The Dream Cruise, now that’s romantic. A celebration of American automotive culture, the love of the road, and gas-guzzling, unapologetic steel, The Woodward Dream Cruise is impractical and grandiose. Traffic gets tied up throughout the Metro area, and ecological concerns are sloughed off for one day to steep in Detroit’s love of all things automotive. If the Auto Show plans the future financial stability of Detroit and its cars, the Dream Cruise revels in the mythos of their whirlwind courtship of bygone years.
So it’s surprising for some to learn that the Dream Cruise is a recent addition to the Metro Detroit calendar. This year’s celebration marks only its seventeenth anniversary. It wasn’t conceived of as a giant, yearly recommitment ceremony. When it started in 1995, the Woodward Dream Cruise was supposed to raise enough money to secure a local children’s soccer field. But the event’s popularity exploded. A 2007 study determined that the current economic yearly impact of the Cruise is now over $50 million, more than any other annual or one-time event in the Metro area. The reason? Avid interest.
Detroiters aren’t just hobbyists when it comes to cars. Some of our neighbors here actually designed these classic works of art. Some of them lovingly crafted them on the line. These people have a relationship with cars that few cities’ populations can ever hope to match. And they’re good at it! Looking at the hot rods, classic muscle cars, the gorgeous lines, the triumphs of engineering from Detroit’s prolific past, you see that something special was born here. In many ways, creating a vehicle from concept to car lot is a communal labor of love, one that has long since gotten under our skin in this city; one that won’t be forgotten and shouldn’t be minimized.
When that parade of classic cars files down Woodward this August, proud and slow, Detroit will once again celebrate its timeless romance. We have experienced growing pains and rebirths in the past, and with the passion and talent that remains here, there’s every reason to believe and hope that Detroit and the auto industry are going to create new classics well into the future. – Carolyn