Jim Smart
September 21, 2015

Talk about classic Fox and late model S197 and S550 performance? If you didn’t make Detroit this year, you missed one hell of a show. You should have seen Detroit’s legendary Woodward Dream Cruise; Detroit is Ford Mustang’s birthplace and no wonder. It was born here to stay here. Fifty years ago it was the now defunct Dearborn Assembly Plant where some 6.2 million Mustangs were bucked, built, and slapped on the back for the first time from 1964-2004. Beginning in 2004, Mustang’s birthplace swung south to Ford’s state-of-the-art Flat Rock, Michigan assembly plant downriver, which has produced more than one million Mustangs since it came on line more than a decade ago. Flat Rock is building the best Mustangs in this legendary nameplate’s history.

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Regardless of where Mustangs have been produced (four plants) in the marque’s 52-year run, Detroit’s Woodward Avenue and neighboring Telegraph Road have always been real world proving grounds for Ford engineers eager to try out the latest form of Mustang power on the street. They’ve surfaced in many forms through the years ranging from classic Boss 429s and GT500s to hot Roush rocket ships to the 2016 Shelby GT350. Hot factory Mustang rides are rolling tease jobs on Woodward and Telegraph laying bait and cracking throttles for curious onlookers wondering what’s next from Ford.

Unless you were on Mars this year, you saw at least one flat-plane crank 2015-16 Shelby GT350 cracking throttle down Woodward. It can be considered ironic Flat Rock launched its first production GT350s during Woodward this year. Rather symbolic don’t you think?

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Think of Woodward Avenue as Van Nuys Boulevard East with long stretches where you can bury the pedal and let it roar for a half-mile to the next traffic light. You can set your watch by Woodward traffic lights because most are on timers like the bad old days. Lights turn green and the roar never ends. Old feuds between Chevy and Ford remain strong with Ford opening eyes and stimulating heart beats with the new GT350 as well as exciting pony rides from Roush. Mustang smokes Woodward today like it has for more than 50 years. The most popular parts of Woodward Avenue lay in Royal Oak and Birmingham due north of downtown Detroit. The excitement begins Monday and ramps up as you head toward Saturday night the following weekend. When traffic becomes bumper to bumper and you develop a headache from an overdose of unburned hydrocarbons, Woodward becomes a rolling car show where you get to hear and smell horsepower. There are big bursts of power where front wheels leave the firmament. Mustang power spoken here — Motown style.

This year, not to mention last, Woodward brought enthusiasts not one, but two Mustang cars shows in Ferndale and in Dearborn. Mustang Alley dominated Ferndale stretching out east and west from Woodward, with passing Mustang cracking throttles as they made their way up Woodward. Sunday morning played host to Mustang Memories in Dearborn sponsored by the Mustang Owners Club of Southeastern Michigan and held on Ford’s vast engineering campus.

Anyway you slice the Woodward Dream Cruise, it was a blast thanks to a broad spectrum of rolling stock from all over the globe. And if you were there for Mustang you didn’t come away disappointed.

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