Each year on the third Saturday in August, more than 1 million people gather on the legendary 16-mile stretch of Woodward Avenue in Southeast Michigan to celebrate classic car culture at the Woodward Dream Cruise. This year, the Cruise celebrated its 22nd anniversary. If you’re not from Michigan, you may have never heard of the Woodward Dream Cruise and you’re missing out. The Dream Cruise is the prime opportunity to admire more than 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and other special-interest vehicles.
The Dream Cruise is the perfect time to reminisce about designs of the past and look ahead to the designs of the future. With classic cars such as the Mustang, Chevrolet Bel Air, Oldsmobile 442, Cadillac Coupe de Ville and Mercury Montego, it’s hard not to get excited about what might come next.
At our Great Designs in Steel Seminar, Ralph Gilles, head of design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. talked about his first love, the Dodge Charger from the Dukes of Hazzard, and how the car helped him realize that he wanted to design cars. Most people would be able to tell you a similar story of their first car love and how the look of that vehicle influences their purchasing decisions today.
The Dream Cruise gives us the opportunity to admire how far we’ve come in the design world and how new steels have allowed designers greater flexibility to make their visions come to life. Whether you’re watching vehicles pass as they cruise or take a peek inside one of the classics parked along the roadway, you’ve likely seen examples of how new steels have influenced design over the decades.
From the stamped steel used for the fenders and roof, to the hardened steels used in the suspension control arms, sway bars and bumper and drivetrain mounts, steel has always been instrumental in vehicle design inside and out. These days we have “new steels” like ultra high-strength steel and advanced high-strength steel, which allow designers to get even more creative with vehicle design using thinner and lighter weight materials.
If you’ve been to the Cruise before, tell us about your favorite vehicles driving down Woodward and share your photos with us on Facebook or Twitter using #SteelMatters – in turn, we’ll share that vehicle’s steel story!