Story of the Week

Posted: 03.26.2012
An Inside Look At The 1946 Golden Jubilee Program
By: Robert Tate

The Detroit Automotive Golden Jubilee was a Detroit celebration in 1946, to highlight the auto industry and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American automobile. The Jubilee event was spread over 12 days, from May 29th through June 9th, 1946.

The symbol and logo for the Jubilee celebration was a rudimentary wheel overlaid by an atomic nucleus, while in profile showing Mr. Henry Ford's first car beside a contemporary vehicle in 1946. This Golden Jubilee logo was on display in Grand Circus Park for many spectators to see and enjoy.

The route of the Jubilee Parade began on Woodward Avenue at Grand Circus Park and proceeded south through the business district to Jefferson Avenue, where it turned left to continue a short way on E. Jefferson Avenue. Over 750,000 people attended the show in Detroit and it was reviewed as one of the best automotive shows in history. The Queen of the Jubilee pageant sat upon her royal parade float throne as she had waved to a crowd of admirers with her right hand and carried with her left hand a jeweled scepter. The Queen of the Jubilee float was sponsored by the J.L. Hudson Company, which had the honor of providing the queen's float for the Golden Jubilee event.

Many automotive floats were the highlight of the Golden Jubilee event. Not pictured is the Packard Motor Car Company’s float, which featured the first Packard car with words across the front that read "The First Packard” which was driving abreast the float, and a new 1946 model Packard Clipper was also featured with the float as well. The Packard Motor Car Company was founded in Detroit in 1903.

Another interesting float that is not pictured was the GM Buick motor divisions concept. It offered a 1946 Buick model along with a shining star in the General Motor's crown featuring a slogan that said, "When better cars are built, Buick will build them".

The Detroit Automotive Golden Jubilee program featured a great look at Detroit’s automotive history in a period of time when people were looking to put the war behind them. This program offered many pioneers and their contributions, which helped shape and start the auto industry in Detroit back in the early days of motoring. The Automotive Golden Jubilee program celebrated a sense of change with new ideas for the buying public. This program also featured many sponsors and manufacturers that helped promote and shape our auto industry back in 1946.

A inside look at the 1946 Golden Jubilee program is a rare opportunity for automotive history to be reviewed and a look at how the automotive world came to together from May 29th through June 9th, to show and celebrate with the world what the automotive industry was all about. Many people who participated in this event are no longer with us today, however their contributions and hard work will always be remembered.

A special thanks to Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher, for donating the story to the MotorCities Story of the Week program. Photographs courtesy of Bob Tate’s Personal Collection. Please do not use any photographs without the permission of MotorCities National Heritage Area. For further information contact Robert Tate at

If you have a story that you would like to donate to be featured as a MotorCities Story of the Week, email Lisa Ambriez at
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