Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to the Bricks Keeps Growing

Crowds fill downtown Flint at night for Back to the Bricks. (Photo courtesy of Flint on Full.)

Despite some rough weather the final day, last weekend's Back to the Bricks car fest in Flint continued to break attendance records. Kristen Longley of The Flint Journal reports:
From its humble beginnings just six years ago, Back to the Bricks is now estimated to be 60 times as large as its inaugural event in 2005.

On the final day of the downtown Flint car show Saturday, organizers said the five-day Back to the Bricks extravaganza is estimated to have attracted more than 420,000 people — over 40 percent more than last year.

It's easy to say this now, but I've always thought a modest, well-run auto museum that expanded on the Sloan Museum's great car collection would have made sense for Flint. It certainly would not have "saved" the city, but it could have been something that would bring out of town visitors to Flint. Back to the Bricks demonstrates just how crazy people are about old cars, regardless of the economy. Then again, there's no shortage of auto museums across the country, so there would be a lot of competition.


  1. One of the reasons there are so many (basically) indoor-car-shows is that they tend to succeed...unlike, say, indoor amusement parks with a vaguely automotive theme, or Imax theatres that don't have their own customer entrance.

    Somewhere around here there's a landfill with a wrecked open-span brick building in it, that would have been just right for an indoor-car-show/museum.

    We had two shots at it, and blew it both times.


  2. Back to the Bricks definitely keeps getting bigger and better. From my ringside seat here on S. Saginaw the show is awesome, as much as I hate that word it truly describes the happenings.

    In a 3 block area we had a car club out of Metro Detroit, 3 bands and a lot of people having a great time.

    The cars were unbelievable. Classics, rods, stockers, customs, rat-rods, works in progress, and some oddities.

    What a great time. In our little section of the festivities there were no problems and a bunch of fun.

    A live museum with no up keep and live, moving displays.

  3. Back to the Bricks was a great show. I'll probably be back next year. They simply have to get the roving gangs under control. The word has spread fast about the gangs. It seems that just when something works in Flint the residents (or some of them) go and screw it up.

    I've worked with several of the larger auto collections around the country. You cannot make money with an auto museum. You need a collector with a lot of rare cars and very deep pockets. Most are 501c3 organizations.

    There are two very nice collections in Flint. First is the Sloan and then the Buck collection that's across the street. Both need support and money. Does Flint need a 3rd one?


  4. Richard, you've shot down another one of my long-held but poorly researched economic ideas for Flint! I think I let my love of car museums blind me to economic reality.


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