Classic vehicles parade through Detroit for annual meetup

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — A local activist led his own "dream cruise" through the streets of Detroit that ended with a two-day classic car show in what was once one of city's most blighted neighborhoods.

The "Cavalcade of Classic Cars," a parade of vehicles built between 1907-92, Saturday snaked through Detroit neighborhoods including Grandmont, Rosedale and North Rosedale Park.

The procession, which isn't affiliated with the annual Woodward Dream Cruise, ended at Etheldra Mae Williams Park at Burgess and Acacia streets in Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood.

Craig Mondy washes the windows of his 1990 Buick Riviera during the Friends with Classic Cars meetup at Etheldra Mae Williams Park in Detroit on Sunday.

After the parade, the third annual "Friends With Classics" car show was held. The show, which is free, was scheduled to run through 7 p.m. Sunday. 

"It's beautiful seeing this parade of classic cars go through all these regal, stately old neighborhoods," said Michael Williams, the Brightmoor resident who organized the event.

The car show and parade are among Williams' many efforts to turn a once-blighted area into a scenic park bearing his late mother's name.

Clarence Simmons of Detroit admires the cars on display during the classic car meetup at Etheldra Mae Williams Park in the Brightmoor neighborhood in Detroit.

In 2014, Williams bought several parcels of of land in Brightmoor and began clearing the dense foliage and razing burned-out houses. Prior to the renovation, the area had abandoned homes with trees growing through the roofs, and a 26-foot boat had been dumped in the middle of the street.

In addition to his passion for improving his neighborhood, Williams is a classic car buff.

"I have a 1926 Model T truck, which was owned by the Faygo Beverage Co." he said. "I also have a 1990 fire truck, which I got from Grosse Pointe."

Williams also has a 1951 IHS tractor which he hopes to use to teach vehicle renovation to kids.

Mike Williams hangs out inside his 1926 Model TT during the 'Friends with Classic Cars' meetup at Etheldra Mae Williams Park, in Detroit, May 15, 2022.

"We want six students to strip down, repaint and reassemble the vehicle, to give them the skills to do customization of automotive and other modes of transportation," Williams said.

Williams said this year's show featured a "Classic car coral," in which anyone selling a vehicle built in 1992 or earlier could display at the event.

"There'll be a designated area where they can showcase their vehicles," he said. "That's free also."

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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN