08/03/09 11:37PM Car show, Classic Cars, Cruise, Events, hot rods, Muscle Ca, Woodward Dream Cruisers

Dream Cruisers already revvin'
Hard times won't stall annual Dream Cruise

Dream Cruisers

Cruise early, cruise often. That's the muscle-car mantra of classic car owners who are already parading up and down Woodward Avenue in anticipation of the fast-approaching 15th annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

Over the years, the Dream Cruise has drawn hundreds of thousands of classic cars and tens of millions of admirers of muscle-bound "Detroit Iron" to Michigan's main artery.

Tag-teamed by a dismal economy and rocky auto sales, this year's Dream Cruise will be leaner and meaner, with fewer corporate sponsors or glitzy private parties, and a complete absence of events planned south of Eight Mile in Detroit.

But even so, no one is singing the "Dream Cruise Blues," including Detroiter Enrico Hanks, as he relaxed in a blue folding chair beside his gleaming 1987 Olds Cutlass.

"I love to cruise out here," said Hanks, who recently retired from Chrysler. "Cruisers usually start to show up as early as June, especially on the weekends. I love everything about the Dream Cruise: the cars, the crowd and the smell of the engines."

As in the past, the Woodward Dream Cruise will run from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. on the third Saturday in the month, Aug. 15. That's when 30,000 classic and collectible hot rods, street machines, muscle cars, pickup trucks and motorcycles, as well as oodles of just plain weird, oddball and fun vehicles, join the parade along Woodward Avenue, also referred to as M-1.

The cruise runs along a 16-mile stretch of iconic M-1 through the communities of Berkley, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Pontiac and Royal Oak.

Hanks returns in his classy Cutlass. Black as a villain's hat, the Oldsmobile preens on gleaming chrome rims.

"I bought it brand new in 1987 from Gage Olds in Ferndale," Hanks said.

"It's nearly all original except for the steering wheel. And believe me when I say that I hate to put it in storage for the winter."

Another driver, Carl Goeckel, and his girlfriend, Raleigh Marmorstein, were turning heads with Goeckel's 1966 Mustang GT 350.

If there was ever a car that should have a license plate reading "9-1-1," it was this growling, black and gold, lean and low pony car.

"Oh yeah, this car is trouble," grinned Goeckel, 19, of Waterford.

"It's screaming fast," said Marmorstein, 19, of Southfield. "I haven't driven it because it's a manual transmission, but I'm going to learn how this summer."

Actually, the Mustang is making a return to Woodward after a crash a few years ago.

"My dad was driving back from playing golf and hit a deer," Goeckel said with a grimace.

"It took a while, but he and I worked to put it back together again. It will definitely be in the Dream Cruise this year."

Another driver, Tom Nagle, will be making a special trip to the cruise, driving his 1966 Corvette all the way from his home in Canyon Lake, Calif.

"This is the ninth year in a row that I've come back to be in the cruise," said Nagle, a University of Michigan graduate who grew up on the east side of Detroit and who keeps a summer home in Algonac.

"I usually make it a two-week event; the first week getting here and the second week visiting friends. This year, we're all meeting at a great cruise-watching spot on Woodward in Birmingham.

"I have several friends from California who also come out to watch the cruise. They like it so much that they come back every other year."

Nagle, who describes himself as "a child of the '60s," hits the road as soon as the cruise ends.

"On Sunday morning we start the drive back to California," said Nagle, who works for the U.S. Department of Transportation. "The Dream Cruise is worth the drive."

For Berkley resident Ted Dickinson, cruising on Woodward is painful, but pleasurable.

Dickinson has a 1923 T-bucket hot rod with no doors. He also has bad knees.

"I'm 72 and it gets kind of hard to climb into the car," said Dickinson, with a laugh.

"This car is old style, like me. I grew up on Woodward; used to cruise there back in the '50s and '60s. There were drive-ins everywhere."

Dickinson said he'll definitely be out on Woodward on Dream Cruise day.

"My wife will probably ride with me," he said.

"She has good knees."

Published in Detroit News Contact tgreenwood@detnews.com (313) 222-2023