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Every year around this time (August 20ish), the streets of Southeast Michigan are crowded with some of the most beautiful automobiles in the world. It’s time for the Woodward Dream Cruise.
The Dream Cruise isn’t that old. It started in the mid 1990s as a fundraiser to raise money for a soccer field. Today, it’s become the world’s largest one-day automotive event. Of course, the “event” lasts for about a week before and a week after the Saturday Cruise.
People come from all over the United States and around the world. Notably, past cruisers have come from as far away as New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and Europe. This year…well, who knows. As many as 1.5 million people flock to the area to car-watch. It’s so popular, local television stations air hours of nothing but Dream Cruise.
The route runs to Pontiac, MI on Woodward Avenue from Ferndale, MI. This is a distance of approximately seven miles. Let me tell you, that’s the most heavily congested seven miles in the country on Dream Cruise Saturday. For days before and after, there’s no telling what exotic, antique, or just plain FUN mode of transportation you will see in the area.
There will be Model T’s, Model A’s, muscle cars from the 60s and 70s (my personal favorites), home-builts, hotrods, rat-rods, motorcycles…This year (2011) it is estimated that more than 50,000 vehicles will have taken part in the festivities.
Among these are the gorgeous El Camino belonging to Pete Sanderlin (Vice President and General Manager of Kalitta Air). Pete graciously allowed me access to his car for these photos. He has participated in the Dream Cruise for the past several years.
In 2011, Chevrolet is celebrating its 100th birthday. They are the major sponsor of the Cruise this year. The kick-off was held with roughly 100 Chevy’s leading the parade. Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon (of NASCAR fame – and in the area for this weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway) waved green flags to send the cars on their way.
The start was unusual in that there was a roar of Chevy muscle (60s era Camaros and Corvettes), followed by an almost complete silence as 50 or so Chevy ‘Volts’ rolled their electrically-powered way along the route. Then came the rest of the Chevys. They were from all years, all makes, all models.
Corvettes to the Rescue: More than 400 Corvette owners among the Dream Cruisers were on a mission. They have come from all over the country and were jam packed with food. They dropped it off at the Open hands Food Pantry. The Pantry is operated by an Episcopal church.
This year, a freelance videographer/part-time radio host set up www.DreamRideLive.com. The plan – to live-stream the Woodward Dream Cruise. I’m going to check it out. Are you?
For more information on The Woodward Dream Cruise, check their website at:
Maybe you’ll put that on your Bucket List.
Most photos are from The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press except for Pete’s gorgeous El Camino. (You didn’t really think I was that good a photographer did you?)