Mustang Alley and Mustang Memories celebrate 50 years of our favorite pony car during Woodward Dream Cruise week
By Steve Turner
Photos by Stacy Stangz
If you are into cars, there is no doubt the Woodward Dream Cruise is on your event bucket list. An ad-hoc celebration of all things automotive held on the roads of the Motor City, this event brings out all sorts of cool hardware, making it a fantasy land for car people. For Mustang fans, in particular, the presence has continued to grow thanks to the efforts of Ford and the Mustang Owners Club Southeastern Michigan.
Naturally, this yearâ€™s festivities took on a special significance in accordance with the Mustangâ€™s big 50th birthday. In addition to the traditional Mustang Alley and MOCSEM Mustang Memories car shows, there were a host of other activities to enjoy. There were track days at Gingerman and Waterford Hills along with tours of cool facilities like the Roush collection and Watson Racing. There was also a special tour of the Mustangâ€™s birthplace, the Flat Rock Assembly Plant.
There was so much going on, you really had to pick your spots, and team SVTP was on hand to soak up some highlights of the Mustang action.
Organized by Mike Rey and his MOCSEM crew, and held at the Ford Conference & Event Center, the Mustang Heroes banquet was one for the ages. Offered as an optional upgrade for Mustang Memories show goers, this night was the kind of experience that would give any Mustang fan chills.
Over 60 Mustang heroes were on hand, from modern-day heroes like Dave Pericak, and Global Performance Vehicle Chief Engineer, Jamal Hameedi to legends like Neil Resler and Jack Telnak it was a star-studded gathering. The club made them all honorary members that night.
â€œWe had our current chief engineer, Dave Pericak, just tear the roof off the place as we introduced the right-hand drive Mustang to the entire world live for the first time ever!â€ Mike said in his post-event wrap-up. â€œDave drove me into the middle of the CEC in a brand-new 2015 Anniversary edition Mustang to start off the evening!â€
Before the duo drove in, Dave wowed the crowd via a live video feed of his smoky burnout using the heralded line-lock feature. We have to say they know how to start a party. The burnout kicked off a night of speeches, giveaways, autographs, and fun for all. If you werenâ€™t one of the 500 attendees, you are definitely wishing you were now.
For 16 years, Ford has hosted a gathering on the third Saturday of August. This year the Mustang Alley event moved to the west a smidge to the intersection at 9 Mile and Woodward in Ferndale, Michigan, so it could expand capacity its capacity beyond the previous limit of 800 cars.
At the 2014 edition, 1,167 cars registered for this display of pony car pride in the thick of the Woodward action. With all the automotive chaos around the motor city, it is great to have this little enclave of Mustangs for Blue Oval fans to focus on. It is typically one of the most crowded spots along the 16-mile stretch of Woodward that hosts the Dream Cruise, and this year the crop of cars did not disappoint.
Dating back to 1975, the Mustang Owners Club Southeastern Michigan has celebrated the Mustang, and it has been hosting shows. Its annual Mustang Memories show has become part of the Woodward vernacular for Ford Fans, and it has taken place at impressive sites like Fordâ€™s world headquarters.
Like Mustang Alley, this show also relocated in 2014. You canâ€™t knock its new spot, however. This the show was held at the Ford Product Development Center. Yes, a car show at the place where Ford tests its pre-production and production vehicles is just about as cool as it gets. Besides, the new location allowed the show to accommodate more cars.
Another change for this year was dropping the judging aspect of the show, which definitely made for a more relaxed environment. That really helped on the morning of the show, when there was a bit of rain. It didnâ€™t scare people off, as they werenâ€™t worried about having a perfectly clean car. As such, 1,218 cars showed up.
Those that did participate picked up a pretty sweet goody bag and a commemorative plaque just for coming out. That swag was so nice, some of it went for good money on eBay after the show. Thatâ€™s just the kind of event that MOCSEM puts on.