Township resident Barry Barber  will bring his restored, authentic  replica Batmobile to the Bloomfield Township Car Club Classic Aug. 17.

Township resident Barry Barber will bring his restored, authentic replica Batmobile to the Bloomfield Township Car Club Classic Aug. 17.

Photo provided by Greg Kowalski, of Bloomfield Township


Holy Dream Cruise, Batman!

Woodward Dream Cruise returns for more 4-wheel fun

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published August 6, 2019

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BIRMINGHAM/BLOOMFIELD/PONTIAC — When Bloomfield Township resident Barry Barber takes his classic concept car — a Lincoln Futura with a 383 Chevy Hydro torque engine — on the road, he gets more than just gawkers. He gets fanatics.

“It’s a blast,” Barber said. “People go crazy when they see it. They take pictures of it when I’m stopped at red lights.”

Barber’s ride is more than just a shiny restored classic. It’s an authorized exact replica of the original Batmobile from the 1960s-era television show. The 19-foot-3-inch car purchased from an Arizona museum was created by a fiberglass company in Indiana, and was authorized by DC Comics and then Disney, which holds the rights to all things Batman.

But those are just details. What people really want to know is the fun stuff: Does fire come out of the back?

Yup.

How about that signature roar?  

You betcha.

The Caped Crusader’s car isn’t exactly eco-friendly, though. After all, it weighs 5,300 pounds.

“It only gets about 7 miles to the gallon, but so what? I went to the (gas) station the other day and people followed me in,” Barber said.

Classic car fans and classic comic fans alike can get an up-close and personal look at Barber’s Batmobile during the Bloomfield Township Classic Car Show 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Mercedes-Benz of Bloomfield Hills dealership on Woodward Avenue, just south of Big Beaver Road. The show will be held in conjunction with the township’s Bell Wells Car Club Classic, taking place at Comerica Bank, just south of the dealership.

The Batmobile won’t be the only classic on-site. A replica of an 1886 Mercedes-Benz will also be on display, courtesy of the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn. True motor heads know the vehicle as the world’s first internal combustion engine automobile. And plenty of other cars will be on display, too, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Dream Cruise.


Birmingham Cruise Event
Just south on M-1, in the city’s downtown, will be the annual Birmingham Cruise Event, hosted by the Birmingham Shopping District. The festivities will kick off at 9 a.m. and will wrap up at 5 p.m., with plenty of classic cars, food, live music and more taking place in between.

Around 300 vehicles from across the country, of all makes and models, will roll into town to be admired by car buffs. On the city’s “Triangle,” between Woodward Avenue and Old Woodward Avenue, Chevrolet will build an impressive exhibit with lots of displays and activities. WXYZ Channel 7 and WOMC 104.3 FM will broadcast live from there.

“The Birmingham Cruise is a fantastic event that brings in thousands and thousands of visitors. It allows people not only from Michigan, but all over the world, to get a glimpse of our special city, its great stores and shops, and prominent location along the Woodward Avenue corridor. Birmingham enjoys its prime spot on the Woodward Dream Cruise route and is proud to be celebrating 25 years as part of this annual tradition,” BSD Executive Director Ingrid Tighe said in an email.

The city is still taking vehicle registrations for the show for individual cars model year 1988 or older. Check-in will be at 9:30 a.m. that day at the tent located at Brown Street and Woodward Avenue, near Jax Car Wash, and day-of parking will cost $40. Cars can be included in the show as availability allows on a first-come, first-served basis.


Roadkill Nights
The Dream Cruise will no doubt draw at least 400,000 classic cars to the M-1 corridor for the annual event, as well as a whopping 1 million visitors. But if you can’t wait until Saturday morning to get the party started, don’t worry: Engines will be revving this weekend in Pontiac for the fifth annual Roadkill Nights, powered by Dodge.

The M-1 Concourse, 164 South Blvd. West, will house two days of high-octane excitement before the party moves over to Woodward Aug. 10 for legal drag racing and thrill rides.

Friday evening provides fans a chance to get up close with the racers as they compete in a Dyno challenge and burnout contest, free Dodge drift rides, live music, celebrity meet-and-greets, and freestyle motocross and street bike stunt shows.

On Saturday, street-legal drag racing on Woodward Avenue will begin with two classes, Big Tire and Small Tire, each competing for a cash purse of $30,000. The Celebrity Showdown Drag Race will donate $10,000 to The United Way.

Guests can experience thrill and drift rides in Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat models at two locations, with speeds over 100 mph and perhaps the deepest of rivalries in southeast Michigan.  Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham and Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard will compete in an old-school grudge match on Woodward Avenue Saturday, each driving a 2019 Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye with respective county decals.

“Year after year, Roadkill Nights’ popularity has grown with car enthusiasts both locally and across the country,” Michael Deer, MotorTrend Group senior director of automotive events, said in an email. “The event’s growth motivated us to make Roadkill Nights a two-day event for the first time and give people more opportunities to experience all that Roadkill Nights has to offer.”

Roadkill Nights will kick off Pontiac Power Week, which includes the Art on Wheels exhibit; a classic car show Sunday, Aug. 11, in Oakland Park; the B.B. King Blues Show and bourbon tasting Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Flagstar Strand Theatre on Saginaw Sreet; and so much more. For more information, including a full schedule of events and ticket prices, visit ponti acpowerweekevents.com.

No matter where visitors find themselves along the 16-mile stretch of the Dream Cruise, there’s no doubt there will be a chance to enjoy some Motor City pride.

“For 25 amazing years, this tradition has celebrated our region and brought it into both the national and international spotlight. Ford Motor Co.’s returning support is an integral part of this salute to all things automotive,” Greg Rassel, the president of the Woodward Dream Cruise, said in a press release. “The Woodward Dream Cruise continues to be a car enthusiast’s phenomenon, with people lining Woodward Avenue to celebrate the world’s largest one-day car event. Ford’s continued partnership with the Woodward Dream Cruise and steadfast support of our region make it what it was in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, and continues to be today: the Motor City.”

For more information on Dream Cruise activities in Bloomfield Township, visit bloomfieldtwp.org.

For more information on the Birmingham Cruise Event, visit allinbirmingham.com/cruiseevent.

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