Experience Woodward Dream Cruise Week!
I never thought I'd be a Woodward Dream Cruise veteran. I thought Detroit might be a city I'd visit one day. We had no idea the boy would relocate there. As a red blooded American Gear Head getting to know this city has been super cool. Going on four years now the Woodward Dream Cruise has been a family tradition, including the "canceled" 2020 event. Officially the WDC is always the third Saturday in August but in reality it is the entire week leading up to Saturday. The locals are out each night, then each day more out of town folks show up. I'd argue the best night of cruising the eight lane Woodward Avenue is Friday night, Dream Cruise Eve. At that point you have the right mix of max participation and vehicular movement. Remember this is a car cruise event not a static car show. Unfortunately on cruise Saturday you really put your car's cooling system to the test. In some spots mostly on the southern end of Woodward Ave you sit in traffic questioning why you're torturing yourself and your machine under the hot August sun.
On Friday night you're rolling. Great exhaust notes everywhere. You get to pull hard enjoying torque. Less cops on the scene for when you want to safely bust the speed limit, maybe do a smoky burnout for the kid holding the sign. You'll see everything on the road that night including some of the best malaise era stuff, often tuned and hopped up right.
Rare sights are Mopar F-bodies like my 1978 Dodge Aspen Super Coupe or a Plymouth Volare Road Runner. Not this year! I counted six while cruising north and south, even made some new acquaintances.
For 2022 we're going to try something a little different. Remember I mentioned static car shows? They exist on the margins, each town along the boulevard has events going on. With side streets blocked off for walking around taking in the live music, OE manufacture displays, food trucks and other vendors. So we'll do a morning pass on Saturday then park the ride at our AirBnB, walk over to Ferndale and enjoy the carnival atmosphere.
Two last thoughts. One, some old curmudgeons will try to convince you it's all modern muscle cars and exotics. Simply not true. It's everything, muscle, malaise muscle, sports cars, Tri-Five, hot rods, freaks, etc. Second, is that kid holding the burn out sign working for the cops, is that entrapment?
Hit me up in the comments if you're attending next year, maybe share your favorite WDC moments.
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I doubt Peart had any love for malaise muscle but no doubt he was a gear head.
We're definitely going off script today, there is no malaise muscle in this collection. Most of these rides are European. I doubt Peart recognized the charm of colorful tape stripes, wheel flairs, spoilers and fake hood-scoops on show ponies with low compression engines. Still, Neil Peart was a man I admired, a man that provided me so much great music and memories. He was a gear head so when his "Silver Suffer" car collection is up for auction I'm interested in talking about it.
Who was Neil Peart? His day job was highly respected rock drummer for a power-prog trio out of Toronto, Canada. He was also the main lyricist for his band, RUSH. The song Red Barchetta is an ode to the generations of gear heads. More shy musician than celebrity during later concert tours he'd skip the adoring fans to hop right on his BMW motorcycle to ride to the next city. The band concluded their "farewell tour" in 2015. Peart died of a brain cancer a short five years later. Now most of his car collection is being auctioned off.
So I'll imagine I'm at Pebble Beach dressed in my finest seersucker suit, sipping mint juleps? I'll go over which ones I want in order of desire. Placing a premium on how much I'll want to take them out and drive them. Estimated prices and pics are provided from the Gooding & Company auction house.
1. 1964 Shelby Cobra 289 $900,00 - 1,000,000
This one isn't silver. It's the last car he acquired back in 2015. It went through an extensive restoration about ten years before he purchased it. I'd do a seats, wheel/tire and brake upgrade then just drive the damn thing...drive it hard.
2. 1965 Maserati Mistral Spider $575,000 - 650,000
I've got a thing for open air motoring. I've also really come to appreciate little sexy Italian roadsters lately. This had a comprehensive restoration performed under Peart's ownership and is described as in superb condition. I'd consider a tire and brake upgrade then just cruise with the wife in this one.
3. 1973 Maserati Ghibli 4.9 SS $250,000 - 300,000
My next desire is another Maserati and when you see my forth choice this might seem controversial. A sexy exterior, an opulent comfortable interior, a 4.9L V8 with 330 bhp, A/C and seating for four. This GT has been described by some as a sexy Italian pony car. After a modern tire and brake upgrade I'm hitting the freeways...notice a theme?
4. 1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S $1,200,000 - 1,500,00
What hasn't been said about the first supercar, a 370 bhp V12 with a five speed transaxle, this one has A/C. Still, with a much more business like interior I see my self driving this less than Ghibli. I prefer drivers over trailer queens.
5. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette $150,000 - 180,000
Speaking of trailer queens. As a gear head that fly's the flag of Uncle Sam I'm surprised this comes in at number five. This 327 V8, 340bhp split window coupe is equipped with a 4 speed manual. It was fully restored before Peart brought home in 2011. Other than some mild local miles I see this mostly trailered to shows...meh.
6. 1964 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8L $140,000 - 160,000
Initially as I pondered Neil's collection I thought I'd rank this much higher on my desire list. It is a classic car icon properly restomodded by Neil himself. The list of upgrades includes a Tremec 5 speed, Wildwood disk brakes, and various other suspension pieces. Brace yourself for blasphemy, this clown shoe does nothing for me. Perhaps as a roadster I'd be desirous. I'm reminded I need to finish that Hagerty article by Sam Smith about driving an E-Type on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
7. 1964 Aston Martin DB5 $650,000 - 725,000
This is the car that gave a young Neil Peart the car hobby virus. They are all really nice cars but something has to come in last. Again, this desirability list is about what I'd like to drive around not collectability or probability of ROI. The 4.0L inline six is good for 290bhp, backed by a 5 speed ZF manual the car is sure to be zippy. There is no mention of an ejector seat option so no sunroof. I like having an open air motoring option.
I don't know Alex and Geddy's opinions on cars as a collectable hobby but it would be cool if each of Neil's former bandmates wound up owning one of these. Check out Classic Car Auctions | Gooding & Company (goodingco.com) before August 13th to get in on the bidding.
John is a GenX car enthusiast who grew up driving classic muscle cars. He enjoys the new modern muscle cars that can out perform the classics in every way. In the sportscar world his banners are Viper and Corvette. John has a guilty pleasure. The disco era street machine. Those unloved, underpowered cars festooned with scoops, spoilers and stripes.