Dan Durst didn't know he wanted an authentic U.S. Forest Service Jeep until he saw one at a little used car lot near his home.
Then he wanted authentic stickers for his authentic Jeep. That took some work — but if you're looking for one trait that embodies the Woodward Dream Cruise, it might be persistence.
Durst, 58, is a tool-and-die maker from Cedar Springs, outside Grand Rapids. The Jeep is a mint green '63, from the era where a Jeep had four shift levers and you needed to get out and lock the hubs to travel in four-wheel-drive.
The U.S. Forest Service had used it in Colorado. Hoping to add the decals that had been removed for prior repainting, he contacted the forest service and was rebuffed at three levels.
Finally, he reached someone up high who said, "That's what I drove when I first started!" Now he has a showpiece with all the proper signage and a rear bumper sticker with a picture of Smokey the Bear and a reminder to "Use your ashtray."
He trailered the Jeep to the Walmart in Troy and then drove it to Royal Oak.
"It's perfect for cruising Woodward," he said. "You put it in low gear and creep along."
One of the younger cruisers Saturday was also in no danger of a ticket for squealing tires, and in line for a classic Dream Cruise moment. If we can have a campaign for Pure Michigan, in fact, this can be Pure Dream Cruise.
Adelynn Harris, 18 months old, was making the rounds of Mustang Alley in Ferndale in a miniature Mercedes SL500 that was remote-controlled by her Dad, T.J.
Sharing the wealth, the angelic driver of the convertible was offering a Ritz cracker to everyone who strolled by.
Roger Lester of Keystone Heights, Florida, did not have crackers but gave away a free punch line.
He and his wife, Connie, were in town for a car convention and sensibly decided to stay an extra day to attend the Dream Cruise.
Since 2000, the 77-year-olds have driven their cascade green 1962 Corvette Roadster with its matching two-tone trailer 100,000 miles across the U.S. And what goes in the trailer?
"My wife's shoes," Roger said.
Dave Brice drove in from Dearborn on Saturday in a car so splendidly obscure that the only one most people have ever seen is in the Henry Ford Museum.
All he wanted was an electric vehicle, he said, for the short commute to his job as a building engineer with Dearborn Public Schools. Since golf carts aren't street legal and Teslas are expensive, he went online and spent a shade less than $1,000 on a 1977 Sebring-Vanguard CitiCar, a tiny red wedge that arrived on the market three decades ahead of its time.
Six-horsepower electric motor. Top speed of 35-40 mph. Range of 35 to 40 miles, "depending on whether you hit a hill."
Brice, 41, said his other cars are a 1987 Pontiac Fiero with a V-8 Cadillac engine and a 1996 Buick Roadmaster station wagon that's 10 feet longer than the CitiCar.
It goes without saying that he also has a tolerant wife. If the CitiCar is unusual even for the Dream Cruise, you have to suspect that the tolerant spouse comes standard.
Ann and Jerry Snyderman of Huntington Woods missed the first Dream Cruise in 1995, but they have availed themselves of every opportunity since to sit and watch the cars roll by.
They don't get behind the wheel, but hunker down in green armchairs and gaze contentedly for hours.
"There’s a million and a half people, they get together, and it’s a happy occasion," Jerry said. "It’s like a Woodstock for old people."
It's Pure Michigan — and Pure Dream Cruise.
Staff writers Neal Rubin, Alex Nester, Kalea Hall and Ian Thibodeau contributed.