Re: The Woodward Dream Cruise is coming
BIRMINGHAM -- Perfect weather and gearhead eye candy for miles and
miles: This year's Woodward Dream Cruise was one of the biggest in
"We had fantastic weather and, even with the gas prices, it's a
testament to this event that it continues to grow," said Don Tanner,
executive director of the Woodward Dream Cruise.
As sunshine parted to a comfortable night Saturday, Royal Oak Police
estimated 1.2 million people had turned out for the cruise.
Routes and sidewalks that were jammed all day remained so, as if
crowds didn't want to abandon the fun. The unmistakably Motown sounds
of revving engines and squealing tires that began in the morning
continued as darkness fell.
As many as 40,000 classic and muscle cars hit the 16-mile stretch
from Ferndale to Pontiac. Police at several agencies reported no
"The parking lots are full and they're staying full," said Greg
Rassel, Royal Oak's representative on the board that coordinates the
cruise. "That either means a lot of people are coming and going or
people are having a good time and staying."
Gas may sell at $3.85. The auto industry may be in the dumps.
Michigan is mired in a recession. But mixing equal parts optimism,
nostalgia and true-blue, make-no-apologies love of American muscle,
the 14th annual Woodward Dream Cruise just kept packing 'em in.
"It's still the Motor City. It's our history," said Bart Kabot of
For the uninitiated or skeptical, this is what it's all about: Kabot
and Dawn Wishaw brought out their orange '70 Chevelle SS Model early.
All week, they made treks along the historic drag. After a few hours
on the road Saturday, they parked in a Birmingham lot, letting
admiring eyes check under the hood.
The crowds no doubt were bolstered by made-to-order weather.
Temperatures kissed 82 degrees and nary a cloud competed with the
cascade of classic cars.
"The weather's been perfect. I think that helps," said Michael
Kohler, a 58-year-old Trenton resident. "We can't say that about
Shanna Marcero and her husband, Keith, planted lawn chairs and their
yellow 1970 Torino GT on the west side of Woodward north of 11 Mile
before 9 a.m. The Chesterfield Township couple spent the rest of the
day watching the parade go by.
"The weather's beautiful -- you can't complain about that -- with the
breeze and everything," Shanna Marcero said.
Spectators were both sedentary and ambulatory in Birmingham.
Some were parked in folding chairs along the route, down for the
duration. "We're here and we're not going anywhere for the rest of
the day," said Mary McDonald, 54, of Clawson. "This spot's as good as
Others, often carrying a lawn chair under each arm, were in search of
greener, or perhaps shadier pastures.
Thirty dollars bought you a parking spot in a small weeded lot off
Bowers, and on the other side of Woodward, Chevelles, Corvettes and
even a Chrysler New Yorker -- about 15 feet long -- were lined up
with the hoods popped open to admiring eyes.
Bands played around at least three venues, and digital cameras got a
"It's already been good. We're having a great time," said Paul Mead
of Mississauga, Ont., who was part of a seven-classic-car caravan
that made the 340-mile trek Thursday from near Toronto.
"It's worth the ride," said Mead's traveling companion
Tony "Hollywood" Balestrin, 39, also of Mississauga.
Some folks opted for the northern end of the cruise route in Pontiac.
There, smaller crowds enjoyed the view of more spacious streets,
where cruisers had room to rev their engines and light up their tires.
Michael Postell of Pontiac took his 1955 Chevy Belair for a spin
north of Big Beaver before parking it along Woodward. He said the hot-
rod atmosphere is just as good at the Cruise's northern end.
"I love the older cars; it's the atmosphere," he said. "Ever since I
was a little kid, I've always been into cars."
The day began early, when about 100 cars started their engines in
unison in the early dawn sun just outside the GM World Headquarters
at the Renaissance Center. Then, one by one, they started their
steady drive up Woodward Avenue.
The rare spectacle is just one way GM is marking its 100th
anniversary of making cars.
"It's amazing," said Jeb Rand, 43, of Atlanta, Ga., who was driving
his 1927 Cadillac seven-passenger sedan closely behind GM CEO and
Chairman Rick Wagoner, who was leading the caravan in an E85 ethanol
powered Corvette Z06.
"I'm honored to be a part of this history," Rand said.
The history of Woodward and the Motor City leads John Chahwan of
Boston to call the Dream Cruise "the best car show there is."
For three years, Chahwan has made the 11-hour trek to his uncle's
home in Windsor for the Dream Cruise, most recently with his '70
Cutlass. Like many on the 16-mile drag, they don't plan to leave for
a long time.
"We'll be here until the last car leaves. We may be the last," said
uncle Gordon Purdy.