Society Member: Al

alAl Trombetta is a self-proclaimed classic car enthusiast, Art Deco vintage collector, and a Detroit Area Art Deco Society board member. 

Al’s passion for cars began when he was a young boy living in Detroit. He recalls taking the bus from the Michigan State Fair hub down Woodward Avenue to the Detroit Historical Museum. “I always loved The Streets of Old Detroit exhibit and, being car crazy, I studied the automobiles on display,” he says. With such a deep adoration for cars, it’s no surprise that Al’s favorite thing about Detroit is the extensive automobile history. He loves that Detroit is the city that supported early automobile technology and helped it move forward. A fun, yet important, fact he often reminds people of is that in 1899, Oldsmobile had a plant near the Belle Isle Bridge – the first factory specifically designed for the manufacture of automobiles.  

During his 33 years living and working in Detroit, Al has always found unique ways to immerse himself in all things auto. Whether working on vintage cars or future cars, he said he loved every dayat work because it was all like a hobby. Now in retirement, he enjoys attending car shows and maintaining his personal collection of classic cars. He also decided to try something he’d never done before – organizing and managing a classic car show for a fundraiser – and learned many new things in the process. “I gathered 34 of the best cars – one car was valued at $10 million,” he says. “As you can imagine, it was difficult to obtain, but I did. I learned that being persistent and unafraid of going to the top to get what you want works.” The show was a huge success!  

When Al isn’t cruising around in one of his own classic cars or participating in a car event, he enjoys opportunities to talk about any of the many items in his Art Deco collection, especially some of his Chin’s and Detroit Tiki memorabilia. He can also be found frequenting his favorite Detroit restaurants (Mario’s El Barzon, or Buddy’s Pizza), reading one of his eight monthly car magazine subscriptions, and waiting for spring – the start of classic car season.