Sep 11, 2010

Detroit's Woodward Dream Cruise

During the summer I see more and more shiny classic cars of the 50s and 60s on the roadway. When John and I were in Detroit, Michigan John was introduced to a Detroit phenomenon – the Woodward Dream Cruise. It included a ride along Woodward Ave in a classic car. What started as a fundraiser for a soccer field in 1995 has become America’s largest one-day automotive event. The annual event is held the third Saturday in August.

This year on August 21 more than 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars from around the world will recreate the 1950s and 1960s along Woodward. The Dream Cruise takes place along a 16-mile stretch of the legendary Woodward Avenue through eight host communities including Berkley, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Pontiac and Royal Oak.

In 1909 Detroit’s Woodward Avenue became the world’s first concrete highway in response to demands for smoother roads by bicyclists and early auto owners. Today, those yearning for the days of drive-ins, bobby socks, and wanting to create their own American Graffiti and Happy Days scenes will find it along Woodward Ave during the Dream Cruise. Hop in your classic car and cruise. There are no fees to drive in the Woodward Dream Cruise or to watch the cruise. Anyone can participate.

Today, just as it was then, the real attraction is the cars. There are hot rods and muscle cars and convertibles and hard tops along with those with oversized tires and custom-painted flames. These marvels of machinery are still “cool” street machines as they cruise along Woodward emanating vintage rock and roll from the AM radio coupled with the rumble of a big block V8.

GM, Ford and Chrysler—The Big Three—all have roots tied to Woodward Avenue. In the cruisin’ era legends grew as the Big Three tested their prototypes on Woodward including the popular the Pontiac’s GTO, Chrysler’s Hemi cars, and Ford’s Mustang. The tradition continues to this day including the latest versions of the Mustang GT, Chevy Camaro and Dodge Charger. They have all made their presence known at the Woodward Dream Cruise.

After the Dream Cruise visit the Henry Ford Museum, the nation’s largest indoor-outdoor history museum. According to the founder, Henry Ford, “I am collecting the history of our people as written into things their hands made and used....” See JFK’s presidential limousine, Lincoln’s rocker from Ford’s Theater, and Edison’s laboratory.

Adjacent to The Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village is a collection of nearly one hundred historical buildings in a village setting. Travel through the seven historic districts by train, Model T, horse pulled omnibus or on foot. Watch costumed interpreters conduct daily chores and craftsmen create their wares.

Learn where America’s love for the automobile started. The Ford Piquette Avenue plant is largely unchanged from its original 1904 appearance where the first 12,000 Tin Lizzies were built. Tour the River Rouge Plant and Dearborn Truck Plant, a working automobile factory, where Ford has built cars since the Model A.

Visit the Cotswolds-style Edsel and Eleanor Ford House beautifully situated on Lake St. Clair to learn about the family that contributed to the cultural growth of Detroit and the auto industry.

We were impressed by all the great attractions in the Motor City including the Motown Historical Museum, Detroit Institute of Art, and the Charles Wright Museum of African American History. For more information check or call 800-DETROIT.