Corvettes and Deuces and Firebirds, oh my! 2022 Woodward Dream Show
The auto industry has been around for more than a century, so if you’re organizing a car show and you want to feature a marque or marques, you have your choice of significant anniversaries to celebrate. In the case of the second annual Woodward Dream Show, held at the M1 Concourse facility in Pontiac, Michigan, on the Friday before the massive Woodward Dream Cruise, 2022 represented the opportunity to commemorate the 90th birthday of the Deuce, the 1932 Ford, which debuted the famed flathead Ford V-8 engine; the 55th year since the Pontiac Firebird was launched; and Lincoln’s sort-of centennial.
Sort-of because Lincoln was actually founded by Henry Leland in 1917, initially to assemble Liberty aircraft and boat engines for the military during the first world war, with a plan to sell luxury cars once hostilities ended. Leland ran into financial difficulties, in part because the U.S. government unilaterally abrograted the supposed irrevocable contract after only paying for about two-thirds of the engines that were ordered. Leland introduced the Lincoln Model L in 1920. The car is considered a classic, but the Lincoln company was financially struggling, and in 1922, Henry Ford bought Lincoln out of bankruptcy—some say so he could exact revenge on Henry Leland, who was instrumental in Ford’s second automotive venture, the Henry Ford Company, becoming Cadillac.
If 1922 can be Lincoln’s centennial, I suppose 2022 is also the 70th birthday, of sorts, of the Corvette. First introduced in January 1953 at the Motorama in New York City and later to go into production that same year, that first Corvette show car was undoubtedly built in 1952.
Consequently, there were scores of each of those nameplates represented at the Dream Show. Over 100 Corvettes, with each generation represented, were lined up on the M1 Concourse’s performance track, as were dozens of Firebird on the track and on the infield, where they were accompanied by a broad variety of Lincolns, including a rather handsome 1956 Continental Mark II, a model that is almost criminally underpriced in my opinion.
The ’32 Fords were displayed in and around the facility’s visitor center. No matter what kind of Deuce you might prefer, it was probably there—every body style and a variety of period correct hot rods you might like, with rat rods, drivers, and high dollar show cars all represented. Correct that, there was probably one kind of 1932 Ford that wasn’t on display—something completely stock, though there was a very nice 1930 Model A, whose straw-hatted owner graciously invited my 10-year-old grandson to sit in, behind the wheel, something Aryeh’s been doing at car shows with me since he was still in diapers.
Like the event’s namesake Woodward Dream Cruise, the Woodward Dream Show was heavily weighted towards domestic vehicles, but also like the Cruise, there were plenty of international brands represented as well. I spotted a handful of Ferraris, Fiats, and Alfa Romeos, along with two rally-prepped Subaru WRXs; a whale-tailed, air-cooled Porsche 911; and a very rare, and very pretty, gold 1963 Ghia 1500GT. Other international rarities were a Ford RS200 homologation special for Group B rallying and a gullwing Autozam parked next to a Nissan Figaro.
If you were a history buff, there was the historic “Black Ghost” Challenger along with another black car, a Duesenberg Model J, considered by many to be the greatest American car ever made. There were even a number of vintage motorcyles for two-wheel enthusiasts, including a stunning Norton Commando and a four-cylinder Henderson sporting the very definition of patina.
Attendees and car owners alike seemed to be having a good time and were in good spirits. While we were admiring a Ferrari, the owner heard me tell my grandson, who has red hair, that Testarossa means “redhead” in Italian, and without us asking he opened up the car’s engine compartment to expose the flat-12 engine’s red cylinder heads.
Car owners were treated to a buffet lunch in the vistors’ center, while paying attendees could buy food and drink from the PRI-sponsored food tent or a number of food trucks from local restaurants. The kids’ tent had pedal cars for the real little ones and a nice slot car track for boys and girls of all ages, and you could even take a ride on the M1 Concourse performance track, driven by one of the facility’s professional driving instructors.
We look forward to whatever anniversaries the third annual Woodward Dream Show celebrates next year.
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