Let me be clear: I am not a car person, or gear head, or whatever car enthusiasts are called! That being said, I'm still a person who likes to be in the know. That's why I was so intrigued when I heard about the mysterious cars that were flooding the streets of downtown Sault Ste. Marie.

Have you heard about this?

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In a social media post the Michigan lifestyle Facebook page Yooper Pasty shared a bit of insight on the current happenings in Sault Ste. Marie saying,

Tonight in downtown Sault Ste. Marie, every parking space on more than one block of Portage Ave. was taken by new—even disguised—vehicles. They are in the eastern Upper Peninsula to use the nearby winter test tracks. Literally—how cool is that!

It's winter test time in the U.P.! But what does that mean?

Yooper Pasty via Facebook
Yooper Pasty via Facebook

Winter Test Season

Each year Michigan's automakers head Up North to use the test tracks in the eastern U.P. and Sault Ste. Marie area. I had no idea there were test tracks up there, did you?

The Smithers Winter Test Center is located 30 minutes outside of Sault Ste. Marie in Brimley, Michigan and, "features over 800 acres of snow, ice, and bare pavement courses and surfaces...ideal for testing vehicles of all sizes, from small cars to Class 8 trucks".

New model vehicles need to be tested each winter. What better place to do that than the snowy Upper Peninsula!

Sneak Peek

It seems the new models being tested are mostly electric vehicles-- everything from Hummers to Corvettes.

How can you spot a new test vehicle?

If you look closely the plates on these test vehicles reads "manufacturer" on the bottom. You'll also notice the unique patterns printed on the sides of the vehicles. This camouflage wrap is meant to conceal the body lines of the vehicle. As the website MotorBiscuit explains, "Naturally, our eyes will follow the patterns of the wraps instead of what’s actually beneath them." Top secret!

Final Thoughts on Testing

A window to a whole new world has just opened to me! Here's what others had to say about vehicle testing in Michigan:

  • "They do mileage loops around metro Detroit in nicer weather. It’s fairly common to see them driving around with that black and white camo stuff on them." - Patricia Hartman
  • "Used to see cars like that in Marquette every winter...they were much more covered though" - Sarah Chrysann
  • "Testing EVs in the cold....what better place then in the UP." - Ed Burdsall

Check Out These New Cars Currently Being Tested In The U.P.

It's winter test time! These new test cars were recently spotted in downtown Sault Ste. Marie.

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