August 23, 2017

Woodward Dream Cruise harks back to when Detroit was “Motor City” not “Murder City”

David MenziesMission Specialist

They arrived early Saturday morning with blankets, coolers and lawn chairs. Detroiters and others quickly grabbed the best spots along the 25km stretch of Woodward Avenue, the Motor City's eight-lane-wide main street. 

Despite the ungodly hour, it wasn’t long before every choice vantage point was claimed by an estimated 1.7 million spectators, anxious to see the mobile museum that is the Woodward Dream Cruise.

Its the world's largest one-day automotive event and is a must-see for anyone who loves the internal combustion engine.

Watch as I show you some of the sights and speak with attendees to ask:

What’s the appeal of sitting for hours under a blazing August sun amid the deafening roar of revving motors and the sickly-sweet scent of engine coolant tinged with burnt rubber?

In the final analysis, the Cruise harks back to the glorious pre-OPEC days of the American automobile industry, when design and swagger ruled the boulevards.

The Woodward Dream Cruise is a celebration of the Detroit of yesteryear; a Detroit before race riots and burnt-out city blocks; before the Hudson's Department Store was abandoned and torn down, before "Murder City" supplanted "Motor City" as Detroit's unofficial nickname.

While the event is steeped in candy-coated nostalgia, the Woodward Dream Cruise is really an annual remembrance day for a Detroit that once was, and never will be again.

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commented 2017-08-25 11:33:16 -0400
My Dad had a dark green metallic Chevy Super Sport with bucket seats. Ice cream (mint?) green naugahyde interior, lots of chrome on the exterior. Beautiful!
commented 2017-08-25 11:27:16 -0400
Yup, the municipal and city governments, unions on top of the economic environment is what took Detroit down. Definite similarities between Detroit, Ontario, Alberta and now BC. Kick already suffering areas when they are down, and kill them off with too many pockets to pad, and mouths to feed. It’s okay though. When a place is completely devastated, the big players go to work (Soso), Chinese investors can come in and ‘rebuild’, and many, many elites and politicians will make lots and lots of money. Only problem is you are sold out to foreign entities, you no longer own your house, town, city, province/state, or eventually, country…….and you will have no say.
commented 2017-08-25 00:20:30 -0400
One of the many factors for Detroit’s downfall was the GREED of the Liberal Local Government. As the Auto Industry had their factories in Detroit, the City Government thought they would pay endless Tax Increases.
I believe that Ford started the ball rolling and moved 30 miles away, and made a deal with a new Town to pay half the taxes. Of course the others followed suit leaving Detroit the slum that it is today.
Amazingly, that story reminds me of Premier Wynne and the destruction of Ontario, “The Engine of Canada”
Thanks Menzies, I enjoyed that History as I also lived across the lake. One of my saddest days as a preteen was my dad telling me that Studebaker just made its last car.
commented 2017-08-24 15:48:03 -0400
That’s awesome Terry. Glad to hear the spirit is still there. Still, when I see all that beautiful architecture in ruins it breaks my heart. That will never be brought back unfortunately, nor will those beautiful cars whose day has passed.
Tammie, thanks, it was no different from the loss of jobs in oil and gas, mining, forestry, fishing we are seeing now. It is a lifestyle for some people and if it is pulled out from under their feet they are devastated. It was an amazing time for manufacturing in the east U.S. and Canada (the Great Lakes States and Provinces).
Rebirth Terry, but Chinese investment is behind it.
commented 2017-08-24 09:36:08 -0400
David, your journalism on the Dream Cruise was good but you seem to have fallen into line with the MSM in pronouncing the demise of Detroit. Get out of your sanitized setting and spend a few hours visiting Motown to see the revival underway….. a much smaller city population,but one with a common purpose that goes far beyond survival. I’ll give them 20 years and this will be a destination for tourism, and commerce. Go Wings!
commented 2017-08-24 08:07:28 -0400
Liza Rosie, your uncle’s experience was very sad indeed. The family must have been consumed with worry when he just disappeared like that. Sorry to hear he wasn’t able to regain his footing.
commented 2017-08-24 01:57:36 -0400
Back when cars had some personality and style, and they didn’t all look the same. I cannot tell one make from the other now. I had an uncle who worked for GM in Detroit. When things fell apart there in the 70’s so did he. He walked away from his house and his car, got on a bus and we couldn;t locate him for months. He never regained his footing. The oil crisis in the late 70’s and Japanese cars put an end to that dream forever. My Dad had Chevy’s until he bought his first Japanese car, a Honda civic when they first came out. Ugly, No contest.
Yes De-troit City sure had class in those days Glenn Craig. I grew up across the lake from Buffalo. Strong Motown influence.
commented 2017-08-23 22:53:13 -0400
I done mouth to mouth resuscitation to a few of them in my past , it’s still in your blood even when you stop
commented 2017-08-23 20:20:10 -0400
There sure has been a lot of vintage cars around Spruce Grove lately. Last year I saw a 1959 Dodge custom royal, rag top. One of the rarest old cars out there.
commented 2017-08-23 19:22:31 -0400
That 72 Chevelle SS Was cherrrry! Sweetly tuned 454 with a paxton puffer on it – God’s way of punishing pony cars. ;-)
commented 2017-08-23 17:30:25 -0400
Thanks David. Looked like it was a great show! I love Car Shows, especially vintage North American vehicles. Works of art just not found anymore. A friend of mine refers to all the new cars as “belly button cars”. They “all look the same, and everyone has one”!
commented 2017-08-23 16:13:44 -0400
Detroit was a great music centre then as well with Chess Records on 2120 South Michigan Avenue and of course the “motown” wall of sound harmony chourus and brass sassy orchestras.
commented 2017-08-23 16:05:35 -0400
David Menzies, I enjoyed your report. Thanks.
Many of the classic cars built before I was born, are a sight to behold! The people who collect them are preserving history; and are having a great time doing it.