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In photos: 10 spots every car buff should visit in Detroit

If you're a car lover and planning to visit the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, add some extra time to your trip and check out these 10 locations.

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Automotive Hall of Fame The Automotive Hall of Fame, in nearby Dearborn, Mich., is a car lover’s paradise. The museum highlights the automotive pioneers who transformed our world including Karl Benz, the inventor of the first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine, Henry Ford, who developed the moving assembly line for automobiles, and Ralph Teetor, a blind engineer, who invented cruise control and patented it as “Speedostat” in the 1940s.

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Hittsville USA This little house may not look like much, but don’t let it fool you. This is Hittsville USA – the birthplace of Motown. The museum pays tribute to the Motown Record label, established in 1959 by Berry Gordy, as well as its musical artists including the Temptations, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, and Jackson 5, just to name a few. Inside is Studio A and the Control Room with the original instruments and equipment where legends like Diana Ross and the Supremes recorded the hit, Stop in the Name of Love.

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DIA Inside the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) you’ll find Diego Rivera’s world renowned Detroit Industry murals, which were based on Ford’s River Rouge Plant. Plus, prized masterpieces from the Renaissance and Baroque periods adorn the halls from artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Cecco del Caravaggio, and Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi. Even Tintoretto’s famous “The Dreams of Men” is part of the DIA’s permanent collection, which graces the ceiling 24 feet up.

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The Henry Ford Museum The Henry Ford Museum is a hop, skip, and jump away from Detroit. Located in Dearborn, MI, about 15 kms west of Detroit, you’ll find vintage Ford vehicles and other classic gems like a 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale and a 1959 Volkswagen Westfalia camper van. Plus, the museum has a vast assortment of other items including Edgar Allan Poe’s writing desk, Lincoln’s Chair, Rosa Park’s Bus, and even the 1961 Lincoln Continental 4-door convertible that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in on November 22, 1963.

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Ford Rouge Factory Tour Tour the Rouge Factory plant where Canada’s best-selling truck, the Ford F-150, rolls off the line. And then visit North America’s largest living green roof atop the Rouge Factory. The Dearborn truck plant roof is 10.4 acres; it has a diverse ecosystem, removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and reduces energy use.

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Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Step back in time and visit the birthplace of the Model T. This plant was Ford’s first factory. The Model T was developed at this plant in 1908, produced as a 1909 model. The first 12,000 models were assembled here and shipped out by railroad. In 1911, the building was sold to Studebaker and used to manufacture vehicles until 1933. It changed hands a few more times before the Model T Automotive Heritage Complex bought it in 2000.

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GM Renaissance Center A quick trip from the NAIAS, is the GM Renaissance Center – home to General Motors world headquarters. It’s a landmark site on Detroit’s waterfront. Free guided tours of the GM RenCen complex are available weekdays – there are shops, restaurants and a rotating display of GM vehicles on the lower level. The 40,000-square foot showroom features an assortment of the auto maker’s newest vehicles including the Chevrolet Camaro, the Chevrolet Corvette, the Buick LaCrosse, and the GMC Terrain.

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Michigan Central Station Michigan’s Central Station symbolizes Detroit’s rise and fall. It’s a historic site – sitting proudly in the backdrop as you travel over the Ambassador Bridge from Windsor to Detroit. It once served as a train depot and 18-storey office tower. Its grand stature designed to reaffirm to visitors the greatness and power of Detroit. The massive depot is undergoing renovations – more than 1,000 windows have just been replaced, but the fate of the abandoned building is still unknown.

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The Heidelberg Project On your driving tour, check out Detroit’s famed Heidelberg Project – it’s a one-of-a-kind outdoor art exhibit in Detroit’s East Side. The brainchild of artist Tyree Guyton, the project is designed to improve lives and transform neighborhoods through art. Boldly coloured buildings complete with discarded objects such as old clunker cars adorn a two-block radius. The project has gained international recognition, revitalized the area and transformed lives in the community. It has been going strong for three decades.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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Detroit Historical Museum At the Detroit Historical Museum, you can walk along cobblestone streets and see 19 th -century stores, an auto assembly line, and a fur trading post from the 1700s. One of the signature exhibitions is called “America’s Motor City,” which focuses on Detroit’s car culture and chronicles how and why Detroit became the Motor City. Other exhibits include the “Doorway to Freedom – Detroit and the Underground Railroad.” It’s perfect for the family and it’s free.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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