In Ford Mustang Heaven At The Woodward Dream Cruise
The classic car, Ford Mustang, is iconic for different reasons.
You can dress it up, modify it or keep it standard and it is one of those cars that brings a timeless style to the streets.
Whether you have seen movies like, Gone in 60 Seconds, I am Legend, or of course the 1968 GT390 Fastback screaming through San Francisco in Bullitt, there were so many iconic movies where you pictured yourself as the wheelman.
We recently attended the Woodward Dream Cruise with Ford Canada to see just how passionate the Ford Mustang community was. And we were not disappointed.
The Woodward Dream Cruise was started in 1995 just a few miles outside of Detroit, Michigan, and is basically a slow moving auto show on Woodward Avenue. The show brings thousands and thousands of cars per year all from a very humble beginning. The Woodward Dream Cruise actually started to raise money for a soccer field, a very far away from the success it has now. Woodward Avenue was technically America’s first highway and when they announced the first Woodward Dream Cruise was happening in August of 1995, they expected to get 25,000 and they would be happy, 250,000 showed up. Fast forward to 2018, and you have an estimate 1.5 million people heading through Michigan to see it, absolutely covering the grass, sidewalks, plazas and more.
This was the first year that Ford was the title sponsor and we were excited to see the passion, filling out the streets of Michigan.
The Woodward Dream Cruise Presented By Ford
We were staying in Birmingham, Michigan at The Townsend Hotel and drive back and forth between the hotel and our Ford Woodward Dream Cruise Hub. The first day we learned about Ford’s latest car announcement, the brand new 700+ bhp, Ford Cobra Jet. Then, while the traffic was at a minimal, we got an opportunity to take a few cars out.
The first start of the week was to go with a classic. One of the classic Ford Mustangs. The black leather outlined classic dials, while a thin-steering wheel protruded out from the dash. The car was a gentle reminder of the mechanical heritage that Ford had created that started a stylish, muscle car movement, very different from today’s cars.
The next and one of the most interesting experiences I have had was driving a right-hand drive Mustang convertible. Normally, this would be something normal in the United Kingdom, driving on the opposite side of the road. However, on North American streets, it was an interesting experience with the whole world is feeling like it’s beside you when you look left. It took a bit of time to get orientated with the car, but as soon as I got the hang of it, then it became second nature.
Further down the week we met the couple, who actually bought the very first Mustang, well, ever. It was a 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang that was purchased and she wasn’t supposed to buy it until the next day. She was in the dealership, looking for a standard convertible and the sales person actually showed and sold her the cart before it was announced at the World Fair the next day. She laughed when I asked her what it was like to be driving one of the most iconic pieces of automotive contraband.
Right beside the first Mustang ever sold to the public was the 10,000,000th Mustang made off the line. I think that’s a good indication of a car’s popularity and we were told the Mustang, since it’s first, was never not in production. Despite economic ups and downs and different eras lived, the Mustang has lived on. Even some car companies with the most iconic muscle cars can’t say the same thing. It’s a testament to sticking with something great and seeing it through.
As it got into Friday and Saturday of the Woodward Dream Cruise, came the crowds to where we were. But, thankfully Ford put together a good ensemble of cars parked out front, photogenic to the public. Two of most powerful Fords ever created, the Ford GT and Ford GT40, in Gulf Edition, colours stood out as people walked by.
The Bullitt Mustang
But, the one thing that caught our eye was definitely the Bullitt Mustang. I will be outlining the connection in a coming post, but this car is an honourable mention. Right next to the actual Bullitt Mustang used in the movie, was the new 50th anniversary version of the Bullitt Mustang. A new, revised and updated version with the same spirited approach to the iconic original. We had a chance to talk to the chief engineer of the Bullitt Mustang about it, he stated that it was a bit of challenge, because they wanted to develop a strong connection with the original, but also, to those who haven’t seen a movie, just create an effortlessly cool Mustang for the general public. It’s a design challenge that a lot of heritage brands face when it comes to iconic symbols for newer generations of buyers.
We wouldn’t be right in ending this article here without talking about the massive Mustang Alley. With over-arching signage to start, and introduced with a new Bullitt Mustang at the entrance. Mustang Alley was an invitation to Mustang owners who wanted to show off their favourite muscle car.
We were blown away. Intersection by intersection, row by row, there was over 1,200 Mustangs that were present for Mustang Alley, and even while we were there, even more were rolling in. We saw just about every single shape, colours, configuration and mod you could ask for. It close to being sensory overload about where to look because there were so many different types and styles.
View our video of our experience here:
The Bottom Line
We haven’t been to the Woodward Dream Cruise since 2002, where the streets were a little more empty and Detroit was considered a little more dangerous. Now, Detroit is thriving, it’s on the upswing and with great events like this bringing back automotive pride in the birth place of the modern North American vehicle, it was an exciting place to be. The mix of classic cars, modern cars, American muscle, strange standout vehicles, modified imports, and normal stock cars all riding together was a visual representation of passion, camaraderie and community.
Thank you Ford Canada for the opportunity to join you on this trip to go down memory lane and to see passionate drivers we have to go back to the fundamentals of what made a car something more than just going from A to B, with not an electric car in sight. For more information or to test drive a Ford today, be sure to visit a dealership near you or visit their Ford Canada website to custom build one for yourself.