Austin C. Craig
May 27, 2014

Detroit's Woodward Avenue became famous during the halcyon days of Motor City performance in the 1960s. Back then, mid-level engineers and product planners from the Big Three would appear on Woodward Avenue to unofficially "test" their latest high performance automobiles. At drive-ins like The Totem Pole and Ted's, matches were planned both on Woodward Avenue and out on the Interstate, where pink slips were won and lost. On Woodward, the axiom was, "Run what you brung! If it isn't enough, go home and get more!"

Over the years, the Woodward stories grew and created a special performance aura for the avenue that angles slightly northwest out of downtown Detroit.

In 1996, organizers put together the first Woodward Dream Cruise as a one-day event to celebrate the Motor City's cruising heritage. The 16-mile cruise route on Woodward Avenue begins in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale and moves north through a number of suburban communities before winding up in Pontiac. Today, the event has grown to a week-long, fun-filled automotive spectacle that attracts enthusiasts from every corner of the country. In 2013, the Woodward Dream Cruise drew 1.3 million people with an estimated 40,000 cars taking part in cruising the famed thoroughfare.

Mustang Alley attracted 874 Mustangs and scores of enthusiasts.
The 43rd District Court building provided an interesting background for these Mustangs.
Over the past few years, MRT has hosted a pre-cruise party at their Plymouth, Michigan, headquarters on the Friday prior to Saturday’s Woodward Dream Cruise. Pictured is the MRT designed and built Sturgis Mustang that was given away during the Sturgis Mustang Rally on Labor Day Weekend.

In 1999, then-Mustang Chief Engineer Art Hyde and his Team Mustang members came up with the idea to create a special place for Mustangs to gather during the Woodward Dream Cruise. Team Mustang eventually met with Ferndale officials and a wonderful relationship between the city, Ford Motor Company, and Mustang enthusiasts was born. That first year, Team Mustang invited Mustang and Shelby club members, as well as Ford employees and suppliers, to meet at Ford World Headquarters to cruise to the corner of Woodward and 9 Mile Road in Ferndale, the Detroit suburb where the Dream Cruise actually begins.

(Editor's Note: We recall that, in his excitement, Art Hyde kicked off the cruise with a burn-out in his '99 Cobra. He was promptly pulled over by WHQ police and issued a ticket. We all waved to him as we proceeded to Woodward).

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Since 1999, 9 Mile in Ferndale has become the place where Mustangs congregate for the Woodward Dream Cruise. It has also become the epicenter for all Ford Motor Company activity during Saturday, the "official day" of the Woodward Dream Cruise. In 2013, 874 Mustangs lined 9 Mile Road for many city blocks. The Ford Motor Company exhibits extended a number of blocks as well to showcase the company's latest performance cars. Directly across Woodward, Ford Truck exhibited their latest performance products.

Ford is always adding new and interesting elements to Mustang Alley. In 2013, there was a special area for an Engineer Meet and Greet so people could meet the Ford engineers, who were stationed at their respective cars and SUVs. Mustang Chief Engineer Dave Pericak spent a good part of the day meeting and talking with Mustang enthusiasts.

The Ford Racing display was a popular stop in the Ford exhibit.
With the ’13 Mustang Cobra Jet, you can buy an 8-second quarter-mile Mustang race car right off the showroom floor.

The Ford exhibit was also home for a number of performance companies, including Ford Racing, Roush Performance, Mobile Mod Center (featuring products from Kicker, MRT, BFGoodrich, and Gateway Classic Mustang), Holman & Moody, and Falken Tire. The Mustang Club of America display informed enthusiasts about both the national club and the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration that happened this past April in Charlotte and Las Vegas.

The Woodward Dream Cruise celebrates all that is great about the Motor City, past and present. For Mustang enthusiasts, Mustang Alley is the place to be on Saturday.