The Woodward Dream Cruise is hands down the coolest car event ever. This year marked my first visit to the world’s largest single-day car event and it will not be the last. We arrived in Detroit on Thursday, and after checking into the hotel and having some dinner, we decided to take the 15-minute drive to Woodward Ave. to get the lay of the land. Little did I know that starting in April, Woodward is loaded with locals cruising, and only gets more packed heading up to the fabled cruise event.
Thursday evening was not so packed that we couldn’t actually drive. There were sections of the road that slowed to a snails pace, and then it would open up and you had some full-tilt drag races going on. I partook in one such race, against a ’70 SS Chevelle, it was so much fun. We didn’t get much over 80, but it was amazing. Special Thanks to Chrysler for providing me with the 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8.
On Friday, things got a lot heavier. The traffic was thick with muscle cars, hot rods and classics. Woodward is a major artery to the small townships it runs through, so there is a lot of non-cruise traffic. You know that those non-cruisers were freaking out for getting caught in one of the 1.5-mile stretches where there are no intersections and it takes over an hour to travel a mile. The Challenger got decent gas mileage except in those gridlocked sections, it went down to 7 MPGs at one point.
One of my magazine editors told me “Woodward is insane”; he said, “If you sit in one spot long enough, you will see every type of car ever built”. It sounds crazy, but is very true. We saw Bugattis, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, ultra-rare classics, and even several vintage race cars. This is in addition to the tons of classics muscle cars like Chevelles, Buick GSs, Camaros, and Mustangs. The original Monkee Mobile and Ecto1 (from the Ghostbusters) cars were cruising Woodward too. Seriously, this place is just insane.
Being Mecca for most gearheads, Woodward Ave. is a legend, and from what I saw, it all has to be true. The people were incredible, the cars amazing and fun times were had by all. There were very few breakdowns and only 1 fight (that we know of). The cops even let us have some fun in Royal Oak with the exhibitions of speed and burnouts.
On Saturday, the cruise changed. There were fewer cars crusing in total, but the ratio of classics to daily driver cars changed. There seemed to be a few more daily driver cars out cruising than the classics. Most of the street machines were parked along the road. Understandably, since at several times the cruise was nothing but a parking lot. It took us an hour to travel 1/2-a-mile at one point.
What I like about the Woodward cruise is that this is an open public event. You don’t have to register and pay an entry fee. They don’t kick you out if they don’t like your car. Anybody can be a part of the event and have fun. This is what makes this event better than every other cruise in the country, that and it takes place on the most legendary strip of asphalt in the world. We saw kids in the back of an Avalanche sitting in a tarp filled with water for a makeshift pool (the “U tha man” kids), crazy cutsom cars, and a pair of cigar-smoking college students cruising in a Prius.
This year was host to around 1.5 million people, over 40,000 cars. My family and I spent three days in Detroit and are planning to spend a little more time next year. Hope to see you there.