For car lovers of every size, shape and description, it is arguably the most wonderful time of the year.
Technically, the Woodward Dream Cruise is Saturday, August 24 but everyone knows the cars are out every night for days leading up to the main event. And they sneak back out after hours for some late-night burnouts.
Being the Motor City, the rumble of big V-8s, smell of gasoline, and Detroit nameplates predominate. Look long enough and you will see everything from a Rolls-Royce to a Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. The Rolls will be harder to find—our colleagues at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and other events during the Monterey Car Week have the definite edge spotting the high-end stuff. But if you want to drown in a sea of Dodge SRTs, Woodward is the place.
Model Ts cruise alongside classics with huge fins and bodies that go on for days. VW buses jostle with Broncos, early-model pickups, woody station wagons, Econoline vans, Firebirds, hot rods, K-cars, Kei-cars, Ferraris, and the occasional Smart car.
Then there are the wacky stalwarts like the upside-down and backward van with its spinning wheels facing the sky and a giant shopping cart on wheels. Some cruisers dress to match their cars; some transport stuffed animals. Anything goes on Woodward, the famed boulevard north of Detroit. There is no end to the creativity either. This year we spotted a Ford Ranchero that was turned into an Edsel Ranchero.
Car clubs stake out their own turf. Mustang Alley turns away participants after hitting the 1,000-car mark when the 1.5-mile alley hits maximum capacity; Roush Mustangs set up in their own area across the street. Ford sends Mustang execs, especially newbies, to walk the Alley and talk to owners to get to know the Mustang-buyer’s mind. Ford also brings engineering mules of the latest cars—this year it is the Shelby GT500—for people to crawl into.
Hundreds of Corvette owners formed their own parade earlier in the week to cruise and raise money to combat hunger. The GM corner of Woodward in Birmingham had long lines of people all day Saturday to get a look at the new mid-engine 2020 Corvette Stingray. About six miles south in Pleasant Ridge there was a display of old Broncos.
Click into our Woodward Dream Cruise photo gallery for just a sampling of the sights of Woodward; just looking at them you can imagine the sounds.