Today’s Woodward Dream Cruise, the antique car and hot rod cruise down Woodward Avenue from Wide Track Circle in Pontiac to 8 Mile Road at the edge of Detroit which draws car collectors from across the United States and Canada, triggered old memories of my dad. So I hope you don’t mind my brief diversion today.
In the last few years of his life, my dad, Arie “Harry” Reyst, started buying 1950 cars, I think they were all Chevys, and fixing them up in his spare time. I particularly remember 2 such cars, a white Chevy and a red Chevy convertible (which he still owned at his death). The white Chevy, which was probably a 1955 or 1956 model, he gutted under the hood completely and rebuilt it, replacing bad parts and even spray painting parts so they appeared new. I remember Dad hanging the parts from my mom’s backyard clothesline at our house on Eastburn Avenue. Harry sold this one and later purchased the 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible, which my sister, Kathleen, had to drive if she wanted to borrow a family car.
Some of those Sunday afternoon family drives were taken in these cars. So I know if my dad still had been alive in 1995 when the first dream cruise was organized, he would have been right there cruising one of his beauties with all those youngsters, beaming his big smile. Riding in dad’s old cars, you felt special; there was this sense of pride and joy, and in my dad’s case love. So I can relate to those thousands (they say some 30,000 collector, custom, muscle, street hot rods, and special interest cars will cruise Woodward Avenue today) of owners who have come out today to cruise on by the million plus spectators along the route. I have often wondered if some car buff discovered that red ’57 Chevy on the dealer’s used car lot after it was traded in for a new car around 1966. Maybe it was spared the junk yard and can be seen cruising along in one of the many car cruises, in addition to the Woodward cruise, held throughout Metropolitan Detroit area every summer.