Technical Editor Jacob Joseph spent some time on Detroit's Woodward Avenue to see the second golden age of the American muscle car, and a city that's not quite dead.
It's easy to let the headlines get you down. For those of us who love cars, it can sometimes feel like millions of people are constantly working hard to take all of our fun away. In certain respects, this isn't too far off, assuming it can be rephrased to sound less paranoid. For those who have the cash, the Ascari Race Resort or Virginia International Raceway's Villas at South Bend can offer entertaining refuge among fellow enthusiasts.
This is all well and good, but where do us regular gearheads go to feel better? We go to Detroit. The Motor City is home to some of the biggest and most important events in the automotive world, and I'm here to tell you that you can skip all of them. The North American International Auto Show certainly has its charms, but it is also a publicity event which PR people obsess over to ensure that every detail is enticing to the consumer. A good rule for automotive events (and life in general) is that love is not real when someone is getting paid to be there.
For genuine appreciation of the automobile and emersion in the automotive culture, one must head out to the streets of Detroit. My most recent trip to Detroit was taken with my friend Jeff, a true enthusiast who had the ill-timed lack of foresight to talk cars with me while I was drunk and in the mood for a road trip. So we slept off the bourbon and headed out of Cleveland early (well, it seemed early to us) the next day. We figured it would be better to have a guide to the streets of Detroit, someone who knew where to go and the people who hung out in those spots.
Fortunately, CarBuzz has those sorts of friends in Detroit. Our first stop was the Ice Nine Group shop in Clinton Township. The Ice Nine Group guys were gracious hosts, and we killed some time at the shop with a few beers and some pulled pork sandwiches. Keith, the owner, and his son Mat told us stories about some recent automotive happenings, and what technical details they knew about the cars involved. Nearly all of these stories took place on or around Woodward Avenue, home of the Woodward Dream Cruise, the biggest one-day automotive event in the world.
The stories went a long way toward explaining how such an event came to be held on Woodward, and I was getting excited to see a typical Saturday night there. I rode to Woodward with Keith in a '10 Camaro SS which they had customized (you may have seen it in the profile we recently did on Ice Nine Group), with Jeff following in his Passat (which I would like to go on record as saying is a great road trip car). Just down the street from the shop we got caught at the traffic light at the top of the onramp leading to I-94.
As we were sitting there, a pretty brunette pulled up next to us in a Challenger, and another Challenger pulled up behind her. The light turned green and as Keith pulled onto the freeway, both Challengers tore off across the bridge, clearly we were in for quite a night. The highway exit was a few miles from the parking lot where we had arranged to meet Mat and his friends, and as well cruised up Woodward there was evidence everywhere of what would be taking place that night. Stores were closing and the parking lots which had emptied of customers were filling up with Mustang GT's and STi's. Photos copywrite Matt Trombley.