By: Steve Legel
In case you haven’t heard … The Woodward Dream Cruise wrapped up it’s 17th year with a bang!
Woodward Dream Cruise is billed as the world’s largest one day rolling car show. The Cruise attracts over 40,000 (forty thousand, not a typo) special interest cars and an estimated 1 and ½ million spectators line the 16 mile stretch of Woodward Avenue to watch and participate in the show. The 8 local communities through which Woodward winds its way, host entertainment and family activities. Local stores and restaurants do a booming business and other businesses just shut down due to the commotion, but in turn rent their parking lots to clubs or host private parties. The Cruise and all the cars and all the people are followed on local TV broadcast. Hard core enthusiasts view the cruise both by driving the stretch of Woodward and by parking and just watching the cars go by.
I’ve been attending Woodward Dream Cruise for 12 years. This year’s “Woodward” advanced the observation that while the classic and special interest hobby is alive and well, it is also ‘graying’. I did not see any 20 somethings driving a 1962 Hemi Belvedere. However, auto enthusiasts of all ages were out in force. The argument can be made that Woodward should be reserved for classic cars. The contrary argument is that is it is a celebration of Detroit and all things automotive which includes daily drivers, and modern muscle.
As an owner of both a classic and retro Thunderbird and of both a classic (1970 RT/SE 440 Magnum) Challenger and a new 2008 limited edition Challenger SRT8, I can see both sides of the equation. Even though both my classics have been attentively restored and should run like they were new, the past automotive technology just does not compare to the creature comfort and reliability of contemporary cars. I am fortunate, I can ‘do’ Woodward both ways … I live here!
On that note, my good buddies Bill and Trish Pitt and I hosted nearly 50 new Challengers at the Beth El Church on Woodward at 13 1/2 mile road. Friends drove new generation Challengers from 13 states and Canada to join us. We held out over 3 days, and were visited by Scott Vandekercove (media specialist) and David Cottrell (SRT brand production manager) for tire kicking and shop talk.
This year, Bill arranged a parade lap on Woodward of the 37 or so Challengers that were out and ready on the sunny Saturday morning. Challengers of all colors received applause and thumbs up from spectators already perched in their lawn chairs along Woodward Avenue. My photos of the pack don’t quite do justice to the sight. I did not see a group of Mustangs or Camaros pull off the same feat, by the way.
Further south, on Woodward, the Michigan LX Club gathered strong participation. Chargers, Magnums and 300s filled a parking area, and attendees welcomed the shade from the canopy announcing their presence. They selected a great spot south of 12 mile road for easy access to cruising and room for picnic too. The LX group is a welcoming sort, and while the cars I saw there all had deep rich shines and some were modified for performance and appearance, this club would welcome any LX platform vehicle.
Bill and I host our gathering event every year, 2 years running. We welcome you to join us. You can email me (email@example.com) and if you are coming from out of town, we can give guidance for hotels and local directions.
Woodward, it’s where ya gotta be on the 3rd weekend in August.