At the Woodward Dream Show, the Deuces are wild


Pontiac – With Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” playing in the background, auto enthusiasts drove through the M1 Concourse on Friday afternoon to kick off a weekend of Motor City iron celebration.

The Woodward Dream Show at the 87-acre Pontiac race site features more than 850 classic cars, hot rods and other automotive eye candy for several thousand visitors on the eve of the 27th Woodward Dream Cruise.

Harold Tiburz takes a close look at a blue 1932 Ford Victoria

At an indoor showcase, visitors were greeted with a 90th anniversary tribute to the 1932 Ford “Deuce.” Over 50 legendary hot rods were on display.

“That’s why car culture is so prevalent in the United States,” said Dave Sherman, vice president of flagship events for M1, which hosts the Dream Show. “The men who came back from World War II had a surplus to choose from because Henry Ford built a lot of them, and they were affordable.”

Mike Lavens of Avoca takes photos of a black 1932 Ford Roadster owned by Jon Hall (not pictured), Friday afternoon August 19, 2022. Customers attend the Woodward Dream Show at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac.

Harold Tiburzi, a former Ford Motor Co. product development engineer who retired in 2007, admired Deuces, especially those with the Victorian bodywork. He has five cars, including two professional street cars and a Suzuki, in the show.

“I’ve been coming to the auto show since 1996, when we were just smoking cars, making donuts on Woodward,” said Tiburzi, 75, of Casco Township. “This year is much better than before, but that’s because I have a thing for 32 years, they are just beautiful.”

Woodward Dream Show attendees check out some of the classic cars on display along the fast lane at the M1 Concourse on Friday.

Outside, 13 classes of cars were spread around the facility’s 1.5-mile oval track and in the center pit, guests were wowed by a new, custom-built “Motor City Vice” from the store. Detroit’s Mobsteel automobile, which was unveiled Friday to celebrate Lincoln’s Centennial. Also celebrated at Friday’s show: the 55th anniversary of the Pontiac Firebird.

Guests could even take a slow spin around the lobby in classic cars or hang out at the children’s pavilion, sample food truck offerings and check out comical cars.

Harold Tiburzi, Ford Product Development Engineer, retired from Casco Twp.  looks at a blue 1932 Ford Victoria two-door sedan behind a gold 1932 Ford Model 18 three-window coupe, both belonging to Phil and Deb Becker (not pictured), of Dwight, Illinois, on Friday afternoon August 19 2022.

“Tired of being locked up”

Elsewhere along Woodward, classic car owners took advantage of warm late summer temperatures and sunny skies to drive up and down the 16-mile route for Saturday’s dream cruise.

Or, in the case of Charlie Liles, park their car and themselves in the shade and watch Detroit’s automotive past pass by.

Liles, 65, from Royal Oak, was cooling off under a tree near the emerald green 1944 F1 van he’s owned for about six years. He paid to park his vehicle in a grassy area set back a few yards from Woodward.

“We just bought it and then restored it, my wife and I, rebuilt the whole truck and we’re just enjoying it,” he said. “Come here and hang out with the crowd of other car owners.”

Liles said the truck was previously restored in the 1970s.

“We rebuilt the whole truck,” he said. All. Engine, transmission, interior. Everything except the paint. It’s the only thing left on it since we bought it… Just updated it, basically.

The truck now sports a 1966 Corvette transmission, 327 engine and automatic transmission.

Liles doesn’t like emerald green, but his wife says they don’t change the color, so it sticks. He says it gets a lot of attention.

“A lot of people take pictures of this car more than any other car I’ve ever owned,” he said. “They like green. We refine it.

Liles said he has been on the Dream Cruise since its inception and has been driving along Woodward for 49 years. Her parents met while cruising on Woodward.

He says people bring him back to the event every year.

“The good times, the fun and the cars,” he said. “Everyone coming together to enjoy the hobby. It’s a great hobby. Everyone is sick of being locked down because of COVID. It’s good to see everyone stepping back.

A little help from his friends

Dream Cruise Eve didn’t go so well for Rochester Hills resident Todd Reynolds. He said his 1963 Chevy II Nova was parked in the Mobil gas station parking lot at Woodward and 13 Mile when a motorist driving down 13 Mile ran onto the pavement and hit his car trying to avoid a bicycle . Reynolds’ Chevy was damaged on the passenger side.

“Luckily the guy on the bike was okay,” Reynolds said. “He went back home.”

Reynolds said his friends, also car enthusiasts, immediately stepped in to help. Two of the men worked to put on a tire that had fallen off his Chevrolet to make it easier for a tow truck to transport the vehicle.

“Great friends,” Reynolds said. “We have been sailing for 15, 20 years. Lots of good friends who step in to help whenever something happens. They don’t hesitate. We are always there for each other during the Dream Cruise.

Reynolds was joined by his cousin Jason Reynolds, 40, from New Brunswick, New Jersey. It was Jason Reynolds’ first time at the event, and he said he was impressed that the Dream Cruise spanned multiple municipalities.

“I like it,” the Garden State resident said. “It’s the only time I’ve seen so many cities take part. Where I’m from, one city can do something and the other cities are waiting to give you a ticket.

As for the Chevy II Nova, Todd Reynolds said, “We’ll get it home, and then we’ll find a good body shop to take it to. Our plan is to hopefully restore the car, replace what we need to replace and get it back on the road.

‘They are so beautiful’

Cindy Gabriel, 74, relaxed in her portable chair as she watched the cars roll down Woodward on Friday.

The Lapeer resident was taking a break to tend to the 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix that she and her husband, Rich, had owned since 1985. The couple painted it powder blue to match the 1962 Grand Prix they owned in 1965. They have attended the Dream Cruise since 1997.

Gabriel said she enjoys looking at the older classic cars as well as the newer cars that youngsters tend to drive along Woodward during the event. However, she said she would like to see separate days for each category.

“I would really like them to think about it, Dream Cruise people, let the young kids out and let them have Saturday and we have Friday, the old people with all the old cars,” she said. “If you want to do Dream Cruise movies, you’ll get all the old cars or the new ones, whichever you prefer. Because when we’re all on the road there can be backups and it can be tough on old cars. This is how we parked.

“I like older vehicles, but the new Corvette – they look so good,” she said. “They look like they’re straight out of Star Wars.”

“Octane runs through our veins”

While M1 Concourse has only been around for seven years, the property has over 100 years of automotive history, having housed the Rapid Street Motor Co., which built the first pickup truck before selling it to General Motors.

“Everyone here has octane running through our veins,” Sherman said.

Sherman’s favorite car on the show is a “perfect” triple black Dodge Charger, a muscle car that helped shape Woodward’s car culture. Two of the rarest, he said, are a 1965 Pontiac GTO Royal Bobcat and a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE known as “The Black Ghost” which is on the National Register of Historic Vehicles.

Dave Sherman, vice president of signature events for M1 Concourse, says the 1932 Ford

“The light blue Bobcat is so unique with a cream interior and with less than 4,000 miles on it, it’s like a time capsule,” said Sherman, who lives in Clarkston. “You walk up, open it, and it almost smells like a new car.”

Each car had a QR code to scan for guests to vote for their favorite, with trophies awarded to the winners.

General admission tickets were $50 for the Friday show and will be $10 on Saturday. At 9:30 a.m. Saturday, the M1 show will parade through Woodward and return to the lobby as the official Dream Cruise kicks off.

“We have 25 different car clubs with about 500 cars showcasing the best of the best cars,” Sherman said.

This is the first time that Aloyis Gray has exhibited her 2012 Dodge Challenger at a show. The 28-year-old from Indiana bought the car, painted in Brilliant Silver Metallic, in 2018 from Ohio with just 7,000 miles on it.

“There are a lot of car shows in Indiana, but none for Mopar enthusiasts,” said Gray, a graduate of Eastern Michigan University. “I get a lot of influence seeing what other people have done to their cars and that’s what the kid version of me would have been proud of. I’ve always dreamed of that.”

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