Classic Cars

In Photos: Cars with Kick-Ass Patina at Woodward Dream Cruise 2019

Rusty, raw, and ready to go.

Although the dictionary describes patina as “a green or brown film on the surface of bronze or similar metals, produced by oxidation over a long period,” we see it differently. Every August, during the annual Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise north of Detroit, we describe patina as an awesome finish for classic cars and trucks—and maybe even the people who appreciate them. Anyone who has worked on a car knows the paint job is painstaking and expensive. Some cars might not be worth it. In Michigan it’s not hard to find early-model vehicles where oxidation has robbed them of color and left them basking in bare metal, rust, or both. A good sealer can preserve that.

But rust takes its toll on a lot of Midwest vehicles, so one trend today is to take a vehicle with a body still in good shape and add a little faux patina using a chemical spray or maybe just a vinyl wrap depicting patina—which just seems wrong. The 2019 Woodward Dream Cruise is a great place to see and celebrate authentic patina, but don’t assume that the look evinces an unwillingness to spend money. Note the fifth-gen Ford F-series pickup with body panels in four different faded colors: It has tubbed bodywork and a pricey hydraulics system installed. You also have to love the presentation of some cars like the “pre-owned” 1940 Ford surf-mobile with the wire wheels, fireplace and iron bumperettes, and brass ducks poking out of the hood. Enjoy the gallery of the coolest cars with great patina from this year’s Woodward Dream Cruise jamboree.

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