In our original Cars On Roofs post, we mentioned a shop on Woodward Ave. in Ferndale, Michigan, Wetmore’s Complete Car Service, that has a car protruding from a second story tower. Though a full service auto repair shop, Wetmore’s is best known for their front end and alignment work, primarily because for the last 70 years or more, they’ve always had a car with wobbly front wheels sticking out of their building. Powered by an electric motor and pulleys the wheels oscillate as they spin. When I posted Cars On Roofs, I used some stock photos of the Wetmore’s building, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a car sticking out of a building is an ideal post for a 3D car site. The current car looks to be a ’63 or ’64 Chrysler Newport, replacing what appears to have been a ’53 Kaiser (though some say it looks like a ’49 Lincoln), which itself replaced a Packard that was there since the 1930s.
It was a Packard because Wetmore’s was originally built in the late 1920s to house a Packard dealership and I believe that there have been cars displayed in that tower since the building was new, though they may not have always had their front ends suspended over the sidewalk. Every historical photo that I can find of the building has a car up there. If you look at the tower, you will see what at first appear to be decorative round rosettes on each side of the tower. A closer look reveals that those rosettes are really actual vintage wooden spoke car wheels, complete with tires now decayed and housing families of birds. It’s a beautiful building with all sorts of neat architectural details and evokes an era when car dealers were not cookie cutter identical designs dictated by automakers’ sense of brand identity.