A slower Woodward Dream Cruise delights Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Mich.. — Most of the tire-screeching and roar of engines and exhaust systems was a block away, out on the “new” Woodward Avenue bypass, where thousands of special cars raced up and down in the 2013 Woodward Dream Cruise.

Woodward once took one through Birmingham and the street now is referred to as Old Woodward. The pace here Aug. 17 was slower, with crowds delighting in the cars parked for their inspection and the pleasant shops offering coffees and breakfast.

Tim Hohman and his 9-year-old daughter Elizabeth dedicated themselves to preparing their 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

The Hohmans, up from Wooster, Ohio. for their second Dream Cruise, dusted and buffed the Trans Am with its T-top, hood graphics and turbo 4.9-liter V-8. It would have passed the more rigorous inspection.

Tim Hohman said Elizabeth is next in line for the car. although when asked she did not hesitate to say the Mustang is her favorite. Hohman said she had longed to see a pink Mustang while in Detroit and they lucked out, spotting one the night before the Saturday cruise.

A tall 1940 Buick 80 Series among ground-hugging Trans Ams and GTOs? Tom Hoad of Birmingham said he parked his Buick there because he is a member of the Royal Pontiac Club and this was their designated section.

Powered by a straight eight, Hoad’s Buick was painted a soft yellow. “It was a factory color: sequoia cream,” he said, launching into half a bagel and a cup of coffee.

The 80 Series was available only as a four-door sedan or as a convertible sedan, he said. It shared a chassis with the 90 Series on which limousines were built.

Ian and Holly Webb trailered their 1971 Gremlin up from Wooster, Ohio, to Birmingham only to discover there was another white-with-red Gremlin in their designated area. Small world. Webb said people kept stopping by to talk and tell him that either they once owned a Gremlin or knew someone who did.

“We bought this two years ago — it was a California car,” explained Ian Webb, who continues to search for the original buyer. “It was all original. We were planning to just start driving it before discovering it needed everything.”

Webb said the Gremlin had a full, rotisserie do-over: “every nut and every bolt” was inspected and fixed or replaced, he said.

“It has only 14 miles on it since the restoration,” Webb added.

Strange and unidentified except for its Ontario license plates, a blue late-model Studebaker Daytona with vinyl sunroof, beaded fringe at the edge of the headliner and a steering mechanism with two handles but not complete wheel sat among its South Bend-built siblings.

The Ontario Studebaker was parked adjacent to Bill Peacocke’s stunning black 1964 Studebaker Hawk Gran Turismo with its red leatherette interior.

Peacocke, of Westland, Mich., said he has owned the Hawk for three years. It’s history includes time in California, Texas and Cleveland, he said. It was repainted sometime around 1977. Powered by a 289 two-barrel his Hawk is one of 1,767 built, Peacocke said.