By Melissa Keogh
South Australia’s proud car-making history will live on through an exhibition set to hang from the ceiling at the National Motor Museum in Birdwood.
The Adelaide Hills museum and the History Trust of SA has already begun preparing for the permanent exhibit to be unveiled at the Bay to Birdwood classic car rally in September.
Six cars are expected to be suspended from the ceiling in the museum, replicating assembly line stations from GM Holden’s Elizabeth plant which will close in October.
Each station will feature a vehicle at different stages of assembly through to a fully assembled car.
The final car in the display will be the ‘signature car’, signed by hundreds of recent and current Holden Elizabeth plant workers.
The social history of the state’s automotive manufacturing industry will also be on show through digital displays, while an app will be developed to support visitors’ experience.
An education program focused on science, technology, engineering, maths and social history outcomes will also be established.
“The (re)assembled exhibition gives the past a future now and its spectacular presentation assists us tell the all-important story of the people behind automotive manufacturing,” says National Motor Museum director Paul Rees.
“I am particularly pleased that the final car in the display is what’s called the ‘signature car’, which has been signed by hundreds of recent and current workers from the Elizabeth plant.”
The $600,000 project will include contributions from GM Holden, the National Motor Museum and in-kind construction support from northern Adelaide companies.
The State Government will contribute $110,000 towards the permanent display, while $20,000 will come from Arts South Australia.
GM Holden corporate affairs manager SA Sophie Milic says the display will be a tribute to the people, skills and engineering capabilities that contributed to the State’s car making industry.
“Our people are building the best cars we’ve ever built and this display will be a permanent reminder of the quality and care they have shown.”
Automotive Transformation Minister Kyam Maher says SA has a “very proud” history of car manufacturing and the museum would play an important role in documenting the story.
“For over 50 years, generations of South Australians have worked in the automotive industry, and we should be proud that we are one of only 13 countries who can build cars from scratch,” he says.
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