada appeared in newspapers, magazines, shows and Dodge dealerships nationwide for 1954 and 1955. It had a fiberglass body that could be lifted by one man and was one of the first fiberglass car bodies capable of being mounted on a standard production chassis. The Granada was indeed an official Dodge Division concept car approved by executive William Newberg and featured in Chrysler Corporation publications. Yet the Granada was oddly never listed in Chrysler’s official concept “idea car” records. No one knows why.
After years on the show circuit, the Granada disappeared from public view, ending up in an obscure existence and private hands. Like the Plainsman, many historians believed the Granada had been destroyed during all those years out of the public eye. But eventually it turned up in extremely weathered condition and was bought by a collector. Eventually the Granada became part of yet another private collection. This time, it was now at the Mitchell Corporation where it had first received final trim and paint after original construction at Creative Industries of Detroit. The Granada was given a new cosmetic restoration only and remained on display at Mitchell’s private museum. Since that museum was not open to the public, few saw the Granada during those years.
The Mitchell museum closed in 2014 and the Granada was sold once again. This time the Granada ended up in the hands of Henry Shane of Metairie, Louisiana. From here, Mr. Shane’s Cars of Yesteryears (COY) museum immediately began a frame-off restoration that would take several years and many thousands of dollars to complete. Initially, several serious underlying issues were soon discovered. The fiberglass body had survived and the Granada looked nice on the outside because of the cosmetic refurbishing. However, underneath, the engine was no longer operable, the chassis was critically damaged by rust and corrosion, and components were missing. The complete folding top assembly, door glass and other essential parts were all missing and had to either be found or fabricated. The chassis frame was rusted beyond repair and was ultimately replaced with an identical rust-free Dodge chassis. Likewise a complete folding top assembly and door glass assemblies had to be fabricated. No expense was spared in this all-out effort to return the Granada to its original 1950s glory. Amelia Island 2018 Concours will be the first public showing of the Granada since restoration work was completed.
In addition to the restoration, Cars of Yesteryears also commissioned the first and only written history on the Granada for the museum. Much of this history and more was included in the book Creative Industries of Detroit…The Untold Story of Detroit’s Secret Dream Car Builder written by automotive historian, Leon Dixon. Mr. Dixon has known the Granada concept since it debuted in 1954 and had friends who actually worked on the car back then at Creative Industries.
About Cars of Yesteryears Museum
Cars of Yesteryears museum is now 36 years old. It began with about 25 cars but today houses about 160 cars in 40,000 square feet. In addition to the cars themselves, the museum has over 10,000 collectible items on display. These include a vast array of automobilia items from gas pumps to neon and other signs. Additionally included are in excess of 200 vintage promotional scale model cars and a library of automotive books. The collection also includes about 300 vintage pedal cars and 150 old bicycles along with 25 or so assorted motorbikes and scooters ranging from Vespas to Whizzers.
While COY is not open to the public, it does open as many as four times per month for use by charities, special fund-raising events and special community activities. Perhaps up to 50 such events are held yearly. The museum is also open about three times yearly for car club visits. There is no charge for use of the museum. Nor are there any fees for set-up or clean- up. COY has special arrangements with each charity to charge donation fees to attendees that are then retained by the respective charity.
4625 Fairfield Street
Metaire, LA 70006