Established in 1928 by The Packard Motor Car Company, this unique site hosts multiple Albert Kahn-designed buildings on 17 acres.
The grounds were used as a vehicle testing site by the Packard Motor Car Company from 1928 to 1956.
The site consists of numerous buildings originally used as a garage with laboratory testing equipment, a repair garage, and a lodge for the manager of the Grounds, plus a hangar for the testing of aircraft motors that Packard designed. The highlight of the site was the 2.5-mile high-speed oval test track. During World War II, the site was loaned to Chrysler to test tanks and other armored vehicles. At the end of the war, Packard reclaimed the site and continued to utilize it until 1956.
Curtiss-Wright took over the property until 1961, when Ford purchased the property. Ford utilized the property for production and emissions testing.
In 1988 Ford planned to open the property for development. A USPS distribution center was planned until local historians and Packard enthusiasts banded together to get the site listed as a Michigan Historic Sites Registry and on the National Register of Historic Places. The Packard Motor Car Foundation was formed, which helped in successfully getting the Grounds listed on both registries in 2007.
Ford donated 7 acres and multiple buildings under the condition the buildings would be restored. Once completed, Ford donated an additional 7 acres.
Why Choose the Packard Proving Grounds?
The Entire 17-Acres is Yours
The Packard Motor Car Foundation, which manages the Packard Proving Grounds site in Shelby Township, Michigan, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Proceeds from operations go towards the restoration of the grounds and keeping a part of Detroit’s automotive and architectural history alive.