For car lovers of every size, shape and description, it’s arguably the most wonderful time of the year. Technically, the Woodward Dream Cruise is held on a single Saturday, 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. Hang out long enough, though, and you’ll see everything from Rolls-Royces to, yes, a Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. A Rolls will be harder to find—you’re better off at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and other events during Monterey Car Week for that sort of thing—but if you want to drown in a sea of American muscle, Woodward is the place.
Model Ts cruise alongside classics with huge fins and bodies that go on for days. VW Microbuses 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 that points north from Detroit’s city center. There’s no end to the creativity either: for example, 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 (or probably more) when the 1.5-mile stretch 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 Mustang buyers’ mindsets. Ford also brings engineering mules of its latest cars—this year it was 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; we’d tell you to close your eyes and imagine the sounds, but that would make looking at them less fun, wouldn’t it?