US: the Detroit Woodward Dream cruise turned 20 image

The Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak, Michigan has been the setting of many automotive moments, starting with the 1960s development as “Ground Zero” for muscle car aficionados to today’s annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

While back in the day many Mustangs, Chevelles, GTOs and Corvettes drag raced under the cover of darkness, with the occasional executive, such as General Motors’ legend John DeLorean, showing up to test a prototype against its rivals, today the days of cruising are long gone. With a notable exception – the local club gathering that has grown to become (as many claim) the world’s single-largest automotive gathering. The officially sanctioned Saturday Cruise that took place during the weekend saw officials expecting between 40,000 to 60,000 hot rods, muscle cars, classics and collectibles. And the audience? In excess of 1 million people!

“It gets bigger and bigger every year,” says Bob Wissman, a fan since the 1960s.

“I always rode here when I was a kid,” also recalls Tim Cooley, of Clarkston, who exhibited his ’34 Ford 3-window coupe. “Now that I have something worth showing, it’s even more fun.”

The US phenomenon has grown to a global reputation, as Steve Pasteiner, who owns a car parts and collectibles shop along the route, stresses – he saw people from all over the world, including a French pair that came fully dressed as Texas cowboys or an Australian that spent $17,000 to have his car shipped in time for the cruise.

Photos courtesy of Len Katz