Detroit is home to everything automobile, including museums dedicated to its history and shows displaying its classic models. That being said, there is nothing better than taking a car for a drive, whether you're along for the ride or part of the crowd along a classic cruise route; and there are plenty of car cruises, drives and road trips in and around Detroit.
The big daddy of all cruises within the Metro-Detroit area (and possibly the world) is the Woodward Dream Cruise. It started off as a soccer fundraiser in 1995. These days it draws over 40,000 classic cars from around the world that cruise along Woodward Avenue through nine communities. Each of the communities along the route contributes its own shows and/or events in celebration, such as Mustang Alley and the Emergency Vehicle Show in Ferndale.
While the Woodward Dream Cruise is the area's biggest cruise event, other communities have gotten in on the act, including the Mt. Clemens Cruise, Gratiot Cruise in Clinton Township, Cruisin' Hines, Rockin' Rods n' Rochester, and Cruisin' Downriver. The Cruisin' Michigan website keeps track of both car events and clubs.
NASCAR and Race Tracks
If cruising is too slow and sedate for you, there are several car racing events in the Metro-Detroit area. Most of these are hosted by the Michigan International Speedway. In addition to NASCAR events, the speedway hosts a track event for the Concours d'Elegance. The event allows classic car owners a chance to drive their cars around a real race track.
If you want to actually take a ride in a classic car, head to Greenfield Village, where you can take a ride in a Model-T or Model AA Bus.
Drives and Road Trips
Whether or not your car is a classic, you can participate in a road trip to the Upper Peninsula (and back) as part of the Michigan Gumball Rally. The two-day event has cash prizes, benefits charities, and usually takes place in August.
Alternatively, you can do your own themed road trip in or across Michigan. In addition to a host of fall “color” tours within the state, there are several self-guided “foodie” tours that explore each region's unique cuisine. The road trips / drives can cover over 150 miles and range in theme from Frankenmuth Delights to the path of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Other road-trip themes include wine, lake, artist, dunes, beach towns, lighthouses, and cider mills.
In the Metro-Detroit area, there are driving tours that explore food, wine and fall colors, as well as an automotive heritage tour, a tour of old US-12, and a drive through Jackson, Ann Arbor and Monroe that explores old Indian trails, a historic tavern and a battlefield.
Local Organizations and Resources
The MotorCities National Heritage Area was designated in 1998 to preserve the heritage of the automobile in southeastern Michigan and is one of 49 National Heritage Areas in The U.S. It includes almost 1200 auto-related sites, attractions and events. It also sponsors Autopalooza, a celebration of the auto through major shows and events.