Automotive Research

Sloan Museum Archives is located inside the Sloan Museum of Discovery. Make a research request to get your automotive history questions answered!

The Sloan Museum Archives hold information on a large variety of vehicles produced in and around the Flint, Michigan area. We offer a variety of services for researchers.

Make A Research Request


For research inquiries, please contact the Archivist at Collections@SloanLongway.org or (810) 237-3421. Emails are encouraged.

Archival Holdings

Buick Motor Division
When Buick Motor Division relocated from Flint in 1999, Sloan Museum received a tremendous donation of materials. Sales literature, promotional photographs, production information, wholesale order forms, service and product description manuals, and early company history records were included. Employee information was not maintained.

Chevrolet Motor Division
The Chevrolet Collection primarily consists of sales literature and service manuals.

Durant Motors
Sloan Museum is proud to be home of Jeff Gillis' extensive Durant Motors Collection. As President and Founder of the Durant Family Registry, Mr. Gillis' passion for the company line led him to preserve photographs, parts lists, sales literature, articles, and even fabric samples for the Flint, Star, Mason, and Durant lines. Frontenac and DeVaux vehicles are also represented in the collection.

General Motors
While many makes now fall into the GM category, the General Motors portion of the Automotive Archive includes GMC literature and manuals, as well as literature which covers all of GM's vehicles for a particular model year.

For other companies or makes, please contact Collections staff for availability. Email Collections@SloanLongway.org.

Research Services

Wholesale Car Order Form Reproductions - We have Wholesale Car Order Forms for Buick models spanning from 1932 to 1986. Although these are not specific to an individual vehicle, these forms identify options and colors available for a model year. Please call to confirm that we have your Buick’s form available.

Photographs - Sloan Museum's collection of Buick Motor Division photographs spans nearly a century of the automaker's history. These images are primarily promotional photos of different models, but we also have interior and exterior factory shots. Please contact Collections staff to see what is available.

Sales Literature - We have a variety of sales literature for most Buick production years available for photocopying. For Chevrolet and Durant Motors materials, please contact Collections staff to see what is available.

Service Manuals - The automotive collection includes a variety of service manuals. Specific sections can be photocopied.

Buick VIN Documentation

1970, 1972-1976

Please allow 2-4 weeks to process VIN reports.

For information about a specific vehicle, we maintain Buick factory production records for 1970 and 1972 through 1976. This information comes from microfilm records donated by Buick Motor Division. For a complete list of VINs available, click hereVIN Documentation does not include owner history or window sticker reproductions.

Standard delivery: $75 for processing and delivery within 2-4 weeks
Expedited delivery: $90 for processing and delivery within 5 business days (dependent on staff availability)

Unavailability of staff for expedited delivery will automatically reduce the service to the standard delivery fee of $75 for delivery within 2-4 weeks. No reproduction or research fees will be applied to VIN documentation requests.

VIN reports feature the same information as found on Buick Motor Division's invoice forms. All reports list options, invoice amount, invoice date, color, trim, key codes, order number, and dealer number. A copy of the wholesale car order form is also included. Using the wholesale car order form, you are able to “decode” the options and accessories which came original to the vehicle as it was produced by the factory.

VIN Documentation Request Form

Sample VIN documentation

Research Fees

The Sloan Museum Archives is pleased to provide many services for researchers to help share knowledge of the automotive industry and the history of Flint and Genesee County. The museum may opt to waive reproduction fees at its discretion, excepting licensing fees put in place by MLive Media Group. VIN documentation fees may be reduced but not waived by the museum.

Research Services
The Archives will conduct research of its collections on behalf of researchers who are unable to physically access the Reading Room. A charge of $15 per half hour of research will be levied for research conducted by staff. The fee will only be levied in research being conducted, not the search for collections that researchers may need. This charge will not cover reproduction fees.

Reproduction Services
Reproduction is a necessary aspect of research. Various fees apply depending on researcher needs. Due to copyright restrictions, the museum is unable to photocopy or scan complete manuals or booklets. Researchers must also be aware that the museum generally does not own the copyrights of its holdings.

$0.20 per photocopy or scan
$0.50 per color photocopy
$10 for 50+ copies and $15 per half hour of staff time
$10 for scanned copies to be placed on a CD

Flint Journal Archives
The same reproduction fees apply for the Flint Journal Archives. Researchers are not required to contact MLive Media Group for licensing unless they intend to publish the reproductions. Please contact license@mlive.com or (616) 222-2903 to discuss the licensing with MLive.

Other Resources

Buick Heritage Alliance: Review digitized documents or purchase copies of Buick manuals, booklets, and more.

GM Heritage Center Archive: As the official repository for General Motors Corporation, the GM Heritage Center collection covers nearly every niche of the company's history. For GM history that isn't Flint-specific, please contact the Heritage Center at GMHC@gm.com

GM Heritage Center Vehicle Collection: According to the company, the GM North American Heritage Collection is made up of approximately 600 vehicles, including prototype and concept cars.

The Henry Ford Collection Database: An online database of the Collection and Archive of The Henry Ford Museum.

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