Detroit’s Woodward Avenue is a tradition that started on Friday
and Saturday nights in the 1950s, when greaser teenagers smeared
Vitalis in their hair and cruised the drive-in restaurants from
Ferndale’s Totem Pole near Eight Mile Road all the way up to
Ted’s in Pontiac. A lengthy 32-mile loop (16 miles each way),
the goal was to meet other buddies, girlfriends and, above all,
to find out where the night’s parties were going to be located.
The tradition evolved into showing off your ride, and later into
the famous stoplight-to-stoplight drag races.
Image Source: Unknown
As the races
became more competitive, even the Big Four automakers got
involved (unofficially, of course) with some skunkworks-produced
high-performance muscle cars. The shenanigans got out of hand,
and each of the nine boroughs – Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield
Hills, Bloomfield Township, Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Pleasant
Ridge, Pontiac, and Royal Oak – cracked down and chased the kids
During the ensuing years Woodward Avenue became a haven for
seedy motels, basic strip malls, and crime. But in the 1990s, as
original cruisers approached middle age, they slowly returned to
Woodward to relive their youth.
During the years after the official Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise
began, the number of celebrating participants is edging toward
two million! Originally a one day event has grown to the weeks
and even months before with cruisers showing up
every weekend from June through August along
with spectators here and there with their chairs
and cars parked in local lots, showing off their
rolling artwork and meeting with friends to do
some bench racing.
More than 40,000 muscle cars, street
rods, customs, collectors, and special interest vehicles will
the nearly 80 square miles of mostly unfenced landscape and
filled the air with the smell of exhaust and the rumble of
Spectators with chairs and portable tents were set up on the
side of the road soaking up the sights of the annual parade,
challenging drivers to rev their engines or spin tires, all the
while filling the air with noxious exhaust fumes as the cars
slowly rolled past. People spent well more than $100 million
during the weekend, a number that seems to grow exponentially as
many of the now trendy businesses along the route experience
their highest single-day revenue of the year.
Planning to travel
to the Detroit area for the 2014 Woodward Dream
Cruise? We recommend
This years Cruise is Saturday, August 16,
2014. Visit our
facebook page for daly updates, parking
availability and chat with other cruisers.