The Automotive Heritage Awards and Foundation
This major awards program spanned five years under our direction. We declared an indefinite hiatus in 2022 while we seek sponsorship at an appropriate level.
Mission: To recognize, honor, and promote excellence within the automotive heritage community.
Lead Sponsors: Brembo and the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s
Supporters: Kiekert, Society of Automotive Historians, Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation, America’s Automotive Trust, LeMay – America’s Car Museum
The Awards: The Automotive Heritage Foundation Awards include the AHA Concept Vehicle of the Year, our Future Collectible Vehicle of the Year, ten categories in our Automotive Heritage Journalism Competition, and most important the Automotive Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award D’Orsay Creative and Shunpiker Productions.
The Event: The last Sunday in July in the Brembo media hospitality tent at the Concours d’Elegance of America on show day.
Continuing the tradition initiated by our friend and colleague Tom Kelley, who tragically passed a few years ago, we are presenting auto journalism and related awards at the Concours d’Elegance at St. John’s in July. The Automotive Heritage Awards are focused on “heritage” themes – automotive history, culture, and aesthetics.
Alex Buchan, renowned automotive fine art sculptor, will be producing some, if not all, of the trophies.
Chief judge is Brian Baker, Society of Automotive Historians.
We formed the Automotive Heritage Foundation to support the AHA and pursue other auto heritage-related projects. The IRS granted us 501(c)3 status in January of 2019. Projects we’re developing under the auspices of the foundation are: An automotive fine art competition; historic tours and road rallies; seminars; lectures; a new radio program; and the creation of an automotive heritage database.
© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, LLC
The Auto Channel – Senior Editor
As Detroit area senior editor for the Auto Channel, I continue to write occasional product reviews, usually in conjunction with a travel story or event coverage. You’ll find 15 years of weekly product reviews, features, and other stories I’ve written for TAC, many with a travel element. You’ll find me behind the wheels of a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a Kia Rio, an F-350 Super Duty Dually, or a Trabant Tramp. Just put my name and a few key words in the search box. Browse and enjoy!
A Shunpiker’s Journal Radio Program – Creator, Producer and Host
Originally launched in February of 2010, relaunched in 2014 and paused during the pandemic, A Shunpiker’s Journal is my monthly Web-based radio program for those to whom an automobile is more than transportation. Content encompasses those topics, people, places and automobiles that I encounter in my journalism activities. The program was originally part of the TalkLansing.net start-up network created and managed by long-time area newsman Walt Sorg. When that network failed (not my fault, I assure you) we transitioned to the Michigan Business Network, another Web-based entity created by one of Lansing’s leading businessmen, Chris Holman. We have interviewed many leaders of the auto industry and the collector car world like: Ralph Gilles, FCA design VP; Henny Hemmes, our regular European correspondent, A-list auto journalist and race driver from The Hague; Ken Lingenfelter, car collector, racer and speed equipment entrepreneur; Ed Lucas, the voice of many of the finest classic and collector car shows in the world; Bert Levy, prolific author and racer; Mark Gessler, president of the Historic Vehicle Register; Ed Welburn, former GM VP of Design; world renowned artist Tom Hale; David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research and auto industry pundit; and many, many more.
The Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s Automobile Fine Art Exhibit
I was only the second photographer ever invited to be one of the artists participating in this prestigious Concours event. The first was our friend and colleague Jim Haefner. The St. John’s show was one of the top Concours events in the country and has featured some of the best fine artists in the world for whom the automobile is a central theme, including members of the Automotive Fine Art Society. I had about 20 large framed pieces and as many dry mounted prints. Most of the images are of classic and collector car hood ornaments, similar to what I presented in the gallery space at the Automotive Hall of Fame and images I entered in the famous Art Prize competition in Grand Rapids.
National Motorists Association – Michigan Chapter Activist
The Michigan Chapter of the National Motorists Association has been one of the most active and consistent of that organization’s state chapters. For over 30 years I’ve acted as spokesman, member support contact and occasional lobbyist for the NMA- the single most significant player in the movement for more reasonable speed limits and watching over drivers’ rights issues. I organized two “Civil Obedience Drives,” protesting the National Maximum Speed Law and help keep the Michigan Chapter active.
Sirens of Chrome: The Motion Picture – Associate Producer
Margery Krevsky owns the premier talent agency providing models, or more accurately “product specialists,” to the auto industry for advertising, auto shows and events. Along with Detroit area author Maureen McDonald she produced a coffee-table book called Sirens of Chrome chronicling the history of the profession and the transition from models just being a beautiful woman in a gown drawing attention to a car to being a deeply knowledgeable representative for the vehicle . . . and being mighty good looking besides. Videographer Mark Ducker, Margery and I initiated a project to do a documentary film based on the book. Margery then enlisted John Lauri to take over as producer/director and take it in a different direction, making it into a docudrama. I stayed on as associate producer primarily helping with auto industry connections and occasionally consulting on script and other elements of the film. Expected release for this motion picture is “soon,” John’s been telling me for some time now. One of my hood ornament images appears in the book, by the way.
The Individual Communicators Network
The ICN is a network of freelance business communicators formed in 2001. I am one of the founding members. We at the ICN brought back the International Wheel Awards, a long-standing automotive journalism awards program that was originally part of the Detroit Press Club Foundation. I chaired that effort for the first years. The ICN also brought back the Michigan Excellence in Journalism Awards chaired by David Adrian. Along with other members of the ICN I helped bring the old Detroit Press Club back to life as well and served as president for the first few years. The Detroit Press Club has now become an entity under the ICN umbrella as it continues to searche for its new niche.