Ford Motor Company helped welcome about 1.5 million car and truck lovers to the 2007 Woodward Dream Cruise last Saturday with two displays that attracted Ford fans like a magnet to a steel bumper. With its displays, "Cruisin’ Legends" in Birmingham and "Mustang Alley" down the avenue in Ferndale, Ford mixed old and new for a fun family experience.
On the north end, in Birmingham’s Shain Park, guests were treated to a variety of fun and informative activities designed to show off the company's new cars and trucks, which were surrounded by more than 90 vintage Ford vehicles displayed by various car clubs.
“We run the gamut from families to Ford executives with their historic vehicles,” said Connie Fontaine, Sponsorships and Multi-cultural Marketing manager. “It’s nice to see the families interact with our products and enjoy the day.”
The big buzz seemed to be around the 500-horsepower Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999, which only three days earlier broke the land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats with a speed of 207.297 miles per hour.
Soon after the record setting run in Utah, crews loaded the car in a hauler and raced to Birmingham, where they arrived at 5 a.m. Saturday -- just in time to show the car off to the cruisers. The history-making hydrogen-fueled car still had salt from the run in its wheel wells.
“It was a dream born 18 months ago but the engineering, build, test and race all were done in six months,” said Matthew N. Zuehik, product test engineer, fuel cell and hybrid experimental vehicles, Research & Advanced Engineering, and project leader for the 999. “We wanted to tell people Ford is legitimately into hydrogen; we’re proving fuel cells are real and Ford is in the game.”
Also on hand at Shain Park were Ford Racing and vehicle racing representatives from Saleen, Inc.; Roush Racing, Steeda Autosports; Unique Performance Concepts and Barrett-Jackson, which organizes car auctions and classic car events.
“I love all the Fords, and the Mustangs are awesome,” said Adam Poznanski of Davisville, Pa., who had just beaten his dad in the Ford Racing drag race simulator. “We came last year and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Six miles south, at Mustang Alley, hundreds of Mustangs lined 9 Mile Road just east of Woodward.
Jeff Gustafson of Oak Park, Mich., visited Mustang Alley with his dad. Fourteen years ago, Gustafson was involved in a car crash that put him into a coma for nearly five months. While in the coma, his father visited every day and promised he would buy him whatever car he wanted if he came out of the coma.
Gustafson awoke and has been the proud owner of a 1965 Mustang ever since.
"This is so much fun, all these Mustangs here together," he said.
"It's awesome, I love it," said C. Steven McCarley, vice president of the Mustang Club of America. "(Ford) understands the enthusiast is a big part of the market; they are people who talk about the product and help build the name."