EyesOn Design celebrates game-changing vehicles

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 12, 2013

 Antique Chris-Craft wooden pleasure boats are among the vehicles visitors can expect to see at the 26th annual EyesOn Design show June 16 at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House.

Antique Chris-Craft wooden pleasure boats are among the vehicles visitors can expect to see at the 26th annual EyesOn Design show June 16 at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House.

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — For car lovers, EyesOn Design is a dream come true. The annual Father’s Day automotive design exhibition — which celebrates its 26th anniversary this year — will feature about 280 vehicles, ranging from classics and hotrods to antique motorcycles and Chris-Craft wooden boats.

From 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 16, the grounds of the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House will be filled with vehicles that exemplify this year’s theme, “Revolution over Evolution.” Revolutionary changes in automotive design will be celebrated, with highlights that include an appearance by a rare 1948 Tucker, which is also featured on this year’s poster, created by automotive artist Steven Macy. Modern tuners, American luxury cars from the 1950s and 1960s, children’s powered pedal cars, Thunderbirds from the vehicle’s 50-year history, European exotic cars, postwar American and British sports cars and more are slated to be on display.

Several thousand attendees are expected for an annual tradition that attracts visitors from all over the world and serves as a major fundraiser for the nonprofit Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, which offers programs and services for the blind and visually impaired. The DIO is based in Grosse Pointe Park and is now affiliated with the Henry Ford Health System.

EyesOn Design is “an international celebration of automotive design of the past, present and future,” said Dr. Philip C. Hessburg, medical director of the DIO and a member of the EyesOn Design organizing team. “We don’t judge cars on whether they’re perfectly restored — we judge cars on their sculptural beauty. … We have tried to tie vision into the sculptural beauty of cars.”

Attendees can enjoy an optional brunch, at $75 per person, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 16, which also includes EyesOn Design show admission, or they can simply purchase show tickets for $20 per person at the door. Optional tours of the Ford House can be purchased, as well.

“We’re better known in Munich than we are in Grosse Pointe,” Hessburg said of this event, which draws serious automotive design buffs from around the globe, as well as more casual observers.

Bob Grosscup, of Grosse Pointe Farms, the general chair of EyesOn Design, said the show is “very open” with vehicles not being roped off so visitors can get a closer took at the fine details. The day includes activities for children, as well.

“We try to make it a great event for everyone in the family,” Grosscup said. “It’s an amazing show. There’s something for everyone.”

This year, top automotive designers selected Wayne Cherry — only the fifth vice-president of design in General Motors’ history — for their Lifetime Design Achievement Award, slated to be presented to Cherry during a black tie event June 14 at the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights.

During its history, EyesOn Design has raised nearly $4 million for vision research, Hessburg said. Those funds have enabled the DIO to assemble international research congresses that bring scholars together to present their findings and exchange ideas. This year, the research congress is focusing on the connection between vision and the brain with driving, and next year, Hessburg said the focus is on artificial vision. The congresses alternate between those two topics every two years, he said. This is the 13th year for these international congresses, which cost about $100,000 each to put on, he said.

“The DIO is the world’s collegial center for artificial vision (research exchanges),” Hessburg said of the role the nonprofit has played. “It is also the epicenter on the relationship between vision and driving. … Collegiality facilitates collaboration, and collaboration facilitates progress.”

“In the past several years, it has grown every year,” he said.

Hessburg said visitors will find “a lot to do on the grounds.”

“It’s going to be a fun, fun day,” he said.

Admission to EyesOn Design is $20 at the gate. Children ages 12 and younger are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Ford House is located at 1100 Lake Shore, between Vernier and Nine Mile roads. For more information or brunch reservations, call (313) 824-4710 or visit www.eyesondesigncarshow.com or www.facebook.com/eodevents.