Nightmare at Woodward Dream Cruise

By Jeffrey Bellant August 25, 2022 727

For more than a decade, my 20-year-old nephew and I have attended the Woodward Dream Cruise, the great event in Michigan that draws classic car lovers from all over the globe.

Hundreds of thousands of people and cars cruise the event, started in 1995.

Although the official cruise is on the third Saturday of August, it has become a weeklong event over the years.

My nephew and I go on Friday and set up our chairs near the corner of Woodward Ave. and 13 Mile Road in Royal Oak. We sit near a corner gas station that has classic cars parked on display around the lot.

This year the cars and crowds were huge as the pandemic has faded.

We sit just feet from the curb of Woodward and I’m always a little nervous because so many cars rev’ up as the stoplight turns green. I actually considered moving our chairs up on the hill that serves as a berm of the site.

Anyway, we stayed put and were enjoying the day until just after noon when we heard a loud crash behind us.

An SUV had jumped the curb, over the berm and smashed into the side of a Classic mid-’60s era Chevy Nova II.

This was just 25 to 30 feet from where we were sitting.

It turns out the SUV was turning on the corner when an elderly bicyclist had crossed against the light. The SUV clipped his bike, then the driver must have panicked and hit the gas, driving over the berm and into the car parked with three others on display.

The bicyclist had a cut on his head but seemed ok. He actually got a ticket, I heard. The female driver was freaked out.

What was interesting is that everyone else looked more heartbroken than the owner of the Chevy. 

It’s an event filled with classic car lovers and owners. Everyone who saw the car felt for the owner. I’m sure they all genuflected that it wasn’t their car.  

One man across the street came over after his friend told him. The man was a Nova II owner, too, so he could imagine what the owner was feeling.

He pointed out the crunched hood of the unibody frame meant the car was likely now scrap.

The Chevy Nova II would be irreplaceable.

Dozens of people came by and all of them looked as if there had a been a death in the family.

It’s just a car, but still.

Some of these car owners spend their lives saving up for a dream car or work years restoring a car so they can bring it to events like this.

My nephew drives a 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T, in ‘Hellraisin’ purple.

He looked at me and said, “This is why I don’t bring it here.”

It’s also why I might find a new place to sit next year.

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Last modified on Thursday, 25 August 2022 15:23