1923: The General Motors Proving Grounds

The GM Proving ground was established in Milford, MI in 1923.
The proving grounds were originally built on 1125 acres of land and seven miles of test roads.
The original Milford proving ground gas station and gatehouse.
By 1926 the original track loop was widened and concreted. The straight portions were 30 ft wide and curves or “supers” were 45 ft wide.
The gatehouse at the Proving Ground entrance from 1926-1956.
The “Bathtub.” Constructed in 1925, this was used to test how wet the driver would get in high waters.
The “Bathtub.” Constructed in 1925, this was used to test how wet the driver would get in high waters.
Gravel test hills at up to a 25% grade were used even early on to test durability and handling.
The “Bathtub.” Constructed in 1925, this was used to test how wet the driver would get in high waters.
  • 1,300 acres was acquired
  • A variety of surfaces including concrete, macadam, gravel and dirt
  • Only device in existence for instantly measuring wind velocity
In 1923, GM decided to establish a proving ground. It was to be the place where all types of cars were tested and compared, a place where independent tests could be conducted by resident engineers free from the problems of design and production.

Shops and garages were built to house and maintain hundreds of test cars. There were living quarters for the staff of resident and visiting engineers. A feature of the equipment at this station was the only device in existence for making instantaneous record of wind velocity.