- Category: Michigan Rock & Roll Legends Hall of Fame
The fourteen-year partnership between the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Internet Hall of Fame and the Bay City Motor Company officially ended on September 30, 2019. Sadly, the company had become involved in an ongoing litigation that resulted in the closing of its operation at 1124 N. Water Street and the removal of the MRRL HOF display that had been housed there.
The first edition of the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Internet Hall of Fame website went online in late 2005. The next logical step was to set up some type of display that would not only publicize the site and honor the inductees, but also include some Michigan rock and roll memorabilia.
I had put up some framed photos and album covers on the wall of the LaRoz Room at Washington Lanes for the twice-yearly rock and roll trivia shows that I hosted there with Wayne Przybylski. This location was rejected as a permanent site because the room was rarely used outside of our shows and very few people would see the display as a result. The lack of security at the venue was another issue, so I began looking for a better prospect.
The Bay City Motor Company had opened at 1124 Water Street in 2005. The new business was born out of the ashes of the old Bay City Auto Company which had been established in 1904. That company had ran successfully in town until 1965 when it became Mitchell Cadillac.
In 1979, Mitchell Cadillac sold its franchise to another Bay City car dealer. When it closed, Mitchell Cadillac was both the oldest Cadillac dealership in the country and the last independent Cadillac distributorship in the world.
Back in 1972, daughter Ann Mitchell had wed David Cotten. Cotten's father had also been active in the auto industry, and had created the first retail finance loan for an automobile. Ann and David went on to partner and own successful import and domestic dealerships in both Florida and Missouri before returning to Bay City to bring the Bay City Auto Company back to life. The newly named Bay City Motor Company quickly became noted for not only for selling fine collector cars, but also for offering a wide variety of related services to customers world-wide.
Knowing that there was a historical and cultural connection between rock and roll and classic cars, I contacted Scott Cotten, son of Ann and David and one of the co-owners of the Bay City Motor Company, about putting up a MRRL Hall of Fame display in one of their showrooms.
Scott liked my proposal and felt that the MRRL display would be a nice addition to the decor of the building. He indicated that a large brick wall was available at the back of the front showroom could be used for the project. I had a sign made at Klender Design Inc. in Bay City; and the first part of the display containing inductee photos, classic album covers, and other Michigan rock and roll memorabilia went up on the wall in 2006.
The display eventually expanded onto two walls and became a popular attraction for car enthusiasts, rock and roll fans, and the general public. Several MRRL inductees and their families visited the display, and it was part of a story by a news team from the Ukraine who were in Bay City to do a segment on Madonna.
Although it ended on a sad note, the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Internet Hall of Fame enjoyed having its display housed in, what was once, an interesting and successful business; a company whose roots had historical significance to both Bay City and the auto industry as a whole.
The Ukraine news team with Dr. J. at the Bay City Motor Company.