Leland Chapter, Detroit

Leland Chapter, Detroit has over 40 active members.  The Chapter members are an eclectic group of automotive authors, journalists, historians, designers, engineers, marketers, enthusiasts and artists preserving, recording and presenting  automotive history. 

Chapter Contacts

Brian Baker, President    brianbaker.design@yahoo.com

Mary Elton, Secretary/Treasurer    eltonmary@provide.net


June 8, 2018:  Women in Design, a Conversation and Discussion

The EyesOn Design Lecture Series of the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology and the Leland Chapter, Detroit of the Society of Automotive Historians co-hosted a panel discussion featuring legendary designer MaryEllen Dohrs and author Constance Smith on Friday, June 8 in the Peacock Room of the Fisher Building in downtown Detroit.

Hosted by Leland Chapter President Brian Baker, and moderated by Elizabeth Wetzel, GM Director of Design User Experience, the forty attendees were treated to an exceptional ninety minute panel discussion, conversation and question & answer session.

MaryEllen was a member of Harley Earl’s GM Styling group in the early 1950’s.  Constance Smith is the author of the recently published book, Damsels in Design, which features MaryEllen among many other women designers of the era.

Congratulations to the Leland Chapter and EyesOn Design in partnering to support this exceptional event.  

To learn more about EyesOn Design, visit www.eyesondesign.org


June 17, 2017:  Meeting and Durant-Dort Factory One Tour

The  Leland Chapter, Detroit held a very successful gathering, building tour and business meeting at the Durant-Dort Factory One building in Flint, Michigan on Saturday, June 17, 2017.  Hosted by Factory One Operations Manager Kevin Kirbitz and his staff, over thirty Leland Chapter members and their guests were in attendance.   Kevin gave the group a tour of the renovated and re-purposed Durant-Dort Factory One building and the renovated Durant-Dort Offices building across the street, which houses extensive displays of artifacts and photos.  Greg Miller, Director of University Archives at Kettering University, gave a tour of the University archives now housed in the second story of the Factory One building.  These two buildings were the original facilities of what was later to become General Motors.  

Following lunch, organized by Leland Chapter Secretary/Treasurer Victoria Mobley, Kevin Kirbitz gave a presentation on the history of the immediate area and the Durant, Dort and GM presence in Flint.  A chapter business meeting followed, with the momentous occasion of long-serving Leland Chapter President John “Top Hat” Jendza III handing over the reins (or, tiller/steering wheel) to his successor Brian Baker.  Following the business meeting, ex-GM Designer Bill Porter entertained attendees with his reminisces of his career at GM. 

A special thanks to Victoria Mobley, Top Hat, Brian Baker, Kevin Kirbitz and Greg Miller for making this event a success.



Historical Society of Michigan


The Leland Chapter, Detroit is a member of the Historical Society of Michigan (HSM). Many of our members have been key note speakers at events for the HSM. We are listed in their on-line directory with a link to www.autohistory.org.


Jack C. Miller recipient of the 2015 SAH Friends of Automotive History