In 1899 the Packard Brothers opened shop in Warren, Ohio. In 1903 investors funded the move to Detroit, but it wasn’t until 1928 that the current Shelby location was opened for testing purposes.
After over a decade of searching for the right location for testing their cars the 560 acre site located approximate 20 miles due north of the Detroit Packard Plant was secured. The Packard Proving Grounds consisted of a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) high-speed concrete oval track with timing tower, miles of test roads of various conditions, an airplane hangar (Packard was also involved in developing aircraft engines, and used the track’s infield as a landing strip), a repair garage, and a gate house/lodge that housed the Proving Grounds manager and his family. The Tudor Revival lodge building also had garage space for eight cars, plus dormitory rooms for visiting engineers.
The garage building contained experimental and engineering laboratories allowing the testing of engines, chassis, electrical components, fuels, and lubricants under a variety of conditions.
During World War II, the Chrysler Corporation leased the entire Proving Grounds to test tanks and other armored vehicles, and constructed a new building on the site that was capable of servicing tanks. READ MORE