Except for a few stragglers and hopelessly lost out of towners the 2015 Woodward Dream Cruise is now over. For those who don’t know what the Dream Cruise is, think of a million people, some arriving days before the big event and camping out, simply to snag a good spot to watch traffic go by. The big difference is, when we were kids in Queens, we’d watch traffic on Union Turnpike go by and attempt to hitch a ride to the bowling alley where we spent most of the night away from the lanes and in the bar where bartender Jimmy gave us free salami, crackers and cheese and the occasional drink.
The Woodward Dream Cruise started 20 years ago as a fundraising event in Ferndale..just over the borderline with Detroit. It’s become a very big deal where auto enthusiasts, collectors and the occasional Uber driver relive the glory days of cruising historic Woodward Avenue by doing so.
I thought it was especially appropriate that one group of spectators set up a table loaded down with coffee dispensers in front of the local urology clinic. Yup…cars, caffeine and kidneys. Has there been a more perfect combination?
My company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has a lot of fun with it and set up a giant area called Dodge Rock City, where attendees can get thrill rides that dislodge recent meals, win prizes, hear some music and most of all, see some very cool classic and current vehicles.
I never owned a real classic car. I did own a 1974 Chevy Vega. Many years later, while on assignment for The Detroit News, I visited the Lordstown, Ohio plant that built the Vega. When I told one of the veteran line workers I had owned a Vega, he said, “on behalf of the men and women here at Lordstown Assembly, we sincerely apologize.” Accepted. Not surprisingly there were no Vegas plying down Woodward..mainly because, as they say in reports of especially serious disasters, “there were no survivors.”
Guess you can tell, I’m not what you would call a “car guy.” I don’t have gasoline in my veins, although I once drank a bottle of Jolt Cola. I do enjoy driving and riding in a fine vehicle, especially if the cupholders are grippy and the radio works well.
That reminds me of my very first car. It was a used 1962 Pontiac Tempest. Had two doors, one of which worked. The other one stuck, except when I was cruising Union Turnpike with my friends and as I took a corner a little too fast, the chunky guy in the passenger seat leaning a little too hard on the door and dislodged it. We all got a pretty good laugh as Bubba hung on for dear life, but such were the joys of cruising.