FiatChrysler will repurpose its decommissioned Conner Ave. assembly plant to a mixed-use corporate facility that includes space to display its historic vehicle collection. The site, once home for final assembly of the Viper sportscar, eventually could be opened to the public (image: FCA).

Former FCA ‘Viper’ plant in Detroit to become multi-use facility

FiatChrysler announced in mid-March that its “sundowned” Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit will be converted to a new multi-use display and meeting space. The final assembly location for the now-discontinued Dodge/SRT Viper (production ended in August 2017) has been rechristened the FCA Conner Center and will feature space for displays, meetings and storage, including a home for nearly 400 historic Chrysler vehicles.

Previously, the company’s historic collection was housed in several locations, the chief site being the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in nearby Auburn Hills, which FCA closed to convert to office space in late 2016. The 77,000-sq ft open space in the new Conner Center will allow up to 85 vehicles on display at any given time. The collection includes such notable vehicles as the 1902 Rambler, the 1924 Chrysler Touring and the Chrysler Turbine Car.

“With a storied history of its own, the Conner Avenue facility is an ideal location to showcase the vehicles that have sustained the company for more than 92 years,” said Brandt Rosenbusch, Manager, Historical Services. “This move will allow us to house all of our collection under one roof and have the space to share that history with our employees.”

As part of the renovation to convert the plant to its new purpose, FCA gathered more than 1,800 memorabilia items from the plant’s Viper (and Prowler) past, and is auctioning them to benefit the United Way of Southeastern Michigan. The auction runs through April 13 (https://auction.unitedwaysem.org/), and includes items like signed hoods and even the actual Viper sign from the front of the plant. Winning bidders will be able to pick up many of the larger items directly at the Conner Center.

An additional 22,000 sq ft of the former plant is being converted to meeting space and the facility—originally built in 1966 as a Champion sparkplug factory—could open its doors to the public in the future. The new Conner Center is expected to be available for use by internal FCA groups and departments in the second quarter of 2018.

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