Decades ago, before urban sprawl, the largely rural Woodward Avenue was a place where young drivers could congregate, after hours, to grab a root beer and burger at any of a dozen “joints,” then cruise the night away in their new muscle cars and chromed-out hot rods.
These days, as Detroit’s main local artery, the Woodward corridor is crowded with commuters and shoppers, the same sort of routine traffic flow you’d find on urban roadways all over the country. For most of the year, anyway, But, come tomorrow morning, things will be a bit different.
Forward into the past! This weekend brings the return of the legendary Woodward Dream Cruise. Marking its 16th year, the Cruise celebrates the golden days of muscle cars, music and the seeming simplicity of a now long-gone era.
The photos accompanying this story are some of our favorites from over the years covering the Dream Cruise.
The event began almost by accident when, in 1995, a local car club decided to skip the usual static display of vehicles parked with their hoods open. Muscle cars are meant to be driven, they concluded, taking their event on the road – up and down a 16-mile stretch of Woodward Ave.
The idea quickly caught on, each year growing bigger and bigger, as more and more folks pulled the tarps off their classic muscle cars and hot rods and, on the third Saturday of each August, headed for the old cruise route.