Mustang fans motor to Ferndale for Woodward Dream Cruise

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published August 19, 2017

 The Mustangs bring a lot of people to Mustang Alley along Nine Mile Road in Ferndale Aug. 19.

The Mustangs bring a lot of people to Mustang Alley along Nine Mile Road in Ferndale Aug. 19.

Photo by Mike Koury


As vehicles of all brands, years and makes drove bumper-to-bumper on the road Aug. 19, thousands made their way to downtown Ferndale for the city’s 23rd annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

Saturday marked the end of the city’s three-day festival for the Dream Cruise, which included the 19th year for Mustang Alley on Nine Mile Road.

This year’s Mustang Alley featured more than 700 cars and expanded to both the east and west sides of Nine Mile — a first for the event.

Sitting in a lawn chair in front of City Hall near his Mustang was Dave Rowland, of Wooster, Ohio, who’s been to the Dream Cruise approximately 10 times.

Parked along East Nine Mile was Rowland’s 1971 Mustang Mach 1, which he bought in 1979. He said it’s pretty much a “numbers matching car,” which means engine block numbers match the VIN that came with the vehicle.

“I like the looks of the Mustangs. I’ve had a ’67, ’68, wife and I had two ’71s, had a ’76. So we’ve had several Mustangs,” he said.

“They’re sporty and I’ve always been a Ford fan. I just enjoy the looks of them, whether they’re old or new or in between,” he said.

Rowland said that what keeps bringing him back to the Dream Cruise is being able to view all the other Mustangs parked in the Alley.

“The people you talk to are always so friendly and knowledgeable, and want to know something that you might know that they don’t know,” he said.

Taking some time in Mustang Alley to view some of the different cars was Jim Schnell, of Hillsdale.

An owner of a 2014 Mustang convertible, Schnell said this was his first time at the Dream Cruise in about 10 years, but he decided to come down after his daughter and son-in-law convinced him.

“It’s been very enjoyable,” he said of the event. “Everybody seems like they’re respecting (the cars). They’re not touching vehicles, so they seem like they’re respectful of other people’s property.”

Schnell also used to work for Ford Motor Co. between the years of 1963 and 2002. He began working for the company shortly before the first Mustang ever was released for sale.

Schnell, who used to own a 1967 Mustang, said he decided to get another one, as he was getting up there in age and he’d never owned a convertible before.

As he was walking up and down Mustang Alley, Schnell gave his thoughts on Mustangs as they’ve evolved through the years.

“I like the new technology, but some of the ’65s that have been totally restored — they’re just perfectly stocked — are also something to watch and enjoy,” he said.

While many people made their way through Mustang Alley, other attendees grabbed a chair and found a place to sit along Woodward Avenue to view the many vehicles driving down the street.

Sitting in the median of Woodward and Nine Mile, Rick Ortlepp, from Cincinnati, said he’s been coming to the Cruise for the last 10 years to meet up with some friends in the state.

Ortlepp owns a 2001 Mustang Bullitt, and while he said it’s always cool to see what he used to drive when he was younger, he doesn’t miss having to constantly work on them.

“The newer cars are kind of a lot more reliable these days,” he said. “But (I) love looking at the old stuff and remembering back to when I used to drive this stuff.”

Ortlepp arrived for the event Thursday. Though he’s checked out a few different attractions during his time, he said he spends most of it in Mustang Alley.

“I love anything Mustang, really,” he said. “I’m a big Mustang freak, and I like to see what everybody else has done to their car. There’s a lot of different takes out there, and some of it’s pretty cool, some of it’s not so cool, but it’s still interesting to see what everybody wants to do.”