A Visit to the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

MCG pays a visit to a great Detroit historic landmark and one of America’s top car guy destinations: the Ford Piquette Avenue plant. 


The Ford Piquette Avenue plant differs from other car museums in one key way: Here, the most important exhibit is the building itself. Constructed in 1904 at 411 Piquette Avenue, the plant produced many of Ford’s early models, including the B, C, and F, as well as the closely related N-R-S models. Most importantly today, Piquette was also the birthplace of the Model T.

The car that put America on wheels was designed and developed in this building, and the first 12,000 units or so were built here before production was moved to the mammoth factory at Highland Park. Erected near the heart of  Milwaukee Junction and one of the last major Detroit auto plants to use 19th-century mill-style construction, Piquette is of undeniable historic importance.

Ford Piquette Avenue plant, circa 1909


When the neighborhood slipped into decline in the late 1990s, a dedicated group of historical preservationists stepped forward to protect the facility, an officially designated National Historic Landmark. They operate as the Model T Heritage Complex, Inc. a not-for-profit that conserves and maintains the factory building and houses the fabulous little car museum inside.

You can find visiting hours, directions, and other info here at the organization’s website. When you visit, be sure to take the guided tour of the historic plant, which is led by extremely knowledgeable Ford historians. The staff here really knows their Ford lore, and they’re generous and gracious about sharing it.

And be prepared to see not only some great examples of early Fords in the museum displays, but the top Ford competitors of the era, including Brush, Hupmobile, and Dodge. Included are some original, unrestored automobiles, which are really wonderful to see. All in all, the Piquette Avenue Plant is a must-see for gearheads. A few of the highlights are included below.


Model T Ford custom-bodied speedster


Brass front Ford Model T Touring 


1903 Ford Model A rear entrance tonneau 


1911 Hupmobile Model 20 Touring 


1911 Brush Runabout


1909 Ford Model T Touring


1911 Hupmobile Model 20C Runabout, unrestored


1906 Ford Model N Runabout


1925 Ford Model T Station Wagon Four Wheel Drive


1911 Ford Model T Touring Canada 


Ford Piquette Avenue plant, June 2013 


8 thoughts on “A Visit to the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

  1. Piquette is a great place to see. It’s amazing they built 12000 cars there. By current manufacturing standards the factory is tiny.

  2. Wonderful story. I toured here in May and was interested learn the FORD logo on the radiator with SWIRLES at each end designated a car built at Piquette, H P cars did not get this SWIRLE. Warren Steele

  3. So the T station wagon 4wd was Fords first foray into the SUV market. Henry always was ahead of his time. The building though would have been very modern for its day, though was really superseded within a few short years.

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