Sunday, August 19, 2007

2007 Woodward Dream Cruise

What every family needs to haul the lil munchkins in.

Yesterday marked the 13th annual Woodward Dream Cruise. While the event has typically taken place in suburban Detroit, stretching from 8 mile north to Pontiac, the city of Detroit is becoming slightly more involved with each passing year. Already, the event covers some 16+ miles of road. Talks are underway to make the cruise even bigger by promoting events further down Woodward in the heart of the city of Detroit.

For car hobbyists, this is the event to be at. People come from all over the country, and all over the world, to watch as the cars go by and stroll the parking lots and downtowns they are parked in. Estimates range from 30,000-40,000 classics and over 1 million spectators. Now many events will throw out big numbers to make an them sound bigger than they really are, but in this case, perhaps they are underestimating. It is by far the largest car show you will ever see, and the biggest event metro Detroit, or most any other city in the country hosts for that matter. Consider it a Mardis Gras that celebrates the automobile.

Love this Stang!

The cruise itself has changed over the years, and in my personal opinion, this year was by far the best I had been to. Gone are the days when burnouts were allowed with people soaking the lanes with water. As much as I enjoyed those days, I saw a few too many cars get out of control and jump the curb. It's amazing nobody ever got killed back then. I myself was guilty of racking up a few tickets for doing burnouts, even after the announced crackdown. I learned my lesson after a few court dates though. There is at least one local judge that has a thorough understanding of how a line lock functions during a burnout. In addition, he was satisfied with my argument that it was accomplished in a controlled manner, not in a "careless" manner as the ticket stated. Dodged a bullet that time!

Wondering whether or not this car was show without the go, as the cage was simply a 6 point roll bar

It's hard to say whether or not the street rods are less represented than they once were, but there obviously aren't as many cruising the streets. Perhaps they are parked in one of the downtowns of one of the many participating communities. I know last year Ferndale played host to Mustang Alley, which also attracted many other Fords to that area of Woodward. The show is spread out over 16 miles, and I only venture to see approximately a 3 or 4 mile stretch of that.

Mopar winged warrior

A few years ago, it seemed that the cruise had become more of a corporate sponsored event. While corporations still play a huge part, they don't seem to be so in-your-face as they were a few years ago. Another change I noticed, it seems there is an overwhelming muscle car presence now, which I have no complaints about. The SUV's and mini vans seem to be dwindling each year, making way for more classics. Perhaps a growing number are choosing to simply park their cars off of Woodward and either walk the strip, take the free SMART Bus, or set up chairs to watch. Either way, it's a change for the better. I chose to park my ride simply after arriving this year. I didn't car to creep along at 5-10 mph for hours. You can honestly walk this cruise faster than you can drive it.

My 69 Camaro is still no closer to road ready than it was last year, and my Challenger is now my dad's Challenger. I did give my 89 Formula a clean job like it's never seen before and cruised it up there. I wasn't a few miles from home, in Highland Park, when a guy pulls aside me and yells "Man, I haven't seen a t-top car in forever!" I had to look at my girlfriend and laugh, as I pointed out in front of us and said "Hell, there's another right there in front of us," as I spotted a same generation black Iroc.

To my surprise, 3rd generation F-bodies seem to be making a stronger presence. I guess it makes sense, as kids these days have long since been priced out of the classic muscle car market, so 80's-90's Firebirds, Camaros, and Mustangs fill their needs instead. NICE 2nd generation F-bodies are also growing in numbers. The new muscle that has hit the streets in recent years is also blending nicely, such as customized 300's, Chargers, SSR's, GTO's, Vettes, Mustangs, and last built Firebirds and Camaros, even the now 20+ year old Grand Nationals mix nicely with the newer EFI crowd.

When you know your taxes are waaaaay too high

This was the longest day I had spent up on Woodward for many years. We cruised, walked around, and sat in chairs for a solid 9+ hours. Perhaps next year I'll get an even earlier start so I can make a full lap all the way up to Pontiac. It would be nice to know what resides in other areas of the cruise. Here are just a handful of the pictures I took. A link at the end will lead you to all of the nearly 300 pictures.

The wing states that this was THE test car for Chrysler experimenting with the monster wings. The license plate read "1STWING"

I agree with this guy's sticker in his side window, he isn't normal


I'm sure this Mopar has sucked more than a few competitors through that scoop.

No problem with this sort of "in-your-face" advertising!

One of the coolest bugs I've ever seen.

Ummm....I comment.

Is this an example of vehicle evolution? If so, I can't wait until in a few years we'll see the same for the Camaro and Challenger.

I didn't even know VW ever made such a thing.


Did the "good ol days" ever really end?

A few words on this one, as it is the vehicle that started it all for me, a Dodge D100 pickup. One of my friends who was a bit older than me had one, give or take a year, and color it in teal instead. It had an independent suspension out of a Plymouth Volare, slammed on the ground, a 383 stroked, and a tunnel ram sticking out of the engine bay. For me, a 15 year old at the time, it was the epiphany of badass. I helped him around the garage, occasionally being rewarded with the rumble of this beast as he fired it up. The truck is long gone, but the memories are not, nor is the bite from this original bug. If not for this truck, I may have never even learned to change my own oil, who knows.

Never in my life had I seen so many Deloreans. There were over a dozen this year, all parked together.

I can't even recall what this was, so let's just call it unique and rare.

For more pictures from the 2007 Woodward Dream Cruise, click here.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Changing the fuel pump in my '89 Formula...again

As mentioned, the fuel pump I put in 1 1/2 years ago decided to quit on me the other night. So, this weekend's plan was to replace it, this time with an AC Delco unit, as opposed to the piece of shit Carter I used last time. Armed with my trusty Haynes repair manual, I started tackling the job Saturday morning.

Once the car was supported on jacks, I removed the rear tires.

Next, I unbolted the exhaust from the cats, as well as from the rear hangers.

Removal of the panhard rod and frame brace.

Just like the last time I replaced this pump, I found myself wishing I had a few grand to drop into my car to do some performance upgrades. Replacing the pump is a pretty extensive ordeal. You have to remove you track bar, brace, exhaust, unbolt lower shock mounts, stabilizer bar, remove the springs, and then you can drop the tank. Of all the items mentioned, almost every one of them has an aftermarket alternative that would offer increased performance and handling.

Here the rear end is lowered, now only attached by brake lines and the trailing arms.

Once the rear is dopped, I could fully drop the exhaust. The system is packaged very tightly, so until the surrounding components are completely removed, forget about trying to snake the system out from the car. My muffler is an aftermarket Dynomax unit, which is looking pretty rusted. I'll likley go with a Flowmaster muffler when the time comes, as well as update my intermediate pipe to 3 inch, and perhaps omit the cats along with the air pump and fittings.

The stabilizer bar was a riot to try and remove. Just look at the placement of the lower bolt, and you gotta ask yourself, who the fuck did the servicibility study on this car? Get out pry bar for this one, or in my case, a "Ford wrech," aka steel mallet, to drive the socket onto the bolt head. Sure would have liked to swap in some poly bushings, but as it is, I already replaced both sets of nylon bushings a few years ago after snapping the stabilizer links while taking corners a bit too fast.

A set of Koni shocks reside in the front, though the backs have yet to be replaced.

Finally, with the tank removed, I could replace the pump. Getting the tank out was the easy part, getting it back in is what is the real pain in the ass. Granted, it would have been a bit easier had I bought a couple of 5 gallon containers to drain the gas, it's still hard to snake that damn fill neck back in the 1/4 panel and get everything lined up properly so the straps will bolt back on.

As is always the case, I managed to miss a step, which forced me to backtrack a bit. I had forgot to install the exhaust system during the right step, so I had to once again unbolt the panhard brace, the lower shock, and a few heat shield screws so that I could lower the rear again. Once lowered, and the spring removed, I could now snake the exhaust intermediate pipe back through to where it belonged, seen in the picture below. This whole job would have been a helluva lot easier with a hoist, which is in my future plans for my garage. Screw this laying on your back bullshit, there is never enough room to get at what you need to.

Here are a few pictures of the shop dogs hard at work.