Brandon J. Anderson, executive director and CEO of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, will be bringing this Cord L-29 to EyesOn Design. The vehicle was a favorite of design icon Frank Lloyd Wright.

Brandon J. Anderson, executive director and CEO of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, will be bringing this Cord L-29 to EyesOn Design. The vehicle was a favorite of design icon Frank Lloyd Wright.

Photo provided by EyesOn Design

Revolutionary vehicles are focus of 2023 EyesOn Design car show

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 7, 2023

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Car design afficionados and children taking their dads out for Father’s Day will be among those enjoying the remarkable vehicles on display during the 36th annual EyesOn Design from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 18 on the grounds of the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores.

Vehicles are included by invitation only. EyesOn Design was ranked by USA Today as the fifth-best car show in the United States, out of more than 300 such shows, said Dr. Philip Hessburg, the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology’s medical director. He said the show attracts car collectors and designers from around the world, and he credits the automotive design world with making EyesOn Design as prestigious and exciting as it is today.

“Most people in Grosse Pointe, St. Clair Shores, Harper Woods — most people (in the immediate area) do not know what a major event this has turned into,” Hessburg said.

EyesOn Design Chair Kathy Pecar Lightbody agreed.

“What always blows me away is the caliber of the show,” Pecar Lightbody said. “It is a world-class show, and that it is right here and so accessible is pretty remarkable.”

About 3,000 people attend each year, Pecar Lightbody said. While parking is available at the Ford House, it does fill up, so attendees are encouraged to park nearby at Grosse Pointe North High School, 707 Vernier Road in Grosse Pointe Woods, where complimentary shuttle rides aboard the Grosse Pointe trolleys will be offered all day.

This year’s theme is “Design Revolutions.”

“One thing that’s unique is that our theme changes every year,” Pecar Lightbody said.

Based on the theme, she said, automotive designers come up with 20 to 25 categories and find vehicles “to tell our story” based on that theme, Pecar Lightbody said.

She said attendees will find vehicles from all periods of automotive history this year, as well as forward-looking concept vehicles.

“This year, the theme allows us to bring something from every era, along with things from the future,” Pecar Lightbody said.

This year’s categories include the 70th anniversary of the Corvette, The Dawn of the Pony Car and Italian Futurism, among others. Dozens of motorcycles from various periods will also be on view.

“Each year the EyesOn Design at Ford House is built around a different design-oriented theme,” Glen Durmisevich, head of judging, said in a prepared statement. “This makes each show unique. For 2023, the EyesOn Design theme is ‘Design Revolutions.’ The goal is to demonstrate many of the great car designs from the past, present, and future that have changed the look and feel of the next generation of automobile design.

“This is not intended to be an all-inclusive listing of revolutionary designs, but a sampling of some unique design solutions that lead the industry through time,” Durmisevich continued. “Although car design evolved due to many technological, engineering and manufacturing breakthroughs, these won’t be the focus but rather the reasons and enablers that allowed car design to change in the direction set forth by forward thinking design leaders.”

In keeping with the theme, this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Ralph Gilles, the chief design officer for Stellantis. Gilles will receive this award during a black tie-optional event at 6:30 p.m. June 16 at the Conner Center in Detroit; the cost of a ticket to the event is $225 per person.

EyesOn Design at Ford House offers its Private Eyes Brunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. June 18 to those who want to have a meal and mingle in a more intimate setting with the designers; the cost for the brunch is $95 for adults and $35 for children younger than 10, and a brunch ticket includes car show admission.

Other EyesOn Design events include a 75-mile EyesOn Design driving tour through southeastern Michigan that includes lunch at a surprise location, at a cost of $95 per person; and two design symposiums at $100 apiece that will feature unique vehicles — “Corvette Racing — Clandestined for Speed” from 9 to 11:30 a.m. June 17 at the General Motors Design Dome in Warren, and “Viper Design” from 1:30 to 4 p.m. June 17 at the Stellantis North America Design Center in Auburn Hills.

Each year, about 50 vehicles receive awards during EyesOn Design. Pecar Lightbody said, this year, the awards ceremony — which takes place around 1:30 p.m. — will be held near the Ford House entrance, making it easier to find. She said winning vehicles will be moved to this location during the show, so attendees will be able to see all the winners in one location.

The EyesOn Design car show and related events are fundraisers for the nonprofit Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, which is based in Grosse Pointe Park and provides programs and services for blind and visually impaired individuals in the region. The DIO is also the research arm of Henry Ford Health.

“The reason it’s so important is because the car show raises money for our work with the blind and visually impaired,” Hessburg said.

It’s also a critical fundraiser for the DIO’s biennial research congresses — The Eye and the Chip, about artificial vision, and The Eye, the Brain and the Auto — which take place on alternate years. This year, researchers from across the globe will converge on metro Detroit in October for The Eye and the Chip.

The congresses have been taking place for more than 20 years now. Bringing these diverse researchers together has enabled them to share their findings and collaborate, something that has led to important breakthroughs and findings.

“It’s really the world’s leading meeting on this subject,” Hessburg said of The Eye and the Chip. “It’s made a lot of progress.”

While he acknowledged much work still needs to be done, researchers have already implanted devices in some patients around the world that have given people who were completely blind some level of vision. It might not yet be anywhere close to that of a typically sighted person, but Hessburg said these devices enable users to detect general shapes and shadows so that they can navigate a room, for example, and not need a seeing eye dog or a cane to get around furniture.

“This car show is not just about cars — it’s about restoring sight to the blind,” said Hessburg, who has spent his career as an eye doctor.

The Ford House is located at 1100 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores. Tickets to the car show can be purchased at the gate for $35 per person, with free admission for children under age 10 and active-duty military service members with identification. All other events require advance ticket purchase and registration. For reservations or more information, visit or call (313) 824-4710.