Moments only found at the Woodward Dream Cruise
The Woodward Dream Cruise is Pure Michigan. Rich Lytle’s rolling recliner is pure Dream Cruise.
So is a dad explaining an automotive camel to his kids, and a Rolls Royce with a trunk full of toy sharks, and just about everything else associated with a long, loud, deliciously Metro Detroit day.
Maybe you could see some of it somewhere else, but you wouldn’t see all of it in the space of a few miles.
Lytle of Warren parked his custom motorized scooter on the corner of Cambourne and Woodward in Ferndale.
He mounted a recliner on the scooter, fixed a cooler to the back, and rolled through Ferndale before finding a spot to post up.
Thinking you might want something like it for next August? The chair is for sale, he said — even though “I usually have the best seat.”
Ever wonder if the Joker really got away after the Batmobile lost its wheel? Well, wonder no longer as the Dark Night apparently got a Polaris Slingshot and was seen chasing his nemesis down Woodward near College Street in Ferndale.
Elsewhere, Jeff Taylor of Northville was sharing his expertise — and more important, his enthusiasm — with his 9-year-old son.
First he took Brady to the forward end of a Chevrolet El Camino parked on Old Woodward in Birmingham, which was closed to traffic south of Maple.
“It looks like a car in front and a truck in back,” Taylor said. “Isn’t that cool?”
Brady agreed that it was.
“That’s the experience I want to share with him,” said Taylor, a middle school science and math teacher who uses car concepts like brakes and friction in the classroom. “Both of his grandfathers are car guys, too, so he’s hooked. He’s in.”
Taylor’s teal 1992 Camaro was parked down the block. He bought the car with his dad when he was 17, and it has finally aged into officially being a historic vehicle.
The Camaro carried Taylor and his wife, Jennifer, to their high school prom. “You can go and buy a $70,000 Corvette,” he said, “but you can’t duplicate that,” any more than you can copy the glee of a car guy and a car kid surrounded by hoopla and history.
Peter Kohnken of Highland Township arrived at Dream Cruise by himself, but he’s a kid at heart. A mildly delinquent kid.
Kohnken has a sticker on the rear bumper of his car: “Live simply so that others may simply live.”
The car is a maroon and taupe 1957 Rolls Royce, and above the bumper was an open trunk full of stuffed sharks singing “One Way or Another.”
“They’re my lawyers,” said Kohnken, 78, a retired EPA enforcement officer.
As for the bumper sticker, the satchel full of fake money on the passenger seat and the jar of Grey Poupon on a shelf next to the right-hand-drive steering wheel, “I’m crazy. That’s why.”
“I’m an in-your-face guy,” he explained further — but also a softie.
He was giving the plush sharks away to any little kid who showed an interest in them.
Also in the kid-at-heart category, as well as the kid-on-Woodward category, was Robin DeDecker. She lives in Gibraltar and takes owning a real-life Transformer as a calling.
With her husband, Mark, at the wheel, she was peering out the window of their limited edition Chevrolet Camaro wearing a Bumblebee mask. Even the heat couldn’t stop her.
The Camaro is a limited edition 2010 modeled after the car from the movie — in bumblebee yellow, of course.
“She’s a trooper for putting that helmet on,” Mark DeDecker said. “Every year we try to do something different.”
Their car is one of just 300 made. The engine is emblazoned with the movie character and the advisory, “bee powered.” The personalized license plate leaves no doubts either:
Five stories above Woodward but not far from the spirit of the day, Swedish auto executive Bo Andersson and some of his friends watched the cruise from one of the two penthouse patios of his apartment in Birmingham’s Greenleaf Trust building.
Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander used to live one floor down, if that helps give a sense of the loftiness.
The rent is $15,000 a month, a friend says. That’s about a tenth of what you’d pay in Manhattan — and in New York, they don’t even have a Dream Cruise.
Staff writers Ian Thibodeau and Lauren Abdel-Razzaq contributed.