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FCA, GM and Ford bringing classics to Woodward

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News
A Dodge Charger Hellcat and Challenger Hellcat are seen on the track.

Classic car lovers will have plenty to admire as Detroit’s automakers bring some of their favorite new and historic vehicles and muscle cars out to the 22nd annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as well as General Motors Co.’s Chevy brand are upping their games at the Dream Cruise with more events planned, as the cruise turns into nearly a week-long marketing event.

Mike Bernacchi, professor of business administration with the University of Detroit Mercy, said the Dream Cruise, with its 1 million people draw, is a perfect venue for carmakers to market to people who love driving. He expects to see companies add more special events in future years.

“The Dream Cruise is the most relaxed way to do it. You can’t get folks in any better state of mind,” he said. “It really has to do with the overall environment. If I was an automaker, boy I sure as heck, if I had something to sell, I’d put my flagpole up.”

Fiat Chrysler will display more than 70 Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Mopar and Fiats at the Northwood Plaza at 13 Mile and Woodward in Royal Oak. Hours are 5-9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday. New models and classics from the Walter P. Chrysler Museum collection will include a 1968 Fiat 124 Spider paired with a 2017 Fiat 124 Spider, a 1944 Willys Jeep MB and an original 1949 Dodge Half-Ton Pickup. Jeep, celebrating its 75th anniversary, will feature the recently built Wrangler 75th Salute.

Dozens of Dodge Vipers will be featured as part of Viper Club Night 6-9 p.m. Thursday at Northwood Plaza. Head to Pontiac on Friday to see drag racing on Woodward that will be legal — at least for the 350 drivers who registered.

Events: Woodward Dream Cruise Week

Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge will set up at the new M1 Concourse track and car condo development at South Boulevard and Woodward. The event runs noon-10 p.m., with racing beginning about 1 p.m. A portion of Woodward will shut down between South Boulevard and E. Wilson. Fans can grab a seat on bleachers inside the M1 Concourse.

Also inside, fans can view a Show ‘n’ Shine with 1,000 muscle and classic cars, and Dodge and SRTs lineup and experience first-come, first-served Dodge Thrill rides in Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcats and the Viper ACR with professional drivers.

“Woodward is one of (if not the) most famous ‘Muscle Car Corridors’ in the country and, as far as we know, this is the first time ever that street racing on it will be legal,” said Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger cars for Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat for FCA North America. “Drag racers will be able to show their muscle when Woodward is closed from South Boulevard to Rapid Street in Pontiac to create what is sure to be an epic kick off to the weekend’s cruise events.”

Chevrolet is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Camaro sports car and has several events planned for fans and enthusiasts, including a plant tour Thursday at Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant and a Camaro 50 cruise on Friday.

The GM Design team also will host its seventh annual Design on Woodward car show 1-8 p.m. Wednesday at the Northwood Plaza parking lot.

Chevy also will have its performance division display at Memorial Park near 13 Mile and Woodward in Royal Oak open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Look for a selection of Camaros over the car’s six generations plus electric vehicles, Corvettes and more 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday at the Chevy display on Old Woodward near where it meets Woodward in Birmingham.

Ford Motor Co. will again set up shop along Nine Mile at Woodward in Ferndale, with Mustangs and the Ford GT displayed on the east side of Nine Mile. Ford cars, trucks and SUVs will be housed on the west side of the intersection. Hours are 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.

The popular fan attraction Mustang Alley, featuring more than 920 registered pony cars, kicks off at 7 a.m. Saturday on Nine Mile, east of Woodward.

“Ford has been supporting Woodward for over a decade,” said Henry Ford III, global marketing manager for Ford Performance.

“And it’s a fun way for us to spend time with fans and show off the latest Ford products and innovations. Mustang Alley has become a fixture of the event at Nine Mile, and this year we’re looking forward to providing a host of activities for any automobile enthusiast.”

Sunday after the Cruise, Ford will host up to 900 Mustang enthusiasts at its “Mustang Memories All-Ford Show & Swap” event at the automaker’s World Headquarters in Dearborn.

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