Bloomfield Hills resident Tim McGrane grew up in southeast England and studied mechanical engineering in college. After college, he took a life-changing three-week vacation to California – and decided to move to Palm Springs. He initially worked in the hospitality field, and through new connections began a long term, successful career in the world of classic and collection cars.
McGrane's interesting career has included a variety of car, racing, and events management positions, including CEO of the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California, and executive director at Blackhawk Automotive Museum in Danville, California, where he oversaw management of their significant collection of rare, vintage, and classic automobiles.
Two years ago, McGrane moved to Michigan from Arizona with his wife to work as CEO of M1 Concourse, an 87-acre property in Pontiac which provides a vibrant place where automotive enthusiasts can keep, show, exercise and enjoy their vehicles with other likeminded enthusiasts.
Despite previous travel to the Detroit area, McGrane’s perspective has changed since he moved here. “The car culture here is significantly deeper and broader than I knew. It goes well beyond domestic cars and includes all manner of domestic and foreign cars, such as exotic cars.”
The M1 Concourse property is located along iconic Woodward Avenue, also known as Michigan highway M-1. For nearly 120 years, the property has been home to a series of auto manufacturing facilities from the Rapid Motor Company in 1905 to General Motors most recently. M1 Concourse continued the site’s automotive legacy when it opened in 2016.
M1 Concourse features 255 privately owned garages that overlook a 1.5-mile track. The garages are varied sizes and range from functional to luxurious. The property has an event center and Motorsports Club, and it regularly hosts signature events and shows. Current plans include construction of a Performance Center and X-Center, an experience center that will include simulators and other exciting features for automobile fans.
According to McGrane, M1 Concourse believes in being a good community partner and that includes being supportive of the local Pontiac community.
As part of the inaugural American Speed Festival Checkered Flag Ball last year, M1 Mobility raised funds to assist Pontiac residents with the identified need for transportation by purchasing several vans that provide transportation services to local seniors, children, and other residents. Additionally, discounted tickets to many M1 events are also available to Pontiac residents.
An ongoing popular community event hosted onsite is “Cars and Coffee,” held the first Saturday of each month. This morning event is open to the public and provides a way for owners of classic, collector or special interest cars to showcase their vehicles while sipping complimentary coffee.
“In the summer, we’ve had up to 1,400 cars show up. It’s a fun opportunity to reach out to the car community...Visiting the property gives you a very different experience,” McGrane says.
So far, McGrane is enjoying Michigan’s four seasons and the Motor City’s heritage as the global center of the automotive industry.
“There is a vibrancy here in business, food, and culture. People are as passionate about Detroit as any big city. There is a wonderful transformation happening in Detroit and Pontiac. Oakland County has been so supportive and is a wonderful place to live and work. It’s nice to be part of the transformation as a gateway property for the city of Pontiac. M1 is making progress carving an identity on the national calendar. It’s exciting.”
Story: Tracy Donohue
Photo: Laurie Tennent