Few things bring back memories like mentioning AutoWorld to anyone that lived around Flint and Mid-Michigan in the 1980s.

Those memories always spark good, and sad, conversations. We'll relive some of those memories in pictures and video.

AutoWorld Grand Opening Flint, MI
Credit: YouTube https://youtu.be/yJiR2biLTAQ?si=_DHMhC6H4qqcrdRH
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July 1984 AutoWorld opened in Flint, Michigan

Remember, it was a theme park. Built around Flint's automotive history with state-of-the-art exhibits abound.

You could see a real, working V-8 engine, walk "Saginaw Street" and buy things from shops.

AutoWorld Grand Opening Flint, MI
Credit: YouTube https://youtu.be/yJiR2biLTAQ?si=_DHMhC6H4qqcrdRH
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Even ride a historic carousel originally from a defunct Flint park -- entirely restored.

Former WJRT/ABC 12 reporters Karen Gatlin (then, Karen Owens-Gatlin) and Chuck Ferrell were live for a TV special -- walking viewers through the grand opening.

The interview with former Flint Mayor James Sharp was interesting, in hindsight.

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He touted how much of a draw AutoWorld would be for tourism... How the area would need to get used to heavy traffic because that meant success.

Maybe you dined with family at some of the restaurants at The Sawmill?  Sausage Works was popular.

The fudge shop was great, too. The "fancier" sit-down restaurant was The Bryant House.

An original IMAX theater at AutoWorld

IMAX theaters were just becoming a thing in the mid-1980s, and Flint had one. It was located in the old IMA Auditorium.

Life-long Flintstones might remember Exit 8A on I-475 was the AutoWorld Exit or "Stever Street" and "Broadway."  Now, that exit is Robert T Longway Blvd.

The end of AutoWorld in Flint, MI

Of course, SixFlags AutoWorld would close just a few months after opening. Then AutoWorld would re-open only on weekends.

It closed and reopened many times. There was even a proposal to make it a casino (which in hindsight, would have been a big draw).

AutoWorld closed permanently in 1994 and was imploded in early 1997.

Remembering the Grand Opening of AutoWorld in Flint, Michigan

A short-lived Six Flags theme park, AutoWorld was supposed to be a tourist destination in Flint. Sadly, after several starts and stops, AutoWorld was imploded in early 1997. The land is now owned by University of Michigan-Flint and is home to the William S White Building.

Gallery Credit: Nate Reed

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