Woodward Dream Cruise - Michigan

Updated: 02/07/12


As Woodward Avenue cruisers during the late 50s and the 60s, we thoroughly enjoy each annual Woodward Dream Cruise (WDC). The car, truck and people watching is great. We will give you a flavor of the event from our perspective and provide a selection of photographs.

Note: This page will load slowly due to the large number of thumbnail photographs.
You will see yellow tape used to stake out car club territory and pedestrians in some photographs.

It is an event we look forward to each year.

Photographs of Vehicles of every description follow the above narrative.

If you plan to attend the next WDC , our suggestions may be of value.


It is an event we look forward to each year. We are fortunate to have a friend who permits us to 'camp' in the parking lot behind her building for the weekend. We have developed a relationship over the years with her neighbor where we use the front porch of her building as a viewing platform. Both of these locations add to our enjoyment of the weekend and are greatly appreciated by us, our family and friends.


a tailgate party.jpg (42887 bytes)      04 group 4.jpg (35447 bytes)




 Officials estimate that over 1.5 million people attend the WDC each year. These photographs show the area north and south of our viewing location - only a few feet of the 16 miles of Woodward Avenue between Ferndale and Pontiac, Michigan used by the WDC car owners and spectators.



  wdc01 crowd north.jpg (59620 bytes)

wdc01 crowd south.jpg (40452 bytes)




Some residents go visit friends and some Woodward Avenue businesses close on WDC Day. Residence must contend with parking and traffic on their streets and businesses have no parking for their customers even if they successfully fought the traffic to get to the business.






04 selling stuff.jpg (38217 bytes)There are opportunities to purchase 'official'  merchandise at many locations along the route. The profits from each booth supports the WDC Committee and a specific charity.

In addition, commercial vendors have set up exhibits to sell items. Some businesses distribute free advertising items. 





wdc01 curb.jpg (50684 bytes)The Woodward Dream Cruise is on the third Saturday of August. It is publicized as a one-day event between 9am to 9pm. However,  the cruising begins earlier in the week each year - Thursday and Friday nights are busy on Woodward Avenue. People stand or sit at the curb all along the over 16 mile stretch of Woodward Avenue. Each city has events scheduled at various times, generally Friday and Saturday. 





Vehicles are displayed all along Woodward Avenue. If commercial businesses do not use all of Memorial Park, the park is used to display vehicles.






This couple enjoys their lunch and the passing vehicles.

wdc lunch.jpg (54651 bytes)




04 a scared.jpg (22883 bytes)A warning to people with young children. During the WDC, muffler requirements are not enforced.  Some of the vehicles are very loud and scare the young ones.

Ashlyn did not like a few of the extremely loud dragsters.





Another event that draws attention is the Grand Nationals for model car racing. Here they are on Friday practicing for the big race.

aw wdc 06b model cars.JPG (37032 bytes)   



We have not experienced bad weather very often. But, if we do, the car owners and spectators are not deterred by the bad weather - the Woodward Dream Cruise must go on. In 2006, it looked like the forecasted rain was going to dampen the WDC. (It did for a while, then cleared.) In 2007, the rain started at about 7:30pm. (Again, it did not deter the drivers or the crowd.)

aw wdc 06c wet woodward.JPG (28691 bytes)


Most people bring raingear and some use protective covers - just in case.

aw wdc 06c wet raingear.JPG (23984 bytes)      aw wdc 06c wet people covered.JPG (33243 bytes)


Some cars are driven in the rain, some are covered.

aw wdc 06c wet car 1.JPG (30600 bytes)      aw wdc 06c wet car 2.JPG (27509 bytes)      aw wdc 06c wet car covered.JPG (25601 bytes)



Other cars remain on display but are dried off between rain showers.

aw wdc 06c wet dry off.JPG (33191 bytes)



While people bring their pets to the WDC, most that we saw appeared bored. In our opinion, the WDC is not a place for young children and animals.

04 dog in stroller.jpg (26589 bytes)      04 dog in van.jpg (28838 bytes)      aw wdc 06 dog bored.JPG (29308 bytes)

aw wdc 06b dog w view.JPG (37007 bytes)         aw wdc 06b dog skirt.JPG (36790 bytes)   

(Fred missed the photograph of the iguana and the duck.)



Michigan has a helmet law.
This dog is protected.



Some vendors were sympathetic . . .




a n wales cops.jpg (38522 bytes)To view our law enforcements officers in action controlling this large crowd, other agencies send representatives to visit the WDC. Officers are on foot, on bicycles, on motorcycles, on horseback and in vehicles. The local newspaper reported that 20 law enforcement agencies participated in 2006. Some coming from as far as Alabama. Here, one of our local sheriff deputies talks to officers from North Wales.

Considering the large number of people attending each year, very few incidents other than traffic violations occur. Most of the violations are issued to those who attend for the 'party' - not in appreciation of the vehicles. 





wdc01 burnout.jpg (33172 bytes)Some people encourage the drivers to 'burnout'. Some drivers accommodated them if there are no officers nearby to issue tickets. The smoke from the burning rubber filled the air during the early years.

Fred has stood at the curb behind a 'burnout' location with friends and they could feel rubber hitting their faces. They don't do that anymore. At the curb near and especially in front of a burnout location is not a safe place to be.




04 broken hose.jpg (43404 bytes)If it is hot on cruise day, it is tough on the vehicles. Some vehicles are in the cruise on WDC day but are more at home on the drag strip.

This car blew a radiator hose - a bad day.




Many just can't take the heat . . . that is a pool and trail of anti-freeze.





Some have to be pushed due to other mechanical problems.

Many of the vehicles are not driven on a regular basis so mechanical issues can be expected.






In 2009, a group tried to 'cool' their crowd with a large fan. In this position the fan was too far away to be a benefit. After a bunch of people tripped over an extension cord across the sidewalk, they decided moving the fan closer to the group was not going to work. So, they enjoy the WDC like the rest of us  --- in the August heat.






This made Fred feel old. This young boy was getting his allowance out of an ATM next to where we watch the WDC.








Generally, the crowd is there to enjoy the vehicles. Most people are well behaved. As darkness arrives, the viewing of the vehicles become less important to a few of the bystanders and the 'burnouts' increase. In recent years, law enforcement agencies have been issuing more tickets and the burnouts have been reduced. This is better for all.

We are happy to say that the number of burnouts in our area continue to be reduced. Stricter enforcement and perhaps people have realized how dangerous it is. There are too many spectators around for this activity. 



wdc01 night people.jpg (26988 bytes)       04 sat night.jpg (31211 bytes) 

 wdc01 night cars.jpg (22817 bytes)



  It also helps that police start to 'shut down' the cruising around 9:00 pm. It is an amazing sight to see how they peacefully and politely disburse 1.5 million people and clear miles and miles of bumper to bumper traffic. It only takes about an hour to get the job done. They move all the vehicles to the right lane and make them turn right and leave Woodward Avenue at the mile roads. Then, the motorcycle police travel the route to disburse the spectators. We counted 92 police motorcycles in 2006. It is an impressive long line of blue and red flashing lights. Their first and second passes silently tell everyone it is time to go home. If you are still there during their third pass, an officer says "good night folks, we'll see you next year".



  aw wdc 06c clo mc 1.JPG (28646 bytes)      aw wdc 06c clo mc motion 2.JPG (31585 bytes)      aw wdc 06c clo mc 3.JPG (23621 bytes)

aw wdc 06c closed.JPG (25624 bytes)
Woodward is closed!



  Sunday morning, after walking to the near-by McDonalds for breakfast, Mary Lou prepares the inside of the fifth wheel for travel. Meanwhile, Fred picks up the trash left by some of the 1.5 million visitors to the Woodward Dream Cruise. He doesn't start until the city has picked up a majority of the trash. Considering that the street sweeper goes by our location before 6:00am, waiting for them to finish is not an issue. He works around both of the buildings we enjoy so we will be welcome back next year.

We head home but look forward to the next Woodward Dream Cruise. Considering the number of people who gather for this event, the WDC Committee, the many volunteers and the law enforcement agencies (city, county and state) from the cities involved, surrounding cities and counties and other agencies successfully work together to provide a safe and enjoyable day.

Thanks everyone, we'll be back next year.

*   *   *   *   *

Vehicles of every description can be seen during the WDC - an estimated 30,000 - 40,000 classic, muscle and customized vehicles. We hope you enjoy these selections from the hundreds of photographs Fred has made during the years. (Thank goodness for a digital camera.)

Each year we will add a few photographs to the collection. 


a jeff w vette.jpg (27911 bytes)We will start with Jeff's Corvette. If Steve's friend looks happy, it's because he got his 1974 Corvette back after a year of restoration work in time for the 2003 WDC. It looks great, Jeff.



a j vette frt.jpg (19171 bytes)      a j vette rr side.jpg (22774 bytes)      a j vette interior.jpg (40071 bytes)



Fred owned cars like these in his 'youth'. We have to find the photographs of the others. (Some day he wants to add a page of his cars and trucks to the Web site.)

wdc01 chevy.jpg (39327 bytes)              wdc01 metro.jpg (46574 bytes)


Fred's 1946 Chevy, purchased in 1959 for $40.
Now he wishes he still had it.

We are still looking for a photograph of his Metropolitan.





At the 2004 WDC, wing doors seemed to be the new thing. We notice many more in 2007.

04 gull wing 1.jpg (48511 bytes)      04 gull wing 2.jpg (35876 bytes)

04 gull wing 3.jpg (47778 bytes)




Some of the 30,000-plus vehicles are the traditional hot rods.

wdc01 yellow pu.jpg (28903 bytes)     wdc01 green roadster.jpg (47134 bytes)

wdc01 sedan black.jpg (39058 bytes)

     wdc01 roadster black.jpg (45086 bytes)

 wdc01 red roadster.jpg (44264 bytes)    


Others are clean and sharp looking vehicles. Oh yes, many have updated and powerful drivetrains as well.


aw wdc 06b w car frt.JPG (29048 bytes)            aw wdc 06b w car left.JPG (31016 bytes)


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wdc01 trk w spoiler.jpg (44323 bytes)    wdc01 big dually.jpg (43129 bytes)  

a green truck.jpg (47381 bytes)

wdc01 pu blue silver.jpg (44760 bytes)     wdc01 panel yellow.jpg (37998 bytes)

wdc wine roses.jpg (55616 bytes)

wdc01 ply wag.jpg (39460 bytes)     wdc01 chrydes.jpg (38226 bytes)

wdc hudson.jpg (52368 bytes)

wdc01 barracuda.jpg (39480 bytes)     wdc01 chevy b&w.jpg (40709 bytes)

wdc01 clean blue.jpg (45278 bytes)     wdc01 black 2.jpg (44145 bytes)

04 yellow chevy.jpg (52142 bytes)

04 red daytona.jpg (44339 bytes)      04 roadrunner.jpg (40925 bytes)


04 black dodge.jpg (42038 bytes)      04 wh dodge.jpg (32289 bytes)

  04 merc dull.jpg (36453 bytes)      04 merc red.jpg (34223 bytes)

04 blue corvair.jpg (39523 bytes)     


04 multi color.jpg (46631 bytes)      04 sedan scene.jpg (55128 bytes)


04 wag gr gr.jpg (41435 bytes)      04 wag silver gr.jpg (43918 bytes)

04 woody orange.jpg (37397 bytes)      04 woody purple.jpg (39849 bytes)

04 ml silver.jpg (46962 bytes)

wdc01 bad news vette.jpg (40098 bytes)    04 jeep for sale.jpg (52701 bytes)  

04 ram w ram decal.jpg (48477 bytes)


04 coupe dull.jpg (43224 bytes)

 04 texaco trk.jpg (45337 bytes)      aw wdc 06b pu yellow.JPG (49298 bytes)






A look at this clean and neat engine compartment - not much there except engine.






     "Grandpa's Heartbeat"     




A wood bodied pickup . . .





Studebakers ...

wdc01 studebaker stock.jpg (33626 bytes)     wdc01 studebaker red.jpg (44579 bytes)

a studebaker.jpg (45081 bytes)      wdc01 studebaker trk.jpg (41028 bytes)




Some people like their vehicles small and some make them into small hot rods.

wdc01 sm white.jpg (51624 bytes)     wdc01 sm yellow.jpg (44758 bytes)

wdc sm brs.jpg (45874 bytes)     wdc hot metro.jpg (50923 bytes)

04 car w canopy.jpg (35355 bytes)

aw wdc 06b smart car.JPG (37930 bytes)


A couple Crosleys

wdc sm yellow.jpg (47748 bytes)     wdc sm grey.jpg (50774 bytes)


Electric cars ... 

aw wdc 06c elec car.JPG (36939 bytes)


Three wheeled cars ...

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Just about anything with wheels can be seen.

wdc01 open small.jpg (44370 bytes)     wdc01 tricycle.jpg (44162 bytes)


04 girls barrel trl.jpg (50564 bytes)
And a barrel for the kids.


wdc coke cart.jpg (54261 bytes)     wdc chevy cart.jpg (52946 bytes) A 1957 Chevy ... 



Another  Mini Ford and Chevy



A small Ram ..04 sm ram.jpg (37690 bytes)

04 sm grave digger.jpg (45733 bytes)A mini Grave Digger ...



  Mini vehicle . . .


We noticed more regular golf carts  in 2009. Maybe because we bought one in 2008.





Cushman Eagles - one with a side car



If those aren't small enough - wow, these are tiny.  

04 very small cars.jpg (44029 bytes)




And ...

aw wdc 06b sedgway.JPG (41540 bytes)
A Segway



04 remote truck.jpg (27757 bytes)You can't ride this one but it is smaller yet. I would expect this remote car to be stepped on by someone as he drove it through the crowd.

The 'driver' was getting cash from the ATM - maybe he needed to purchase batteries.




Many VWs cruise Woodward.

wdc01 vw conv.jpg (46525 bytes)      wdc vw paint.jpg (56344 bytes)





wdc01 vw short.jpg (33395 bytes)This one was shortened.





This one was narrowed.

wdc01 vw narrow 1.jpg (48038 bytes)     wdc01 vw narrow 2.jpg (54902 bytes)


Campers and a truck.

wdc vw camper.jpg (39173 bytes)      a vw camper.jpg (33965 bytes)

wdc vw truck.jpg (47854 bytes)



This one can go hunting and fishing ...

04 vw camo.jpg (45024 bytes)


This one can go to the drag strip ...  04 vw dragster.jpg (41388 bytes)


aw wdc 06 vw body up.JPG (35328 bytes)
This has good air flow ...
and a hot engine in the front.



A wrought iron body ... a wrought iron vw.jpg (50494 bytes)      04 vw wrought iron 4.jpg (52104 bytes)



04 vw mug.jpg (47994 bytes)      04 vw scoop.jpg (42613 bytes)



Jeeps and Willys wagons are well represented.

wdc01 jeep with wdc01.jpg (40916 bytes)      wdc01 willys.jpg (40177 bytes)

aw wdc 06b willys wagon.JPG (46675 bytes)                       

wdc01 jeep wagon.jpg (39736 bytes)      04 j wag for sale.jpg (45067 bytes)

This is a great day to advertise your vehicle.
Many "For Sale" signs are displayed.



A few vehicles have a patriotic theme.

wdc rwb dodge.jpg (59652 bytes)      wdc rwb chevy.jpg (47477 bytes)

04 pwr wag w flag.jpg (53950 bytes)      04 conv w flag.jpg (52457 bytes)



Many use the Dream Cruise to advertise their business. Some are decorated for the cruise, others just want to be seen by the 1.5 million people.

wdc01 garbage trk.jpg (38573 bytes)    

wdc01 interstate.jpg (47884 bytes)

wdc pop mech.jpg (51936 bytes)

wdc01 fed ex.jpg (35151 bytes)     wdc ups.jpg (59067 bytes)

wdc zippo.jpg (24342 bytes)

04 arbys.jpg (48952 bytes)      aw wdc 06b art van.JPG (41943 bytes)






Several military vehicles were driven in the 2009 WDC. The most unusual was a half-track. Fred got a glimpse of it in traffic - we never saw it again.







Some of the vehicles are very unusual. They all get attention from the crowd, which is what their owners want. 

wdc01 sch bus frt.jpg (41820 bytes)     wdc01 sch bus rr.jpg (45802 bytes)


wdc01 motorhome.jpg (44893 bytes)


Another school bus - a convertible or topless one


wdc01 bee van.jpg (42035 bytes)


wdc01 motorhome white frt.jpg (37036 bytes)     wdc01 motorhome white rr.jpg (29715 bytes)


wdc01 mh painted r.jpg (44127 bytes)     wdc01 mh painted l.jpg (37557 bytes)


04 bear van.jpg (60680 bytes)
(Teddy bear van - used stuffed animals)


04 clown van.jpg (54964 bytes)
(Clown van)



Pumpkins anyone?




Can you say Beverly Hillbillies?



04 chassis camper.jpg (41870 bytes)Would you camp in this?





wdc carpet.jpg (47855 bytes)
(Carpet instead of paint)




04 blk next year.jpg (39187 bytes)wdc myst mach.jpg (48176 bytes)




Milk trucks ...

wdc milk truck.jpg (56416 bytes)    


wdc pigs.jpg (51263 bytes)      04 milk truck.jpg (50118 bytes)






Some ice cream vendors were there . . .






A hearse . . .




A phone company truck. Do you remember 'Ma Bell'?

aw wdc 06b bell trk frt.JPG (64712 bytes)            aw wdc 06b bell trk rear.JPG (45618 bytes)




04 tractor on flatbed.jpg (42151 bytes)     
Straight from the farm. No.


Speaking of farm, this may be 'Recycled Farm Equip.'.

  04 farm equip.jpg (22435 bytes)




04 flame bus.jpg (46842 bytes)To celebrate the tenth year of the WDC, one of the shuttle busses was decorated with flames.






Some tow very neat looking trailers.

wdc01 rod and trlr.jpg (46272 bytes)     wdc01 2dr with trlr.jpg (46798 bytes)


wdc rod w trlr.jpg (49303 bytes)


Some tow other toys.

04 org coupe w mc.jpg (56688 bytes)      04 coupe and rail.jpg (48211 bytes)


Others tow miniatures of themselves.

04 prowler w girl.jpg (53972 bytes)      04 prowler sm sm.jpg (37239 bytes)
         Neat place to ride    . . . . .    Regular, small and smaller




This street rod is towing a Coke cooler . . .



And colorful ...

Look at the color change on this vehicle as it passes by.
wdc01 paint chg 1.jpg (41467 bytes)      wdc01 paint chg 2.jpg (36511 bytes)
wdc01 paint chg 3.jpg (39660 bytes)     wdc01 paint chg 4.jpg (45279 bytes)
What a fantastic paint job!



Limos ...

wdc01 limo ply.jpg (43588 bytes)             wdc01 limo chevy.jpg (47828 bytes)

wdc01 limo hummer.jpg (48080 bytes)      a vette limo.jpg (41275 bytes)

04 limo stars.jpg (44991 bytes)



aw wdc 06 limo hd.JPG (33631 bytes)
                                                    Heavy duty ...



A restored tow truck ...
wdc01 tow truck.jpg (41198 bytes)
          And a big one ...04 big tow trk.jpg (54670 bytes)


Bigger yet - two turning front axles




And for the NASCAR fans ... 04 nascar no3.jpg (41959 bytes)



A Thunderbird ... Hi, Gary and Courtney
wdc01 tbird.jpg (43433 bytes)



A pink truck and a purple truck ...

a pink truck.jpg (45827 bytes)      a purple truck.jpg (41318 bytes)


BIG pickup trucks ...

a big pickup.jpg (33125 bytes)      a big ram.jpg (40227 bytes)     aw wdc 06 pu huge night.JPG (37087 bytes)



If you don't see what you are looking for on top, look underneath.

wdc01 cu car.jpg (44090 bytes)     wdc01 cu car under.jpg (41237 bytes)




wdc01 older.jpg (51036 bytes)Most of the vehicles are hot rods or custom cars. However, you do see several vintage vehicles. 


This is an example of what you can do with a "T".




wdc rr.jpg (51597 bytes)And, expensive cars like this one driven by a charming older couple.







Motorcycles are popular. We especially like the custom three wheelers.


  aw wdc 06 mc big.JPG (42797 bytes)           aw wdc 06b mc big rear.JPG (42809 bytes)


  wdc mc white.jpg (46765 bytes)


  wdc mc blue.jpg (45281 bytes)     wdc mc yellow.jpg (58050 bytes)


  a 57 chevy mc.jpg (31573 bytes)      04 vw mc.jpg (43111 bytes)



  04 chevy mc.jpg (35795 bytes)      




  And, a round motorcycle ... a round mc.jpg (29122 bytes)




a four whl mc.jpg (47815 bytes)    How about a four wheel motorcycle . . . V-10 powered.




Some bicycles have four wheels - or are they quadcycles.


A small two person bike     .   .   .   .   .   .     A BIG four person bike




 Does your local fire department have vehicles like these?

a fd coupe.jpg (43186 bytes)      a fd mc.jpg (37434 bytes)




A large boat needs a large tow vehicle . . .




The street rods were loud . . . but . . . nothing like the noise the jets flyover created. This was a nice addition to the 2009 WDC. Planned, probably not!







wdc01 stroller.jpg (39721 bytes) Even the kids get into the act.





Or, is it the fathers?





Not to spoil it for you .... but some of these vehicles are not cars but a collection of parts.
wdc01 car flip up 1.jpg (46141 bytes)                    wdc01 car flip up 2.jpg (45262 bytes)
Still, they are labors of love for the car enthusiast,
as well as demonstrations of talent and ingenuity.


*   *   *   *   *


If you plan to attend the next WDC, held each year on the third Saturday of August, plan ahead. Arrive early. Lodging reservations are in great demand and made a year or more in advance. The event has become commercialized to a point where many restaurants hold only private parties the entire day. Fast food restaurants and others are open to the public along the route. Party stores are open along the way for food, beverages and ice. Many businesses are closed.

Alcoholic beverages are prohibited at the WDC - strictly enforced.

Portable toilets are available in many areas

It is best to arrive prepared to be mostly self-sufficient. Wear casual clothes, comfortable shoes and carry an umbrella for the rain and sun. And, believe it or not, August evenings in Michigan can be cool - carry a jacket. Don't forget your lawn chairs and a plastic bag for your trash. And . . . bring your camera.

Avoid driving on Woodward Avenue or crossing Woodward Avenue on WDC day - traffic is bumper to bumper all day. It can take an hour to travel one mile on Woodward Avenue during this wonderful 16 mile traffic jam.

Additional information is available at www.WoodwardDreamCruise.com - the official Web site of the Woodward Dream Cruise Committee.


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