Cruisin' Down Woodward
If you're a fan of classic cars, you'll love the Woodward Dream Cruise. It's 'American Graffiti' come to life on the streets of Detroit.
If fat-fendered cars make your "rockin' world go 'round," the Woodward Dream Cruise is your sort of party. The largest one-day automotive event on the planet, Woodward is all about real people driving real cars on a real road. It brings an estimated 1 million people and 40,000 cars to Detroit at the end of every August, and has become a "must" event for gearheads around the world. But it's especially important for those who live in Motor City, a proud community battered by the recession.
"It's classic Americana," says Car and Driver Editor-in-Chief Eddie Alterman. "Old-school family values — baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet." A Motown native, Alterman drove a Ram pickup down Woodward on Saturday. The vehicle was part of a Save the Manual — as in manual transmission — campaign. "Woodward is a celebration of what Detroit gave to the world: cars, especially muscle cars," Alterman says. "It gives locals the chance to take pride in their hard work and have some fun with family and friends."
Once a street-racing haven and always a cruising scene, the 19-mile stretch of Woodward Avenue where the famed rally is held runs through Detroit's suburbs and straight into the heart of American car culture.
The event began in 1995 when a group of car buffs, who had grown nostalgic for the hot-rod nights of the 1950s and '60s, decided to raise money to build a soccer field in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale. So they did what they knew best: They organized a cruising event on Woodward Avenue, their old stomping grounds. It was a rousing success, so the group decided to make it an annual happening.
Over the years, the cruise has grown to include every angle of the automotive hobby. Street rods, cruisers, racers, lowriders, military vehicles, antiques, Class 8 tractors — they all take part in this famed rally. But mainly it's red, white and blue, 4-speeds and twice pipes that the fans love to see. Spectators just love the thunder of eight big pots and a lumpy cam.
While it's impossible to capture the entire scope of this multimile event, here is a snapshot of the coolest cars from 2010. So hang an elbow out the window and cruise down memory lane.
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