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Chevy using Dream Cruise to celebrate Camaro’s 50th

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

Chevrolet is showing off its muscle during Woodward Dream Cruise week as it celebrates 50 years of the Chevrolet Camaro.

A classic Chevy Camaro Rally Sport was spotted cruising Sunday August 7, 2011 along Woodward Avenue near 13 Mile in Royal Oak.

General Motors Co.’s largest brand has a slew of events in store for Camaro owners and the public to celebrate the milestone, and the 1967 Camaro No. 100001 will be on display and put on the National Historic Vehicle Register.

“Dream Cruise is such a big momentous event, which is right in the wheelhouse of what these people like to do,” Chevrolet marketing manager Todd Christensen said. “It just felt right.”

Chevy announced the Camaro during a press conference on June 28, 1966, and the 1967 model arrived in dealerships in September 1966. The Camaro took a seven-year production hiatus when the fourth generation ended production in 2002 and the fifth generation returned in 2009 as a 2010 model. The bow-tie brand used a fan event in May 2015 on Belle Isle to reveal the sixth-generation to about 1,000 owners, fans and media.

First Camaro built to be displayed at Woodward Dream Cruise

The Historic Vehicle Association plans a news conference Wednesday in Birmingham where it will induct the first Camaro into its National Historic Vehicle Register, a select group of just 14 vehicles.

The Camaro, owned by a private, out-of-state owner, will be on display in a protective glass box at the corner of Old Woodward and Woodward Avenue in Birmingham Wednesday through Saturday. An official lighting ceremony of the Camaro in the box is slated for 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and is open to the public. It will be lit each evening through Saturday, when it will be incorporated into Chevy’s display.

Hundreds of Camaro owners on Thursday are expected to tour GM’s Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant, where Camaros are built. Chevy had to halt registrations at 550 Camaros due to limited space. Owners of the muscle car are coming from as far away as Texas and California and will hear from Camaro team members including chief engineer Al Oppenheiser.

Mike Lee, 54, Houston, Texas, is planning to drive his white 2012 ZL1 hardtop to the Dream Cruise in a “Camarovan” with a half dozen other Camaros. Lee, who says his modified Camaro cranks out more than 700 horsepower, plans to take part in the plant tour, a rally cruise and will park in a Camaro Corral Saturday on Woodward in Pleasant Ridge.

A Mercury Cougar chases a Camaro Z-28 through Ferndale in the Woodward Dream Cruise in 2012.

“The Dream Cruise has been on my bucket list for a long time,” said Lee, who likes to take his ZL1 to the drag strip and plans to order a 2017 ZL1. “The 50th and the Dream Cruise really tied it together so we can do it all in one go.”

On Friday, Chevy is inviting the public and Camaro owners to the Camaro 50 Rally down Woodward. A “Camaros and Coffee” event starts at 7:30 a.m. in the Joe Louis Arena Riverfront parking lot, though space is limited. The brand is expecting some 350 Camaro owners will bring out their favorite muscle car. And they will cruise, too.

Chevy says around 9:45 a.m., police escorts and a 50th Anniversary edition Camaro will lead participants in front of the Renaissance Center, before heading north on I-375 to I-75 to 8 Mile west to Woodward Avenue north.

On Saturday, the official Dream Cruise Day, a Camaro from each generation will be part of tribute honoring the car.

The Camaros will be on display 9 a.m.-9 p.m. at the Chevrolet space between Old Woodward and Woodward Avenue in Birmingham.

The 2017 50th Anniversary Edition SS Camaro, new 2017 ZL1 and 2017 1LE editions, some Bumblebees from the “Transformers” movie series, plus iconic Camaros, will be shown in Chevy’s display.

An 11-foot by 60-foot Camaro mural paying homage to the muscle car over its six generations will be a centerpiece of the exhibit.

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