Kumar Galhotra, Ford Motor Company vice president and president, Lincoln, was the guest speaker on August 8 for Lincoln aficionados attending a dinner at the Dearborn Country Club as part of the Fourth Annual Lincoln Homecoming events preceding the Grand National Meet in Hickory Corners. Reporting to Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett, Galhotra is the most senior leader overseeing all Lincoln operations globally, including product development; marketing, sales and service; and all team members supporting the Lincoln brand, as he builds on the brand’s recent product and sales momentum.
Coming from an engineering background (he was responsible for the engineering of all cars, trucks, SUVs and crossover vehicles for Ford and Lincoln brands) and with product development experience in Lincoln’s expansion in China, Galhorta is uniquely positioned to oversee the development of the next generation of Lincoln vehicles as well as connect them with a new generation of Lincoln clients.
His experience in China, where both the heritage of the brand and the luxury image attract potential buyers, has influenced his focus is to build on the appeal of Lincoln not only through its distinctive vehicles but also a world-class, luxury ownership experience.
Galhorta advocates thinking outside the box to see what services Lincoln can offer its dedicated buyers. Realizing that our time is valuable, he indicated that they are looking, not at improving dealer waiting room amenities, but at keeping customers from waiting at all. Offering a car pick up and return for service is being evaluated with a tight 15 minute appointment window at home or office so no one will be inconvenienced or have their time wasted. They are also considering having Lincoln provide chauffeuring options for clients who have partied too much to drive home so your vehicle would be with you in the morning. These are but a few of the innovative approaches the company is exploring for accelerating Lincoln even further as a world-class luxury brand.
Ford Motor Company Vice President Kumar Galhotra was named president of The Lincoln Motor Company, effective Sept. 1, 2014. In this dedicated position, Galhotra is responsible for accelerating Lincoln further as a world-class luxury brand.
The 2017 Homecoming recognized the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Lincoln Motor Company, which was created in 1917 to build Liberty V12 motors for the Allied Forces during World War One. (The company was re-incorporated in 1920 to build motor cars.)
This was the 2017 national meet for all Lincoln clubs, featuring both judged and display-only classes. Though hosted by the Lincoln Owners Club, all Lincoln clubs were invited to attend: the Lincoln-Zephyr Owners Club, Road Race Lincoln Register, Lincoln Continental Owners Club and the LOC. Almost 150 Lincolns arrived to celebrate this milestone.
For several days preceding the weekend car show, attendees had the chance to choose from numerous driving tours that catered to a multitude of interests. Tours of the Off Brothers Automobile Collection and Bill Parfet Auto Collection brought passionate collectors together to marvel at the variety and endurance of these cars.
There were opportunities for great photos of our classic cars at Charlton Park Historic Village and a chance to imbibe in local craft beer at Bell’s Brewery.
A highlight was the tour of Kellogg Bird Sanctuary followed by a delicious plated lunch at the Kellogg Manor House. Docents shepherded small groups through the Kellogg’s summer home and shared numerous details of their life there.
Another option included a drive to Grand Rapids to visit beautiful Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Varied and exotic horticulture, both in the indoor conservatories and in the 158 acre park, meshed beautifully with the over 200 masterworks by renowned sculptors spread over the site. An added treat was an exhibit in the main building featuring work by renowned Chinese artist and social critic, Ai Weiwei.
Air buffs had a chance to see more than 50 diverse aircraft on display at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo Aerospace and Science Center. Before dinner they were afforded close looks at everything from a replica of the first Wright Flyer, to World War II era fighters and bombers, all the way up to the modern and one-of-a-kind SR-71B Blackbird – the fastest plane ever built. The daring even tried high-definition 3D full motion flight simulators which allowed the brave to perform full-motion loops, rolls and more while dog-fighting in a fighter plane—closest thing to real flight without having to leaving the ground!
The weekend included the usual Friday dinner and lively auction of Lincoln memorabilia with “auctioneer” Tony Russo.
On Saturday the Lincoln Motor Car Heritage Museum hosted the fourth annual gathering of Lincoln motorcars, showcasing Lincolns from the 1920s and 30s. Judging will be done by the individual clubs. Later in the afternoon, there was as a dedication in the Lincoln museum of a rare Liberty engine by Dr. David W. Roycroft. His wife’s personal family history with that engine prompted him to search for, find and restore one for the museum.
LOC and LZOC awards were presented at that evening’s banquet, after which guest speaker Jack Telnack, retired global Vice President of Design for Ford Motor Company, shared his perspective on the key elements of good design and how those could be seen in different models over the years.
The weekend concluded with one final trip to Hickory Corners on Sunday for a car show which included presentation by the LCOC of its awards as well as photographing of the winning Lincolns. The Elliston H. Bell Founder’s Trophy for Most Outstanding Senior Lincoln was awarded to Warren and Lori Wubker of Orlando, Florida for their 1956 Premiere Convertible.
Thanks for planning this 2017 event go to a LMCF standing committee comprised of the four Lincoln presidents (Eric van den Beemt, LOC; Tom Brunner, LZOC; John Talbourdet, LCOC; Mike Denny, RRLR) and David Schultz, LMCF chairman. Also assisting were Greg Bilpuch, who played a major role in planning the museum’s dedication in 2014, and LMCF board member Vaughn Koshkarian. Additional thanks go to LCOC members Bob Johnson and Dennis Garrett who handled registration and other meet responsibilities.
Prior to the Grand National Meet in Hickory Corners, dedicated LCOC members gathered in Dearborn, Michigan to soak up more nostalgia. Organized as a pre-meet trip by meet organizers, this was an opportunity to visit both historic and contemporary sites in car manufacturing history.
The visit kicked off with a welcome dinner at the host hotel, the historic Dearborn Inn, built by Henry Ford to service those flying into his nearby airfield. The next day, an extensive bus tour took folks to the original Piquette Plant, where Ford created and initially built the Model T, and then wound its way through downtown Detroit highlighting the Fisher Building, the Albert Kahn Building, Cadillac Tower, Cadillac Place, One Detroit Center, GM Headquarters, and Minoru Yamasaki’s One Woodward Avenue, to name a few. The city has lost almost two-thirds of its population through several economic downturns and evidence of that decline could be seen in boarded up buildings juxtaposed with areas of revitalization.
Following the lunch at Andiamo overlooking the Detroit River and Canada on the far side, the bus travelled through the Grosse Point and Grosse Pointe Farms neighborhoods and along the scenic Lake Shore Road past beautiful homes on the river, stopping for an extensive tour of the Edsel and Eleanor Ford 1930’s era estate and grounds in Grosse Pointe Shores.
Dinner at the Dearborn Country Club offered an opportunity to see some of our vintage autos side by side with the new Lincoln Continental and the 2018 Navigator on the grounds of the club. Lincoln representatives were on hand to answer questions as guests sipped cocktails, browsed, and tried the new models on for size.
Kumar Galhorta, Vice-President of Ford Motor Company and President of Lincoln Motor Company, addressed the group after dinner and took spirited questions from the audience.
Before heading to Kalamazoo, attendees had the chance to take their classic cars for a photo op at Ford Motor Company Headquarters, check out the gift shop and have lunch in the company cafeteria.
Numerous people also planned side trips through downtown Detroit, toured the Rouge Plant where the F-150 trucks are assembled, and visited Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.
More pictures and details will be in an upcoming Comments issue.