Five of the coolest cars at the Dream Cruise
You probably can't find a 1992 Mazda Autozam AZ-1 all that easily in Japan. At the Dream Cruise, it was a unicorn — and one of the very coolest cars on the road.
The tiny, gull-winged, mid-engine AZ-1, smaller than a Miata, has a 3-cylinder engine that maxes out at 71 horsepower. Owner Brandon Horsch of Waterford Township acquired it under the United States' so-called 25-year law, which allows the import of cars that don't meet American regulations after a quarter-century.
It's right-hand drive, and Horsch kept it in the right-hand lane all day.
For Peter Patrick of Southfield, coolness came in a similarly small package. He turned a golf cart into a cherry red '65 Mustang.
He fabricated the sheet metal himself and found the grille, dash components and other Mustang-exclusive parts at swap meets. The project took him seven months to build. He also makes some Chevy carts.
“Kids love them,” he said. The faux Ford only hits 15 miles per hour, so it couldn't set foot or tires on Woodward. But it was a hit in Mustang Alley in Ferndale.
Jimmy Fox, 27, of Shelby Township bought his 2019 McLaren 570s Spider only a few weeks ago and brought it to the Dream Cruise to share the wealth.
The $192,500-or-so supercar attracted a crowd to where it was parked along Woodward in Birmingham.
“Every since I was kid, I have loved high-performance cars,” the grizzled 27-year-old said.
Coolness is about attitude as well as allure, and brothers Tonino and Marco Zaccagnini of Lake Orion were having an irresistibly good time with their 2014 SRT Dodge Viper GTS.
The vision in red was one of only 900 handmade that year in Chrysler's Conner Avenue plant, which has become a museum and meeting space.
“We were driving it the past few nights on Woodward," said Marco Zaccagnini, 40. “I like showing it to everyone because there’s not that many of them around.”
If Jacob Sparknan had the deciding vote for coolest Cruise car of 2019 — and of course, if there were such an award — the trophy would go to the BMW i8.
"BMW i8! Wooo-hoooo-hoooo!" he shouted, thrusting his arms in the air from the passenger seat.
Jacob, who has cerebral palsy, was one of dozens of people with disabilities who got spirited away in The Detroit News' borrowed i8 and other muscle cars at the annual D-MAN Foundation charity rides.
D-MAN stands for Danny's Miracle Angel Network. It's named for the younger brother of founder Ziad Kassab, who was struck by a car at age 7 and spent the next 16 years as a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic before passing away.
The i8, BMW's carbon-fiber, mid-engine BMW hybrid, was a particular favorite of D-MAN clients with its scissor doors and orange interior.
The News was happy to oblige with ride after ride. The BMW might be a work of art, but first and foremost, it's a car.
And a particularly cool one.
Staff writers Neal Rubin, Henry Payne, Kalea Hall, Ian Thibodeau and Evan James Carter contributed.