When people ask me about the best time to do anything with the auto industry in Detroit, I always answer the same; the week before the NAIAS auto show and the week before the Woodward Cruise. It seems these are the only two times that people who work in the industry put down their pens, stop what they are doing, and actually pay attention to the industry they are employed by. It seems silly when you read it on paper (or the screen), but in my experience it is so true it hurts. Many people get wrapped up in their day-to-day tasks and forget what we are here to do; to make something as simple as A to B transportation really enjoyable. So with that statement as the premise, and a picture of my front yard as the guide, lets see if we can’t find a little fun to celebrate the industry we call home.
Its hard to say when the real Woodward Cruise starts (that bloated parking lot of a thing that happens the 3rd Saturday in August is not a “real” cruise any more than Chocolate flavored things). Don’t get me wrong, I love the event, its just I love the week leading up to the event more. For me the week started on the Friday before the event as I committed sacriledge by adding Plymouth parts to my Dodge. The Coronet front valence is almost the perfect shape to accept Road Runner Front Spats and the reproduction parts are just molded thin enough to conform to the rest of the difference.
Saturday, August 8th – Car and Drive Cars and Coffee
And while there are many activities all around the southeast Michigan area, for 2015 we decided to take the Blue Beast (aka ’72 Coronet Classic wagon) to the Cars and Coffee at the Car and Driver offices in Ann Arbor. This was my first experience there and I have to say, it is enjoyable to be at a “Cars and Coffee” event where they actually did not run out of coffee. As an added bonus they had real donuts on site (speaking of donuts, I did have to stop on the way out and explain to a couple of hooligans in a fascia-less Eclipse with exposed intercooler not to act like idiots in the parking lot). Here are some of my favorites from the show, sadly some cars I really wanted to see left before I could get to them….yes, the event was THAT big.
Sunday, August 9th – M1 Concours Cruise Kickoff Party
Unfortunately, some last minute repairs to the Porsche left me unable to attend the Cruise Kickoff Party at M1. If you would like to see what we missed, check this link out here.
Monday, August 10th – Rest and Relaxation
After a weekend of repair and modification related activities, Monday was reserved for recharging the batteries and preparing for the week ahead.
Tuesday, August 11th – Brian Baker’s Car-B-Q
I currently reside a few miles north the city (“few” is a relative term – there is a rest area before you arrive at my exit on the Interstate) because the last two neighborhoods I lived in took a dim view of my car related activities. At various times I was physically assaulted by a mother of a new born because I was “revving my race engine after he went to sleep” (it was Saturday at around 6pm) or being drawn into court for having an abandoned car in the driveway (its a race car, its not abandoned, it normal that it only gets used once/twice a month). So it is with a special form of jealousy that I view my friend Brian Baker’s annual Car-B-Que. You see, Brian’s neighbors welcome his car crazy friends and even help close the streets for an evening party and car show IN THE SUBDIVISION.
Wednesday, August 12th – Pasteiners Pre Cruise Shelby Event
Just because I don’t own a Shelby, doesn’t mean I can’t dream. And the best place to dream is the annual Shelby meet on the Wednesday before the cruise. Unfortunately, I should have plugged in the phone before going to bed and dreaming the night before. So I guess you will have to visit the Pasteiner’s Auto Zone Instagram Page to see the best photos.
Wednesday, August 12th – Roadkill Nights – Chrysler at the Silverdome
With the potential to be the best event of the week, FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) turned the parking lot of the abandoned Silverdome into a drag strip, car show and general meeting place for all things MOPAR. The immense crowd meant the food trucks on site ran out of food early (Boo) and the high temperatures meant that cold water was trading as a currency like at Burning Man (to say we were parched is an understatement). It was still cool to see cars being thrashed versus just cruising slowly up and down the strip in choking traffic.
Thursday, August 13th – John McElroy’s Woodward Breakfast
It goes by another more formal name, but we all know it’s John’s event.
Thursday, August 13th – Cruising on the way to work
After the breakfast, I took a quick run down Woodward on the way to work. Along the way I bumped into Axalta, who were filming a feature on their color of the year (red) – so they asked my son Steve Schwartz to be interviewed about his Fiat Spider. Which caused me to get distracted and stumble across the proper Vans paint scheme for me.
Thursday, August 13th – SAE Car Show at Como’s
Last year I brought the 914 and competed in the custom class. This year the Blue Beast competed in the classic class. Did not matter, I was not a winner in either.
Friday, August 14th – ASC on Woodward
Brian Baker is everywhere, not just at his own Car-B-Q, but also at ASC’s annual spot directly on the strip (where he is VP of Design). Thanks to the girlfriend, I had both the Blue Beast and 914 at their location at the Village Players in Birmingham.
Saturday, August 15th – The Woodward Cruise
Not much to say here, just sit and watch the world go by.
Saturday, August 15th – Murray’s Hot Rod Bash
One place we didn’t see the notorious Mr. Baker was at Murray’s Hot Rod Bash. Our annual end of the week party, the event is a party + a charity benefit for the Animal Aid Foundation. Music, friends, libations and the favorite event of the week, blowing up an engine. Yes, a scrap car is purchased, bets are made and the car is run full throttle until the engine blows. Whoever picked the closest time to actual detonation wins half the pot (which they always donate to charity).
So that describes why I live where I live in a nutshell. Nowhere else in the world can you find this level of love for what many consider basic transportation. Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Here are some links to help you learn about the cars shown above:
- Alfa Romeo Guilia
- Alfa Romeo Sprint Zagato
- AMC Matador Coupe
- 1950s Chrysler Wagon
- Chrysler Imperial
- Chrysler Valiant Charger
- Dodge Charger
- Dodge Charger Daytona RHD
- Fiat Dino
- Ferrari Testarossa
- Ford Torino GT
- Mini Cooper
- Triumph Dolomite