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These 3 rooftop test tracks will blow your mind

It’s difficult to design, develop, and manufacture cars without some kind of test track, and it’s nice to have one close to development and manufacturing facilities. When the Dodge brothers broke away from supplying Henry Ford to start making their own self-branded automobiles in 1914, one of the first things that they did was construct a test track right next to the Dodge Main factory in the Detroit enclave of Hamtramck. It was “paved” with wooden boards and had an elevated section to simulate hill climbing. Dodge’s wooden-slatted circuit was the first automotive test track in the world to be built on the grounds of a car factory. 

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/rooftop-test-tracks/

Replies (19)

Replies (19)

When I was a young boy (6th grade), a good friend of my family was a stylist for Chrysler. He took his son and I to the Chrysler styling studios, and then for a few laps on the test track at the Chrysler Proving Grounds. Being born a car guy, doing the banked turn at 80, with the drivers hands off the wheel, the water splash, hill climb, etc., is a memory that has stayed with me my entire 74 years. Good article!!

Passenger

The Ford Model T plant in Toronto Canada had a rooftop test track since 1915. The building still stands and still has Model T cars inside.

Intermediate Driver

My favorite test track was the seemingly miles of orange hot wheels track that ran all over the house in the 70's. Never made it up on the roof, but that would have been fun!

Passenger

Great article.  Took a lot of research.

New Driver

Not used for a lot, the Auburn Hills facility, Chrysler Technical Center (CTC) has a small evaluation road test track on the east side of the property, adjacent to Squirrel Road. There is only one really fast area, a short straightaway on the west side, adjacent to the main internal boulevard. I am not sure if it is a full mile, but has a lot of twisty turns and multiple switchbacks. We used to take out new or production cars for a few laps, including a Viper and a Prowler. You can see it in Google maps.

Intermediate Driver

Interesting article.  The Ohio Transportation Research Center was sold to Honda years ago and is now the Honda R&D Americas, LLC.  I went on a field trip there a long time ago and the bus got to go around the 7.5 mile high banked test track. It was too slow to go all the way up the banks.

 

By far the more interesting were the board tracks of the teens and twenties.  Speeds were higher than the Indianapolis Speedway. 

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Board_track_racing

New Driver

If you go to the Lingotto factory in Turin using GOOGLE maps, you can drop the little street view guy on the track and walk around it.

Passenger

Interesting article.   A couple years ago my son and I did the Indiana car museum circuit and visited the Studebaker Proving Grounds built in 1926.  The grounds were purchased in 2015 by Navistar and are still used today for testing trucks and technologies and as a Showcase for customers. 

Passenger

I worked for a company called Topcon which had offices in the Turin Lingotto facility at one time starting around 2017 for a couple of years.

Passenger

My favourite test "track" was the lack of a track for Lamborghini and Valentino Balboni who test drove every production car from the 1970s thru the sale to Chrysler..... on public roads. The worlds fastest cars and no test track. 

Intermediate Driver

I never had the opportunity to investigate.

Intermediate Driver

While I was a Polaroid employee I'd been told there was a Model T test track on the roof of the Memorial Drive building in Cambridge (Massachusetts) when Polaroid took it over.

Intermediate Driver

In Detroit the Detroit news along with the local Exchange Club sponsered a very large model airplane contest every June at the Ford Test Track.   We Free Flighters would often have our models drift over a brick wall separating the test Track from Greenfield Village.   It helped to have good wall climbing ability which I did not have.  It was usually the first big outdoor meet of the season and usually my first really nasty sunburn of the season.

New Driver

672 Dupont ST Toronto Ontario Canada


When Ford initially constructed the building at 672 Dupont, the company decided to subdivide operations according to floor. For instance, the first floor boasted Ford's spectacular showroom. Here, customers awed at the gleaming Model-Ts which wheeled in before them. On the second floor, warehouse workers loaded and unloaded daily shipments in Ford's massive docking area. Upstairs, assembly line workers earned an honest day's wage by inspecting and assembling auto parts by hand. The paint-shop was located on the building's top floor. Here customers could choose from an array of colours including black, black and black! And finally, on the building's roof, shrieking tires motored around Ford's own test track. The building was a modern marvel and would weather time for the next eighty years.

Passenger

672 DuPont st toronto Ontario Canada

 

when Ford initially constructed the building at 672 Dupont, the company decided to subdivide operations according to floor. For instance, the first floor boasted Ford's spectacular showroom. Here, customers awed at the gleaming Model-Ts which wheeled in before them. On the second floor, warehouse workers loaded and unloaded daily shipments in Ford's massive docking area. Upstairs, assembly line workers earned an honest day's wage by inspecting and assembling auto parts by hand. The paint-shop was located on the building's top floor. Here customers could choose from an array of colours including black, black and black! And finally, on the building's roof, shrieking tires motored around Ford's own test track. The building was a modern marvel and would weather time for the next eighty years.

Passenger

Looks like someone here types faster than me. Anyway, here is a link to some photos I took of the Toronto factory.

 

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/506218/588537.html?1448896412

Intermediate Driver

It would be nice to see the video, but there is no way to log in when you try to log in

Passenger

Well, you might want to come to Toronto and grab some shots from the roof top track that was at Ossington and Dupont. Once Planter's Peanuts factory as well, this building had a rooftop test track for Ford. There is a display of Fords cars still on the second or third floor. If l can l will add pics later. KEEP ON DRIVE'N.

Pit Crew

Very informative and interesting. You can also check our article on the interactive list of World's proving grounds - https://dewesoft.com/daq/list-of-automotive-proving-grounds.

Passenger