Reporting Jeff Gilbert
Filed underAuto, Autos, Autos News, Business, Local, News, Radio.com - News, Syndicated Local, Syndication
ROYAL OAK, MI — (WWJ) Blue skies, spring like temperatures and low humidity are giving a boost to the Motor City’s biggest tribute to classic automobiles, the Woodward Dream Cruise.
“Celebrating the automotive industry, and all the fine works or art this city has brought to the world,” said Robert Bullock of Fraser.
VIDEO: Random shots while cruising Woodward.
Like many of the vehicles in the cruise, Bullock’s 66 Pontiac Grand Prix has a story behind it.
“Grandmother used to pick me up on weekends in it,” he said. “I’d sit in the passenger seat, and could barely see over the dash. I used to ride as a passenger, not being able to see out the windows out of it. I’ve always loved this car. It’s family owned and it will remain so.”
It took fifteen years to restore the vehicle. And even though Bullock says he’s not finished, he finally felt it was ready to cruise.
People started showing up before dawn, in an attempt to find a good place to park and watch the cruise.
“My cousin and I used to come out here at three in the morning,” said Alexandria Phelps of Southfield. “We decided not to come out until five. If we’d been about thirty minutes later, we wouldn’t have got the spot.”
Like most of the 1.5 million cruiser goers, Phelps was just watching. She does have a classic vehicle. But, it’s not in cruise-ready shape.
“I have a 53 Chevrolet Truck. It’s sitting in the back yard. It’s not moving.”
The issue, says Phelps, is the money needed to restore the vehicle.
“I keep saying I’m gonna just put it on a wrecker, and ride it up and down the street on the wrecker.”
Phelps was watching the cruise with her cousin, Jack Cartee, who’s visiting from Atlanta.
“In 2003, I came up the first time, and you guys turned the lights off.”
Despite the blackout, Cartee came back the following year, and has returned every year since, wishing that he’d held on to a few classic vehicles he once owned—before they were classics—including a 1968 Camaro and 1955 Chevy Convertible.
“I gave the 55 away to my cousin, because I couldn’t fix it.”
The Woodward Dream Cruise began in 1995, as a few enthusiasts decided it would be good to organize an event to honor classic cars. They were overwhelmed when 250 thousand people showed up.
The event has grown since then, and has become a major summer event in the Detroit area. Police estimate there will be at least forty thousand classic cars cruising Woodward.
Those who come to the cruise, like Norman Miller of Tipton, have their own individual reasons.
“Memories. Old times. Old cars. And pretty girls.”
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