Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Woodward Dream Cruise

In an effort to raise money for a children’s soccer field, Nelson House and a handful of volunteers organized the first Woodward Dream Cruise in 1995. Intended as a one-time event that might draw as many as 30,000 spectators, the event was a huge success, attracting 250,000.

As a tribute to the car culture of the 1950s and 1960s  - when gas was cheap and young people spent summer evenings cruising up and down Woodward Avenue - metro Detroit’s main drag - the Cruise now attracts more than 1.5 million visitors from around the world. More than 40,000 muscle cars and street machines, not to mention collector and special-interest vehicles of all kinds, crowd Woodward for this celebration of the automobile, making it the world’s largest one-day vintage car event, although unofficial cruising and viewing starts weeks earlier.

Held on the third Saturday of August, the 12-hour Cruise celebrates the era of classic American cars though plenty of late model rides also take part. Beginning at Eight Mile Road, the cruise’s 16-mile loop takes in all of the suburbs along Woodward between Ferndale and Pontiac. The host communities stage free car shows, “oldies” music concerts and family events while much of Woodward is jammed bumper-to-bumper as curbside crowds watch for their favorites.

The event garners extensive coverage in the local media as well as nationally, shining a spotlight on Detroit and its major export – the automobile. In recent years, automakers that used to “unofficially” test their cars along Woodward in the 1960s have used cruise events like the Dream Cruise to showcase their latest vehicles – signaling the importance of these events and the audiences that they attract.



Poster for the 2005 Woodward Dream Cruise, 2005 - 2007.011.025

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