Yesterday I had an appointment in Lansing and before I went home I visited my beloved college town of East Lansing. On the border of both cities is something I hadn't noticed: An old dealership converted into a makeshift museum for the Oldsmobile brand.
Oldsmobile and Lansing go hand-in-hand. Its founder, Ransom E. Olds, started the company in 1897, predating its eventual owner, General Motors, by nearly a full decade. Olds' impact is still in Lansing to this day, from the "REO Town" neighborhood named after him to the fact that, I'm guessing, one out of every four Lansing residents still has a running Oldsmobile from every decade of production.
Oldsmobile's tale of becoming a great American car brand succumbing to a slow, painful death brought on badge-engineering needs not be repeated at any length, but I think it's cool that Lansing-ites are keeping the brand alive.
Now, about the actual dealership. It used to be called Story Olds and after Oldsmobile shuttered, it was a Chrysler dealer. The place wasn't actually open during business hours and I didn't see any signs regarding hours of operation. There's actually a for sale sign on display in the window. But there were Christmas decorations, so someone's been in there recently.
Google turned up nothing except some posts on an Oldsmobile forum, leading some to guess that the person responsible is a collector renting the showroom out.
The cars inside include a Vista Cruiser wagon, an '80s Cutlass Ciera, a second-generation Omega, a
Toronado Cutlass convertible and an early model I couldn't identify. Now I know these pictures aren't the best — I was shooting from behind a plate window. But if you're ever in Lansing, the dealer is located at 300 Michigan Ave., next to Frandor Shopping Center.
There is an actual Oldsmobile museum near downtown Lansing at 240 Museum Drive, and if you're interested in where R.E. Olds actually lived, check out sketches of his massive (but sadly demolished) mansion here on the State of Michigan's website.