By Kent (& Sue) Magruder / www.FordDragTeam.com
DETROIT, MI (Aug., 2010) – So what is Detroit's Woodward Dream Cruise all about? Can any auto event really be this massive, as we've been hearing all these years? The answer to that is YES! It is truly massive! I have participated in many cruises over the years, some grassroots gatherings dating back to the late 60’s and early 70’s and others that were professionally organized events. But none of them can hold a candle to what I saw at Woodward.
My efforts with the Seattle-based Ford Drag Team sparked a newfound relationship with Ford Racing last year, which in turn brought a conversation about a possible visit to Dearborn that resulted in a Ford Performance Group-planned weekend at the 2010 Woodward Dream Cruise.
At the risk of sounding like I'm from the backwoods, I was shocked to see eight lanes of traffic on Detroit's historic Woodward Avenue. Heck, back in Seattle, I-5 (the largest freeway in the state) is only six lanes wide. But to see those eight Detroit lanes filled with all sorts of hot rods, classics and muscle cars was really quite a sight!
Even though I am a Ford man to the very end, I must admit that the sheer variety of all the different vehicles and automotive brands cruising on Woodward made for a truly interesting event. I was surprised at how many '57 Fords and 63-1/2 Galaxies I saw. And watching the new Shelby Mustangs cruise alongside so many of the original ones made me realize that Detroit muscle car history was still being made right in front of my face! With the new GT500s, Mustang GT 5.0's and now the new Boss 302 facing new Camaros and Challengers out there, it's like – Yeah baby! The factory power wars are back! … Uhmm, I mean, friendly competition hath returned.
My wife Sue and I cruised the Woodward weekend in a rental 2010 Mustang V-6, so I was forced to behave. The drag racer in me wanted to rap the throttle whenever we pulled next to someone, but Sue kept reminding me that we were not in our own Mustang. That was the tough part of the cruise – having two 11-second Mustangs sitting at home. And it is probably a good thing that they stayed there, considering the huge showing by all the local law enforcement.
In Washington state I can count the new 5.0L Mustangs that I have seen so far on one hand. But cruising on Woodward Avenue in suburban Detroit, I quickly realized which state is hogging all the new Stangs! We saw so many new Mustangs that you’d think Michigan is where they all are made! (Ha! … I know!)
If there was anything that I would have wanted to be different, it would have been better weather on the big cruise-day Saturday. I am sure the rain caused many street rods, customs and classics to simply stay home. The other thing I would have liked (at the risk of sounding like an old geezer) is to have had some sort of electronic gadget that could short out a some of the incredibly loud sound systems that occasionally blasted us during the cruise.
But even daylong rainy skies couldn't ruin an experience this big. I was being very careful not to let people know that we were from Washington state, for fear they would think we brought the rain with us. If anyone asked, I decided we would just tell them we are from Texas.
We cruised Woodward Thursday night and again on Friday night, plus for approximately three hours during the big Saturday event. There we so many cars by then that we decided it best to just park and watch all the proud owners cruise by in their various machines. Some were works of art; others were works in-progress. We appreciated both!
The event clearly has strong support from local businesses, as well as a mass of street-side spectators. There were enough people lining both sides of Woodward to make up a good-sized city.
Initially we parked among a group of Corvettes. At first I wasn’t too thrilled about that, but once I realized that they liked it even less, I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. A bit later we moved to a parking spot more suitable to both of us. Then the Ford Performance Group got us in-and-out parking privileges with the Motor City Marauders club right off Woodward, at the epicenter of the cruise. It was great to hang out with the Motor City Marauders! Our thanks to Dave Popovich and his entire club – we felt very welcomed! I have never seen so many Marauders in one place, and never so many that are capable of running 11-second quarter-mile times.
Then Ford Racing got us access to join the collection of 500+ Mustangs a few miles down Woodward at "Mustang Alley." It was truly an event within an event! We parked at the end of a very long line of Mustangs. There were groups of Roush’s, Saleen’s, SVT's and Shelby’s plus Mustangs of every vintage and even a smattering of classic Fords, Lincolns and Mercs.
Shelby had a nice display of cars, including the gorgeous 2011 GT350. Further down was the new Boss 302. One was displayed on its side, revealing the undercarriage. (I thought that was pretty creative on someone’s part!) I had to really work at getting close enough for a photo, it was drawing that much attention!
A bit later I heard one of the new Boss 302s start up, and the throttle crack was pure music to the ears. I wondered out loud to my wife, "Do you think it will ever be possible to order a regular 5.0L Mustang with a Boss engine in it?" But I didn’t like her down-to-earth answer: ''I doubt it."
One of the guys from Ford Racing noticed my slobbering all over their new "supercharged" 5.0L Mustang, and asked if he could answer any questions for me. This is when I learned about the engine's 11-to-1 compression ratio being "dynamic" rather than "static." That was good news to me, since I will be buying a new Mustang and it MUST have a supercharger! What was it that he said, that the Ford Racing 5.0 supercharger is being offered in a 624hp kit? Now that's what I'm talking about!
We had an absolute blast coming to Detroit and doing this incredible Woodward cruise. Our thanks go to Ford Racing's John Clor and the Ford Performance Group program for getting us hooked up with the right folks and many of the special cruise events, plus giving us the "inside scoop" to help us get around town that weekend.
You folks in and around Michigan have a very special thing going with the annual Woodward Dream Cruise. It was great to be able to participate is such a big event, and a true honor to be supported by some really good people at Ford who had helped to make our experience so rewarding!