Sixteen Miles and One Weekend of Fun
By Andy Bolig - December 19, 2013 10:00 AM
We met up with AE contributor Barry Kluczyk on Thursday and he chauffeured us around in his ’92 LS-2 powered Camaro. Thanks Barry!
Age knows no boundaries on Woodward for this event. Box-stock or built to rock, you’ll see it on the street.
We’re partial to Fairlanes and FoMoCo was well represented at this year’s event.
Weather cooperated and made for great top-down cruising in this ’56 Buick Roadmaster.
If you prefer coupes, this flattie-powered five-window would fit the bill nicely!
Woodward wouldn’t be the same without a few Goats grazing along the way.
This (’38 Pontiac?) Business Coupe surely meant business!
Cruising lasted well into the evening but don’t get caught on the wrong side of Woodward when the cops shut it down!
Saturday started out in Ferndale at Ford’s Mustang Alley, where Ford celebrated 50 years of Mustang production with over 800 pony cars in attendance.
Other notable cars included this set straight from the big screen. Ecto1, the Monkeemobile, the General Lee and Starsky and Hutch’s Grand Torino were all on hand.
Another recognizable ride was this winged-warrior. This ’69 Daytona was found in the Chrysler lot at 13-Mile and Woodward.
Many enthusiasts will stake their claim to the highly prized sidewalk adjacent to the cruising. This group had some of the best seating in the house.
Not all cars were cruising. Tom Gerdes’ 1939 Graham Sharknose Victoria was taking in the view from a grassy knoll.
If you decided to walk Woodward, be sure to stop in and see all the vendors’ wares, like the MotorBooksMobile has to offer.
Every square inch of parking lot or grassy area was fair game for an impromptu car show.
As such, don’t expect much free parking on Woodward and expect to walk a few blocks.
Or you could get a copy of the new Snake & Mongoo$e movie to take home.
We couldn’t resist getting our picture taken with this 1904 St. Louis Motor Carriage, now owned by the Timken Co.
Ron Sakowski and his mom were cruising in this ’36 Ford. It features a rare Pine’s Trim Kit that splashes the front end and hood with additional chrome.
Power-parking, Woodward style!
This golf cart had a mid-’50s theme but still looked fun on the street.
Chevrolet Performance showed their wares, both old and new at around the 13-Mile marker.
Various clubs staked claim to areas near the action. Cookouts, coolers and camaraderie were never far behind.
You don’t have to have gobs of torque to look cool cruising Woodward.
Many a tire had met its match on the asphalt of Woodward.
Some youngin’s were more impish, encouraging the cruisers into questionable practices, of which they were all too happy to oblige.
How many places can you down a burger in the shadow of an injected, supercharged, Hemi-powered, front-engine digger?
Once the oldest operating garage east of the Mississippi, the ambiance of the Vinsetta Garage exudes automotive nostalgia.
Not sure how many horsepower dad might have hiding behind those Foster Grants, but his girl is surely cruising the sidewalk in STYLE!
Eateries really get into the Woodward Dream Cruise, but the Vinsetta Garage beats ’em all.
Some of the cars even got tired!
The cars of Motown have cruised just about every avenue around the globe. For the rest, it’s like they never left.
Pick a car, ANY car that you would simply LOVE to cruise around in and chances are good you’ll see it at the Woodward Dream Cruise. The Woodward Dream Cruise is held every year on the third Saturday in August. This year was the 19th time that diehard enthusiasts have flocked to the famous thoroughfare that runs from downtown Detroit to The Loop in Pontiac, Michigan.
Officially starting at 8-Mile and running the entire 16-plus miles until it turns cruisers back south again from whence they’ve come in Pontiac, the Woodward Dream Cruise is undoubtedly the largest one-day event this side of the big bang. Granted, this one-day event actually takes place on a week-long stretch where you can notice the festivity starting to build for several weeknights precluding Saturday’s main event.
All brands of autos are welcome and while the ratio of import to domestic is obviously swayed to the more homegrown variety, you’ll find everything from box-stock examples to full-on race cars and customs that would make James Dean green with envy. Early estimates for this year’s event determine that 1.3 million people attended this single street in several Michigan cities to show their enthusiasm for the automobile. Age never plays a factor, as you’ll see everything from strollers to senior citizens joining in the fun with some of the latest offerings to the very first examples of self-propulsion.
Stuffing that many people into several miles of asphalt is a daunting task and the event holds the intersection with 13-Mile as the epicenter for the bulk of the festivities. Several miles north and south, down to Ferndale, where Ford assembled a massive array of Mustangs, was full of revelers and sun-washed enthusiasts that were simply there to honor the industry that made Detroit great. As you headed north of the center of congestion, traffic began to move at a faster clip and enthusiasts were able to use the tall, skinny pedal more often than their brake shoes.
Over 1,200 folks cruised the asphalt on Saturday morning in the Cruise In Shoes 5K event while others took a more leisurely pace and took in all the sights from streetside.
Walking streetside, you have the opportunity to stroll through the myriad of parking lot show-fields that spring up early in the morning and last until late into the evening. Businesses and homeowners for several blocks on each side of the street plan ahead for the event and we noticed no signs of malcontent throughout the entire event. Even the police force, while swelling greatly to help control the crowds, seemed rather unobtrusive, allowing for the responsible revelry to continue until late in the evening when they decided that enough was enough, shutting down traffic flowing over Woodward and encouraging everyone to get a good night’s rest.
The Woodward Dream Cruise is a once-a-year happening but thankfully, it doesn’t have to be a once-in-a-lifetime one. Next year’s event marks the 20th anniversary of this Motor City Celebration. If you’ve got some time to kill the third week of August and even a hint of blue-blooded American auto enthusiasm, make plans to attend. Plan to show up a few days early and you’ll be blessed with the ability to traverse the entire stretch of Woodward, enveloped in an array of classics and chrome that would make Henry Ford, Walter P. Chrysler or Billy Durant proud.
For Your Information:
Woodward Dream Cruise
Woodward Avenue: Cruising The Legendary Strip by Robert Genat is filled with stories from the people who cruised and raced Woodward in that wonderful era. Also featured are the clandestine (and not-so-clandestine) efforts by the factories to build cars that the Woodward crowd would buy and race.
Woodward Avenue includes everything that surrounded Woodward’s action, including Detroit’s legendary DJs who provided the cruiser’s musical soundtrack, the hangouts and drive-ins, the high performance new car dealerships that provided the cars, and the legendary speed shops that provided the hot rod parts.
If you are into muscle cars, great street racing stories, or just want to remember or learn how it was back in the day, Woodward Avenue: Cruising the Legendary Strip is a great trip down memory lane.