Woodward Nights

The Woodward Dream Cruise from a few years ago. “The Loop,” Pontiac.

The largest driving car show on Earth is this weekend in metro Detroit, The Woodward Dream Cruise. The official cruise started in 1995 as a fundraiser in the spirit of young people cruising up and down the boulevard in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Take the movie American Graffiti and add a supercharger to it and you get the Woodward Dream Cruise. It’s estimated that over 40,000 classic cars and 1.5 million people attend the Woodward Dream Cruise. Yes, you read that right, 1.5 million people. The cruise started out with classic cars from before the oil embargo, but today you can see anything and everything in the world of cars.

            For those not familiar with Detroit’s geography, Woodward Avenue is a large road that goes from the heart of downtown Detroit, then heads northwest for 21 miles to the suburbs, looping back into itself in the city of Pontiac. Once out of downtown and midtown, Woodward avenue becomes a wide divided highway with turnaround lanes (Michigan lefts).  Most of the official event activities and action takes place out of the city starting in Ferndale (north of 8-mile road) and stretching to Pontiac. Bring a chair and watch all your favorite cars drive by or check them out in various parking lots along Woodward.   

            In years past, I have gone to Pontiac for the Dream Cruise. At the Phoenix Center parking lot in the center of Pontiac, there are booths, food and a lot of classic cars. At “The Loop,” as it’s called in Pontiac, the traffic is generally lighter, so cars can actually drive and do burnouts. Woodward becomes a parking lot in Royal Oak and Ferndale.  You can actually drive from Pontiac to downtown Birmingham (Maple / 15 mile), once you get there, it slows down. To be honest, I have never been in the city of Detroit on Dream Cruise day, so I don’t know what it’s like on Woodward. I would guess you will still see cruisers there.

            If you can’t make it to the cruise this Saturday, no worries, come back to Woodward Avenue next Friday or Saturday evening in the summer, weather permitting (May thru September) and see the modern American Graffiti. You will see a lot of new Corvettes, Mustangs, Chargers, Challengers, tuners, customs and motorcycles. This is what the cruise is based on. You will see plenty of people parked along the road watching the cars go by. The differences between these evenings is; on cruise day the classics are out in full force and are the majority of the traffic on Woodward and there are a lot of displays and tents set up.

            The best place to watch the cars is from Royal Oak (11 mile) and north to downtown Birmingham (Maple/ 15 mile). You can watch at other spots along Woodward, but this is where it is most concentrated.  If you are cruising, be warned, the cops in the area can be strict with cruising. And for spectators, businesses can be picky about parking, best bet is for a business that is closed or a side street.  The Dream Cruise is rolling Americana and a great place to see cars.

Here are pictures I took last Saturday:

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1 comment

  1. Peter, what great photos and interesting text. Congratulations!


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