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The group behind a cross-country road trip that has kicked off the Detroit auto show for the last three years said Friday it plans to open an office in the Motor City later this year.

"We want to collaborate with others, so we are opening an office in (Detroit's) Cadillac Square later this year," David Madeira, vice chairman of America’s Automotive Trust, said Friday. "We want to center enthusiasts' activity around the automobile here in Detroit."

He made the remarks inside the lobby of Detroit's Cobo Center, where the North American International Auto Show is set to begin its media preview days Saturday.

"We hope to do a lot of collaborative things on the Woodward Dream Cruise and other things," he said. "So stay tuned."

He said the office will be small and its job will be to promote the trust's missions and work with automotive industry and help entities like the Dream Cruise and Center for Creative Studies to organize activities for car enthusiasts.

Based in Tacoma, Washington, the trust is a nonprofit that works to protect America’s automotive heritage and encourage the young to learn the knowledge and skills needed to preserve vintage, collectible and modern cars for the future.

The group is most known for its LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, a 165,000-square-foot repository of automotive history.

"If we could have built the museum here, we would have," Madeira said. "We want to bring the trust here. We're going to be here and try to create stuff."

The trust also has an arm, called the RPM Foundation, that encourages youth to launch careers in the auto industry. And it has an organization for automotive enthusiasts and collectors, the Club Auto, and a special club, known as the Concourse Club, for people who make charitable contributions to the trust.

Madeira made the announcement about a Detroit office after he and a small group from the trust had just finished its vintage car rally called "The Drive Home." 

Founded three years ago, "The Drive Home" is a winter road tour that ends in Detroit in time for the auto show.

This year's 10-day, 2,200-mile trek started on Jan. 3 in Boca Raton, Florida. The caravan featured several vintage cars, including a ’69 Chevy Camaro, a ’59 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, ’55 Chrysler C-300, a ’72 Chevy El Camino and a special edition Triumph Thruxton motorcycle. 

Some of the vehicles will be on display at Cobo Center during the auto show, Madeira said.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

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