The river of chrome and cam cough that is the Woodward Dream Cruise carries upon its currents too much awesome to ever describe in full. So instead of trying to cover all of one of America’s biggest car shows, I’ve hand-picked just a few of my favorites, starting last week and ending on Friday.
GM blue has always been a nice color, right? But when you see it on a first-gen Firebird vert with a hood-mounted tach, it’s devastating. The paint was perfect, the exhaust sonorous, and the wheels classic. I’m not a huge fan of convertible muscle cars- they’re floppy enough without any help- but when you see one like this, you understand.
At the other end of the Detroit spectrum in the ‘60s were the whitewall tires, the suicide doors, and the 2.5 ton curb weight of this breathtaking fourth-gen Lincoln Continental sedan. Maybe it’s my bent toward definition and clarity, but something about the Continental’s steel-cut lines and corners just speaks to me. It seems like in those days, ere the rise of safety and emissions regulations, a car could be designed completely around the feeling you got when you looked at it. The ’61 Continental made a clean break with the bubbles-and-Buck-Rodgers ‘50s and espoused the lucid lines of Don Draper’s hifi cabinet. And it makes me feel like I want one.
Woodward tends to sway more toward domestics, but I’ve never seen any hate toward the handful of foreign cars that show up. Several times throughout the day, I saw this rough-style, lowered
’79 ’81 Datsun 210 wagon (Thanks for the correction, Adam H.) The wheels were pushed out a bit, and the distracting rear bumper removed to accentuate that big-screen rear windshield. Up top, on a Yakima rack, rode a BMX bike whose livery I haven’t seen since preschool. It was a car like your kid nephew, who turns all the hugs into wrestling matches. And it pulled off being brown pretty well. Not many cars can do that.
Speaking of wagons, this hood-scooped ’63 Dodge 330 hit me in all the right places. From the dad-friendly chrome rack to the dog dish hubcaps, this longroof was a picture of American road tripping in the ‘60s. But I have a soft spot for wagons. I own one. This post features 2.7 wagons.
I don’t have quite as much love for minivans. Except the turbocharged ones with manual transmissions. The owner’s father told me this Dodge Caravan was one of the few that came turbocharged, but that the five-speed was a swap. Chipped paint, dented metal, and a stock ride height helped seal up the sleeper façade, and the set of powder-coated ten-spoke alloys could almost be taken as a joke, until the driver put his foot down.
Remember that .7 wagon I mentioned? Yep, it’s an 8th-gen Buick Roadmaster wagon with no roof or pillars. It was too perfect to ignore. I love those bubular, B-body wagons. Our former boss here at Streetside has one. I want to find this enterprising owner and ask him if I can see how much the body will flex with no roof while I’m hooning the possibly-LT1-equipped Roadmaster around corners.
Woodward was just wealthy with Mustangs. I saw silver ponies of every generation, even Mustang IIs. One of my favorites was this far-from-stock 87-93 Fox-body. Out of the factory, these topped out at the Windsor 302, with a little “5.0” badge on the fender. This example had that “.0” replaced with “.8,” as the original mill had been swapped for a hearty 351. When the owner started it up for me, the exhaust note betrayed some cam work, though that only comes in handy when you’re driving it, which is tough when you’re frozen ogling the clean, tucked engine bay and the depths of the drowning blue sheen.
That’s all for today, but check back Friday for more metal magnificence from Woodward!
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.