Tradition meets tricked-out at the 2015 Woodward Dream Cruise

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published August 16, 2015

 Mark Ehman, of Monroe, displays his 2001 Mustang Saleen, called “Showzover,” during the 21st annual Woodward Dream Cruise. The tricked-out custom car drew a lot of attention at the annual auto event Aug. 15.

Mark Ehman, of Monroe, displays his 2001 Mustang Saleen, called “Showzover,” during the 21st annual Woodward Dream Cruise. The tricked-out custom car drew a lot of attention at the annual auto event Aug. 15.

Photo by Victoria Mitchell


Jeff Campion had a decent Nova in high school.

But now, Campion has a 1970 Chevy Nova with a stroker 388, which is basically a 350 Chevy engine with oversized pistons. It packs about 505 horsepower and he polishes it pretty much nonstop.

“It’s quite loud. If I were to start it, you would hear it,” he said while showing the car at the 2015 Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise. “But it’s a fun little ride.”

The Lake Orion resident buffed, polished and shined his prized possession as car enthusiasts ogled the blue vehicle with a front license plate reading, “BRKNBAD.”

Campion has owned the daily driver for six years and loves to show it off at the Dream Cruise. He usually drives it up and down Woodward Avenue, revving the engine and stopping frequently for gas.

“Especially when you’re driving by,” he said. “People are always giving you the thumbs up.”

This year, Campion put the hot rod on display at the annual car show in Royal Oak Memorial Park.

Countless vehicle owners, obsessors and those just appreciating a good time filled Woodward Avenue from Ferndale to Pontiac for the 21st annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

The temps hovered near 90 degrees, but the vehicles were hotter and the love affairs with horsepower and tradition permeated the Royal Oak portion of the cruise.

Mark Ehman, of Monroe, displayed his 2001 Mustang Saleen, called “Showzover,” for all in the city to see while brimming with pride over the custom ride.

The show car boasts a one-of-a-kind paint job, custom body, custom air ride, custom paint-matched interior and Lambo door kit.

“It’s my baby,” Ehman said. “I’ve always been interested in cars and always owned something tricked out.”

Ehman said the vehicle has won 100 first-place awards, was a 2007 “Mustang Enthusiast” cover car, was featured on Speed TV and was runner up in the Australian Best Cars of 2010. The interior is signed by Chip Foose and Steve Saleen.

“I decided I wanted something super tricked-out and something different,” he said. “Something no one else had and a creation that would be different from everybody else.”

For Jim Matuszak, of Caro, his vintage dragster carries on the tradition of a pioneer of the Royal Oak Woodward Dream Cruise.

Matuszak acquired “Gang Green,” a Dynamat Vintage Dragster once owned by Larry Payne Sr. Payne owned Duggan’s Irish Pub and was instrumental in planning the inaugural Dream Cruise in Royal Oak. He died in 2009 at 65 and left behind a legacy of giving and a passion for drag racing.

Matuszak was displaying Gang Green along with Al Bergler’s “More Aggravation.” Bergler, of Shelby Township, recently was inducted into the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame and helped Payne originally restore his 1960s dragster.

“The Prussian” was also on display with the two other Dynamat Vintage Dragsters.

“These are all front-engine dragsters, so these are nostalgic cars,” Matuszak said. “They’re the original deals.”

Friends Jamie D’Addario, of Warren, and Michele Fredal, of Sterling Heights, enjoy the Dream Cruise together every year for the tradition and the vehicles. Both ladies had a front-row seat to all the action along Woodward Avenue.

“We love looking at the cars,” D’Addario said, adding that she works for GM and her father was an automotive engineer.

Fredal agreed and said the event is important too because it is a part of the area’s heritage.

“We have a history in our family working for the Big Three — grandpas, fathers, husbands,” Fredal said. “But I love the cars. It’s fun to see the older cars and the restored cars.”