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2004 Woodward Dream Cruise, Part III


1948 DeSoto

1948 DeSoto

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The weather both cursed and blessed the past week’s Tenth Annual Woodward Dream Cruise. Officially, the Dream Cruise only happens all day the third Saturday of August.

Because it is still a spontaneous "people" event — despite numerous corporate sponsorships and hangers-on — the parade of mostly Golden Oldies cars really goes on unofficially every night all the preceding week.

So Friday night it rained, putting the damper on top-downs, and forcing the thousands of previewers under their umbrellas and tents along the 16 miles of
Woodward Avenue
. This year the Michigan State Fair, just south of Eight Mile within Detroit’s city limits, wisely opened a week early to anchor the bottom of the Cruise stretching all the way northwest to the loop of what for a long time was Wide Track Boulevard in Pontiac.

But Cruise Day dawned sunny and pleasantly cool, a real break for the thousands of vintage cars and hot-rodded engines which have a hard time avoiding overheating along the miles of parking lot that Woodward’s eight lanes become. Creeping must be hard, too, on the clutching left legs of drivers of the mostly stick-shift cars.

I live in an old Royal Oak neighborhood, Vinsetta Park, which stretches along the east side of Woodward for half a mile. When the subdivision was laid out around 1916, over what are now Woodward’s northbound lanes lay the double main tracks of the Grand Trunk Railroad, and double interurban rails ran through what is now the grassed-and-gardened median. Only what is now the southbound side was a roadway then for motorized and, yes, animal-powered vehicles.

Thus it’s fairly convenient for me to duck through the numerous neighborhoods Cruise parties and Cruise parkers to cover the event for TheCarConnection.

My assignment this year focused on motoring oddities. The trick is to capture them photographically because the one you want always seems to be three lanes away and clear shots are difficult with the constantly shifting traffic, even if merely snailing along.

2004 Dream Cruise Teddy Bears

2004 Dream Cruise Teddy Bears

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What the Dream Cruise brings out especially is an odd combination of true creativity with a wonderful sense of humor. An outstanding example of the latter was a '70s Dodge full-size passenger van covered with Teddy Bear dolls. I don’t know what the message was, but it sure looked cuddleable and the passel of kiddy passengers were sure enjoying themselves. In a similar funny vein was a '60s Cadillac Coupe de Ville covered with beer-bottle caps.

2004 Dream Cruise mini-Chevy

2004 Dream Cruise mini-Chevy

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Then there were the half dozen miniature mid-Fifties Fords and Chevys I saw, immaculately cut down to fit over golf cart chassis. Their license plates proclaimed, "Honey I Shrunk the Car."

Another category of oddities were those with Hollywood memories: a Batmobile, platform indiscernible across six lanes; a Back to the Future DeLorean, and several Blues Brothers Mopar black-and-white police cars complete with occupants in shades, fedoras and black suits. Probably unintentionally, for me there were some others with movie memories, for example, an original-appearing Humphrey Bogart Big Sleep '38 Plymouthbusiness coupe.


 
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