Car Lists

Our Favorite Cars and Moments from the 2015 Woodward Dream Cruise

The best bits of Michigan's annual rolling car show.

Late Saturday afternoon, as we took a final lap of Woodward Dream Cruise in a lime green McLaren 650S Spider before heading off to a party, a young man in a big SUV sitting high above us to the right, looked down on the supercar and exclaimed: “I don’t wanna move. It’s so beautiful.”

We could debate the brutal beauty of such a serious supercar all day long (aerodynamics and downforce dictate every line of this car), but the young man’s point is well taken. Most of the estimated 40,000 cars and trucks participating in this annual event are much more familiar and easy to acknowledge with a smile or thumbs-up – even the ones that are 50 or 60 years old — and they are predominantly American. The spectators lining up along Woodward from 9 Mile Road to Big Beaver Road egg on the Ford Mustangs and Pontiac GTOs and Plymouth Road Runners to “Do a burnout,” something a British car with launch control and all sorts of other nannies probably won’t allow. But the bottom line is that with this car, the driver becomes the story and not the story teller.

Todd Lassa drives the McLaren 650S Spider.

Along Woodward, companies like Penske and Roush treated their clients to tented viewing areas. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles built a drift track in a Kroger parking lot, to show off the Dodge Challenger and Viper. Across the street from that, Chevrolet displayed new and old performance cars. To the south, Ford set up Mustang Alley in Ferndale, and to the north, Buick and GMC showed off their wares at a Coney Island diner.

For the McLaren driver, it was easier to answer the chants of “rev it up!”, though that means pressing the button to shift into neutral before satisfying the crowd with high-strung 7,500-rpm Formula 1-like exhaust tones from the twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8. Questions from those spectators ranged from “What kind of McLaren is that?” to “That’s a Lamborghini, isn’t it?” to “May I take your photo?” Most didn’t ask the last question and just proceeded, and the McLaren driver becomes a prop behind the wheel of a car that a couple-hundred people have saved on their smartphones. — Todd Lassa

Ford’s Tonka-themed F-Series Super Duty dwarfs a yellow Ford Mustang convertible — Photo by Patrick M. Hoey

One of the great things about the Woodward Dream Cruise is the diversity of vehicles in attendance. Here, for instance, a modified Honda Civic sits alongside a beautiful classic Porsche. — Jake Holmes

Though filled with predominantly American iron, the Dream Cruise gives the Brits, especially, the Italians and Germans, and the Japanese automakers love, too. — TL

From the drag strip straight to Woodward Avenue, where the parachute hopefully won’t be necessary. — PH

The name of the game at the Dream Cruise is variety. It’s refreshing to see high-end exotica next to clean (or maybe not so clean) Amercian bruisers. — Conner Golden

The local Fiat/Alfa Romeo dealership paid tribute to its Italian roots with this collection of classic Alfa, Fiat, and Lancia models. — JH

Flames from the exhaust scorched the paint away, and now it looks even cooler. — PH

Marv Miller’s Shelby Cobra replica looks a little different than the ones you’re used to seeing. That’s because his was made by West Coast Inc., rather than the Factory Five or Superformance replicas that are more common. With some Ford Mustang chassis parts and a 460 cubic-inch Ford V-8, he says it’s a lot of fun to drive. And the trunk can apparently fit two sets of golf clubs. — JH

When not giving Woodward Dream Cruise taxi rides, one close relative at a time, I flipped between the McLaren and a 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Here’s a view of one roadster from another on Woodward Avenue, in the tony suburb of Birmingham. — TL

This rare Lexus LFA got its fair share of attention during the Cruise. –CG

A 2016 Cadillac ATS-V coupe mixes it up with classic Detroit iron. — PH

Chromed superchargers look good in any type of car. — PH

Note reflection of our green 650S.

In fact, you will not have the only McLaren on Woodward Avenue on Dream Cruise Saturday. — TL

I called this area “The Hall of Cobras.” The Cobra club took over the sidewalk right in the heart of Birmingham to create a gallery of Shelby’s finest. — CG

The Fisker Karma was AUTOMOBILE‘s 2012 Design of the Year. And then the company ran into serious trouble. But whether or not production restarts there are still a few examples of the plug-in hybrid rolling around. — PH

The surviving Detroit Three, represented by this Ford Mustang, 1954 Cadillac and Plymouth Road Runner, share a parking lot. — TL

Who needs four wheels? A Polaris Slingshot cruises Woodward. — PH

We never officially got this rare and supremely cool Lancia Delta HF on our shores when it was new, but thanks to the 25-year importation rule, these turbocharged terrors can roam freely on U.S. soil. –CG

Another perfect example of Woodward Dream Cruise’s cultural diversity is this garish gold Citroen 2CV; a French car driven by a Polish guy from Canada (PL stickers and Ontario plates). — TL

View near 14 Mile Road on Woodward shortly before the local constabulary tries to shut the Dream Cruise down at 9 p.m. — TL

For more of the coolest cars at the 2015 Woodward Dream Cruise, take a look at our photo gallery below.

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