June 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Cruisin' Downriver draws thousands of car enthusiasts

Tom Yandrasitch's 1967 Chevy Camaro gleamed in the summer sun as it sat along Fort Street ready for admirers passing by.

Yandrasitch, of Taylor, was among the thousands of car enthusiasts participating in the 15th annual Cruisin' Downriver Saturday.

"This is the first classic '60s car I've ever had," said Yandrasitch, 53, as he wiped down the car's "hugger orange" exterior. He said he gets a lot of questions including if his vehicle, which he's owned for five years, is super charged.

"I expect to put a super charger on it in the near future," he said.

About 300,000 people are expected to attend the cruise along Fort in the cities of Lincoln Park, Southgate, Wyandotte and Riverview.

The cruise Saturday starts and ends in Riverview with cars are making their way from just north of Sibley to Warwick in Lincoln Park before looping around. Early in the day thousands were set up with lawn chairs and tents to watch the cars go by.

Fort Street remains open for all traffic during the cruise which will end around 10 pm.

Participants say they come to the cruise not only for the cars, but also the camaraderie.

"I have a lot of friends that share the hobby," Yandrasitch.

The cruise is a family fun event for Steve Vernon, 51, and his daughter Jessica Vernon, 22, both of Warren.

Steve Vernon was looking for a more visible place to park his purple 1968 Plymouth Barracuda near the Meijer store in Southgate. He's owned his car for 10 years and said he likes to see other Barracudas as well as Chevelles when he attends classic car events.

Jessica Vernon was a bit broader in her classic car tastes.

"I just like when they have something unique about them, something that sticks out," she said.

Richard Law, 76, of Gibraltar proudly showed off his blue 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 convertible. He's the original owner and recalled purchasing the car on Aug. 10, 1957.

"I modified it six days later," he said.

Over the years Law has changed the color of the car six times. The doors are electric and the hood now opens electronically.

Law's father was a mechanic and showed him how to do the work himself, he said. He also went to welding school.

Law takes his car to about 50 events in the summer and considers Cruisin' Downriver the best.

"This is the biggest thing for Downriver," he said.


Cruisers travel southbound on Fort in Southgate. / Todd McInturf / The Detroit News
These tennis balls fill the top of eight mechanical Hilborn fuel injection ... (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)