The 2004 Woodward Dream Cruise rumbled the pavement of suburban Detroit for the 10th consecutive year last Saturday. To many who grew up in the late 1950s to early ’70s, cruising was an activity driven by the love of cars, sex and rock’n’roll.

Tony Ding

In a time unknown to MTV and instant messaging, young Americans gathered around cars usually borrowed from Dad and “hung out,” by driving to nowhere and experiencing freedom in the heat of their summer nights.

Now, decades later, the baby-boomer generation that invented this classic pastime have re-invigorated cruising, started 10 years ago by a Detroit area plumber who organized a fundraising campaign based on a classics car show. Through unprecidented tolerance from local police, the “pioneering cruisers” paraded down Woodward Ave., unofficially starting a new tradition.

The Cruise, which drew over a million participants with more than 40,000 vehicles this year, has transcended generation gaps and made a once late-night teenage affair into a weekend-long family festival. From Pontiac in the North to Ferndale in the South, along a 16-mile stretch of the historic pavement of Woodward Ave., cruisers and spectators paid their nostalgic respects to a bygone era.

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