Look at me, look at me! You’ll have to excuse this anxious driver. The post-War, German-made Isetta was not only a little, um, odd-looking, but it was one of the smallest cars on the road, then or now. Among its many unusual features was the front-opening door. This particular Isetta was outfitted with not only a high-performance engine for drag racing, but a wheelie bar in the back. Now that’s likely to get your attention!
Fantasy Ford. Dave Burnham and his friends from Toledo, Ohio, drove their hot rods up to the Dream Cruise this year. Dave's orange '32 Ford five-window caught our eye at a car show held at the Michigan State Fairgrounds, on Woodward Avenue. He has driven it 13,000 miles since he finished building it five years ago, and it still looks pristine. Nestled under the hood is a 350-cubic-inch Chevy crate motor.
V-6 'Vette? Um, okay, how about a 1976 Chevette stuffed to the gills with a V-6? The owners of this Frankenrod jammed the V-6 from a 1995 Camaro into this hapless car, and added a four-speed gearbox. They say it makes 247 hp and does the quarter-mile in 13.71 seconds.
1976 Corvette engine
|Rods rule. Along the Dream Cruise route, some blocks became havens for particular types of cars. Muscle cars gathered at Eleven Mile; Chrysler cars at the local farmer's market. These hot rods perched on Woodward in Birmingham, opened their hoods to the crowds (estimated at more than a million for the weekend), and enjoyed the spectacular weather.
|The RepliCord. Vic Johnson's Cord 810 isn't really a Cord -- it's a 4/5ths scale version built in the 1960s. "It's one of only two in Michigan," he says, and one of only 92 built. The body is made of vacuum-molded plastic thicker than an average issue of Details. The frame is unique, but the car's running gear -- its engine, transmission, and brakes -- are borrowed from various mid-Sixties Chrysler and GM cars.
Dream Cruise details
|The gods do live in the details. If you remember the cruising era, you'll remember the chrome, fins, hood ornaments and interior trim that made these cars special. Check out the finery evinced from these vehicles, in order from left to right: Ford Sunliner, Pontiac Safari, La Salle, and Chevrolet Corvette.
|Tag, you're it. What's the ultimate street rod without the perfect license plate? Some road warriors choose simple reminders to passers-by on the make and model; others, like our last two contestants, remind us that we need to keep an eye on the drivers.
mid evl plate
Fuzzy Logic. Would somebody explain why fuzzy dice became as much an icon of the ‘50s and ‘60s as poodle skirts, ducktails, and rock ‘n roll? Whatever the reason, there were probably more dice on display during the Dream Cruise than you’d fine on the Strip in Las Vegas. This particular set decorates a ’57 Bel Air convertible.