More like ‘Nightmare cruise’

typed for your pleasure on 17 August 2007, at 2.26 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Ashes to ashes’ by David Bowie

Apart from the heat and humidity, there’s one more really good reason why I despise August: the fucking Woodward Dream Cruise. Ugh.
Since it’s that time of year again, I will now trot out the post I wrote back in 2005, concerning this seasonal atrocity. As SafeTinspector says, if you haven’t read it before, it’s new to you.

Jeeves, fetch me my rocket launcher

The Woodward Dream cruise, if you’re lucky enough to not be familiar with it, is basically an excuse for all the gearheads and nostalgia freaks in the state (as well as a couple from neighbouring states) to cruise up and down Woodward, which is the main drag of the Tri-county area, as well as the dividing line between the west side and the east side. It’s ostensibly a sad reenactment of the ‘good ol’ days’ of the Fifties and Sixties, when Detroit had both a functioning auto industry and places worth visiting, and young people would drive aimlessly up and down Woodward in their oversized automobiles. Now, once a year for the past.. however many years.. all those individuals who grew up during those years that have reconditioned ‘classic’ cars spend an entire week-end, driving aimlessly up and down Woodward, slowing traffic down, and being a general nuisance.


Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

On Summer on June 8th, 2008

Operation: Mapleleaf (2005 edition) on October 24th, 2005

20 have spoken to “More like ‘Nightmare cruise’”

  1. barstowmama writes:

    Where I live Davecat it’s the “Route 66” car rally/ride and picnic during September ever since the first grease monkey rolled his “Luckies” in his shirt sleeve. People coming from all over the U.S. and Canada, make the ride using Nat King Cole’s famous song as a road map, and descending upon Southern CA like the plague. (Some of the cars are absolutely awesome though.) “Lowriders” with flames coming out of the back are my personal favorite. It is a nuisance however, but luckily it’s only for one weekend a year.

    Love those Mini’s you have in the pic!

  2. Mahtek writes:

    The Dream Cruise is a once a year event that everyone looks forward to except those that live near it.

    This is it’s thirteenth year. And as a gearhead/mechanic I have yet to attend. This year will be no exception. The old cars are few and far between, The twenty-something dweebs in their brand new Chevy Cobalts will predominate.

    “We want to be part of history!” Wait 30 years, and your new car will be. Otherwise, suicide is the fastest way to history.

    I realy don’t have to go to see all the great cars. I live on 8 mile, and I see these cars all week leading up to the cruise, Today I saw an awesome convertible Lincon, in the turnaround, with the hood up, and an owner experiencing heavy bummage. Sensative soul that I am, I drove by pointing and laughing.

    Nostalgia is killing this city. It’s time to cast off the yolk of the past and move into the future. Life is more than just cars.

  3. Davecat writes:

    Mahtek –
    It’s been 13 years of the Dream Cruise? I’ve lived in the Tri-county area all my life; how could I have not noticed it all those years?? Seriously, I don’t think I noticed it at all until maybe 2001 or so! Guess I was just lucky…

    Now you know me, I love my (particular strain of) nostalgia, but you’re right, it’s severely hampering Detroit. Anything car-based is held in high praise, and if it’s a classic car, it’s up on a gilded pedestal. It’s the Motor Fuckin’ City, maaaan!! Well, guess what, Motor City? The heydays of our auto industry are long gone, and we desperately need to concentrate on something else, before the city collapses in on itself in a black hole of debt. O wait — too late for that.

    It’s a 50/50 shot. The Dream Cruise brings in tourists and gawkers who spend money on shoddily-designed t-shirts and other ephemera, but it shoos away locals to the area who don’t want to spend 40 minutes driving three miles (which is what happened to a person I spoke with today). Only thing is with that aforementioned 50/50 shot, the people that spend money usually don’t stay after the Cruise is overwith…

    barstowmama –
    I wish I could say that I took that pic! Actually, I have a few pics from the Battle of the Brits shows that I attended, but I was in a hurry when slapping this post together before having to drive to my toil in the Phone Mines for the eve…

    ‘Get your kicks on Route 66,’ etc. I assume that most of the picnickers are hanging around the populated areas of Route 66? I’d like to know how populated those sections are, compared to Woodward…

    My concessions to kustom kar kulture? The art of Coop, and the concept of metal flake. I love that stuff. 🙂

  4. Miss Hyde writes:

    ZOMG. How much fucking pulloution must people be pumping into the atmosphere doing that pointless drive? Why hasn’t the govenment done anything to stop this! Really why don’t people make cardboard cars and walk it! I’m sure that would reduce the amount of overwaight americans too so its killing two birds with one stone. *gets off soap-box*

  5. Mahtek writes:

    Miss Hyde

    I have a coworker who lives 3 blocks from Woodard Ave. For the last week they’ve been able to smell the exhaust. “Let’s all take the kids to the Dream Cruise for some fresh air and sunshine!”


    I do love cars. If I wasn’t spending so much on Realdolls I would probably have a old ‘vette, or maybe build one of those awesome kit cars. And it would be metalflake, very cool metalflake. As you know, I make my living in auto paints. You should see some of the great colors that I’ve worked on. The best one’s never see the light of day. Anything that is more than a baby step from last year is deemed “risky”, as if bold new styling and colors will send buyers running in terror screaming “It’s not stodgy!!!”. :))

    Motor City? That’s Tokyo, I thought we were talking about Detroit?

  6. Davecat writes:

    Miss Hyde –
    Funny that you point that out: Back in Michigan, we used to have something Mahtek will remember fondly, called the AET (Auto Exhaust Testing). Basically once a year, drivers would have to take their car in to see if it passed the test of being within certain emission standards, and if not, then either a fine was levied, or you just wouldn’t be able to renew your driver’s licence until your vehicle passed, or both, I can’t remember.
    The programme ran for only ten years. What does that say, exactly?

    Mahtek –
    Wouldn’t it be ace if you could select the colour that you wanted — any colour — for your brand-new vehicle? It’d be just another option, like automatic or manual. Probably wouldn’t be cost-effective, sadly…

  7. Mahtek writes:


    Do you remember the outrage when brand new cars failed to pass? It went away due to the fact that it was basicly ineffective in reducing emissions. If your car didn’t pass, you had to pay no more than $60 for a basic tune up. After that, emissions bedamned, you got your license plates.

    Have you ever seen a sales brochure for a car from the early ’70s? Thirty or more colors to choose from! Now, 8 or 9 is the max. With Black, White, Yellow, Red, Silver, Dark Metallic Blue and Dark Metallic Red occupying guaranteed positions in the line up. That leaves just two spots for maybe a brown or green or whatever. The paint used now has a 30 day shelf life, and it’s the most expensive component of the vehicle. The paint shop alone is 1/3 of the cost of the whole assembly plant.

  8. SafeTinspector writes:

    DC: The AET was flawed because it trusted your average local grease-monkey to be honest. An extra twenty would pass even the stinkiest sad-sack with flying colors. So, like always, the flawed program was canceled instead of fixed. A fix would’ve been to have Michigan State operated testing centers, but no. Throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    I also posted about this atrocity. Did you know that, according to the official numbers, there is 1.7 million attendees and 40,000 cars involved? Shit! Detroit city doesn’t even have 1 million residents!

    Mahtek: ZipGun (frequent commentor on this blog) lives a few blocks off of Woodward and he left town for the weekend.
    As for paints, there were about twenty available for my Ford Focus when I picked it out last year. ‘Course the BRAINIACS at Ford are discontinuing the hatch-back Focus next year. I guess I’m driving my last Ford….

  9. Mahtek writes:


    I just checked the brochure from when I bought my Ranger. 11 color choises. I based my number on the GM plants that I’ve worked with. Still, the number of colors available now are far less than in the past. And what about interior colors? Tan or grey, unless you’re spending top dolor on a premium vehicle.

    Yes, I too know people who live in the Woodward area who leave town for the weekend.

  10. Miss Hyde writes:

    I dunno what it is about me and pollution. I guess its because i’m young, i once layed down in front of a paraid of cars in protest. Mahtek- fresh air, oh the irony! I love it! Davecat- that sounds like a good thing to me! Shame it only ran for 10 years, although i see why… Also, one of my fondest memorys is helping my mum pick out the colour of her new car, you could

  11. Miss Hyde writes:

    (no idea where the rest of that post went!) …any colour you wanted! Even pink! *sorry about the terrible gramm-er i’m on my phone internet in a pub :)*

  12. SafeTinspector writes:

    Mahtek: Yes, the interior is tan or gray. Oh, and tan or gray “leather”. So that’s four, right?
    Color choices might be coming back because of the new powder paint methods, but interiors are probably going to only be one or two colors forever due to the expense of running the lines for those parts multiple times.

  13. Lucy Dee writes:

    Hey, DaveCat! This is my first at your blog and I’m having a blast! I love the layout and design. Me thinks I’m jealous. Perhaps I should switch to WordPress.

    I’m a standup comedienne blogging her way to stardom in NYC. Feel free to stop by and give a shout!

    Nice coming across your blog! I’ll have to make a point to revisit soon.

  14. ray rentell writes:

    Classic cars you say…

    Cannot quite figure out if your for against the use of them, what would you do with your Vette Mahtek if you had it?

    My old cars are used for everything other than work where I have a modern van…. Japanese of course.

    Well on the pollution stakes more of the filthy stuff is made in the manufacture so in using an old car well maintained ,serviced and cared for you are actually producing less pollution.

    For my car seven different colours where available and this was for a relatively cheap car plus you had a choice four seat colours.
    Not bad for 1965 when black was still a very popular shade of cellulose.

    Your spoilt for choices now. As Henry said “Any colour you like as long as its black” back then.

    One of the nice things about the Citroen DS that I also drive was that the colours where much more vibrant , shades like primrose yellow, even pink, baby blue and deep green.
    Ever day cars now are so bland with the exception of a few, ones like Smart cars.

    Maybe it was because it was a time of change, the baby boomer’s wanted bright hope instead memory’s of an appalling war black or camouflage.

    Anyway a change must and will come soon enough, we will run out of oil.
    Lets hope it runs out before the planet chokes.

  15. Zip Gun writes:

    I shot my bolt about my Dream Cruise Hate over at SafeT’s blog, so I won’t further go into that. It at least provides an excuse to leave town. As for cars, my ideal car would drive me. It would be like public transport, minus the public. Because frankly, who the hell wants to spend a lot of time driving? I have better things to do…

  16. Davecat writes:

    Le Gun du Zip –
    ‘In Soviet Russia, car drives YOU!’ Now that that’s out of the way…
    Public transport? In Michigan? Sir, you are clearly a madman, as your brain is quite addled…

    Remember that article you’d sent me about the public electric cars? That would be a hell of an idea, if the auto and oil consortiums would actually play ball.

    Rent –
    You actually drive a Citroën on a regular basis? Nice! I assume it’s the one you took a photo of on your blog? Hopefully you don’t have to sink a lot of money into parts and maintenance…

    Lucy Dee –
    Thanks for commenting! We’d love to see more of you round here. And I don’t just say that to everyone!*

    ‘Shouting etc etc’ was actually started on Blogger; one of the reasons I switched over to WordPress is that technically, anything you make on a Blogger site can be claimed at any time as property of Blogger, so I wasn’t having that. Plus, before Blogger Beta, the servers would often fall apart like a cheap suit in a rainstorm, so those were two valid reasons…

    *note: says that to everyone

    I never really considered your point about the non-regulated testing areas for the AET.
    ‘Hey Clem, I think this $100 says my car’s good to go, what d’ya say?’
    ‘I reckon your car done passed the test, sir, now and forever. Happy motoring!’ *discretely pockets Benjamin*

    And Ford is stopping production on the hatchback Focus? Shit. Leave it to them to muck about with a good thing. I would at least hope they’ll still make the SVTs for racing…

    Mahtek –
    ‘The paint shop alone is 1/3 of the cost of the whole assembly plant.’
    Damn. I had no idea. No wonder consumers get buggered with auto prices. Obviously that’s not the only reason, but that sure ain’t helping. 😐

  17. Mahtek writes:

    Ray Rentell,

    I love old cars! If I had a ‘vette it would be one finely tuned, screaming machine and I would drive it all summer long. My problem with the Dream Cruise is that it’s not just classic and custom cars. Anyone with plates on a jalopy can and do join in, turning one end of town into a parking lot for a week or more. This leaves residents like Zip Gun unable to commute in their own neighborhood. I’m all for freedom and inclusiveness, but this needs to be done in a way that doesn’t distrupt the lives of the people who live there. This is Michigan. We have scores of car shows each year where people can show off and admire each other’s cars. This is overkill.


    The huge cost of the paint shop is due to the robotics, state of the art air purifying systems(Thou shall minimize pollution), and the collosal ovens needed to apply and bake 4 layers of coatings on multiple car bodies at a time. Remember when cars would start rusting through in a year or two if you didn’t pay for aftermarket rustproofing? Now cars can go a decade or more before they start to fall apart.

  18. SafeTinspector writes:

    No, Davecat, even that will provide us with no solace, for there hasn’t been an SVT Focus for several years.

    How can a modern car company exist without a hatchback model in the stable?

  19. Retro writes:

    Who doesn’t love classic cars? Seems everybody does and hollywood has jumped on the bandwagon too. You see them in just about every movie and TV show now.

  20. Davecat writes:

    Yeah, but those of us who live on, near, or have to in some way cross, Woodward, on the days of the Dream cruise, aren’t living in a movie or a television show. If that were the case, I probably would have a butler named Jeeves, and he actually would give me my rocket launcher when I requested it. There would be a constant rain of classic car parts from here to kingdom come, and my subsequent laughter would be dubbed by Brian Blessed.

    Classic cars are okay — as noted, I prefer the Euro-made ones over your Chevys and Mustangs — but if they’re clogging a major artery of traffic, then they’re a definite problem.

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