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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rev up for Autopalooza in Greater Detroit

   One-Tank Trip for May 19/12

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Get your motor running to Greater Detroit, the epicentre of all things automotive, for a summer of cars and cruising fun.
   Hit the road and “burn rubber” to Autopalooza as this annual event shifts into high gear in the “Motor City” with major cruises, races and shows.
   Events include the Grand Prix race, NASCAR weekends, Concours d’Elegance and crossing the finish line with the Woodward Dream Cruise.
Dreams of tailfins and big engines are realized for writer Jim Fox shown with this 1960 Cadillac convertible at the Concours d’Elegance in suburban Detroit. (Barbara Fox photo)
    Zoom, zoom in June
   Grand Prix: Ah, the smell of race fuel and tire smoke swirling with the screeching sounds of race cars will permeate Belle Isle as the Grand Prix returns from June 1 to 3.
   The world-class auto racing is back after a four-year absence to the pretty island in the Detroit River between Windsor and Detroit.
   It will feature the cars of the IZOD IndyCar Series, the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, the Pirelli World Challenge Championship Series and the Firestone Indy Lights Championship battling it out on a street circuit.

  Grand Prix races return to Detroit on Belle Isle from June 1 to 3. 
   Hot Rod Power Tour: It’s no drag as this tour, called the “ultimate car lovers’ road trip,” spins into Metro Detroit June 2 with more than 3,000 “muscle cars,” classic hot rods and collectors’ dream mobiles.
   The GM Proving Grounds in Milford is the starting point for the journey through seven cities over seven days en route to Arlington, Texas.
   - NASCAR Weekend: The Michigan International Speedway is a venerable NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) national park.
   Featured on June 15 is the Sprint Cup Series practice and the ARCA Racing Series 200 while the Nationwide Series returns on June 16 with top stars and newcomer Danica Patrick.
   The Sprint Cup Series 400 happens on June 17 when former winner Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart appear.
   - Motor Muster, Sloan Museum Auto Fair and Cruisin’ Downriver: Greenfield Village in Dearborn will host the muster on June 16 and 17 to mark “one of the innovative eras of American automotive history, 1933 to 1976.”
   The village will be filled with hundreds of classic cars, vintage trucks, motorcycles and even a fire engine or two while featuring the “compact” car.
   The auto fair on June 23 and 24 at the Flint Cultural Centre features more than 600 of the “best-looking cars, trucks and motorcycles around.”
   Classic car collectors will be showing off their wheels during the Downriver cruise on June 30.
   They’ll be spinning their wheels in the suburban cities south of Detroit along the shores of the Detroit River.
Spectators viewing cruising classics that can be seen around Detroit at the Concours d’Elegance and the Woodward Dream Cruise. (Barbara Fox photo)
   Heating up July
   - Cruisin’ Michigan Avenue: Return to those days of cruising at this July 14 event with classic cars travelling from Dearborn to Wayne.
   Raising money for charities, it includes free concert events as the drive along Michigan Avenue also takes in Dearborn Heights, Inkster and Westland.
   - RM Auctions’ Vintage Motor Cars: This Chatham-Kent based company holds its much-anticipated event in conjunction with the prestigious Concours d’Elegance of America.
   There will be 100 “historically significant” automobiles on auction.
   - Concours d’Elegance of America: One of the most prestigious shows of the finest vintage and classic automobiles takes place July 29 at the Inn at St. John's in Plymouth.
   Along with Duesenbergs, Auburns and Rolls Royces, featured classes this year include pre-1900 pioneers, the Cord cousins, Trans-Ams, Jaguar versus Corvette, “jet-age” station wagons, micro and super cars.
Some of the finest vintage vehicles make their way past spectators at the Concours d’Elegance of America. (Jim Fox photo)
   Cruisin' through August
   - Clinton Township Gratiot Cruise/Back to the Bricks Cruise: The Aug. 5 drive is along Gratiot, or the M-5 north-sound highway, a cruising parkway from years gone by.
   Hitting the bricks on Aug. 14 to 18 is expected to attract some 20,000 cars with rolling cruises from Grand Blanc to Flint.
   - NASCAR Weekend: Return to the Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 17 to 19 to watch races including the Sprint Cup Series 400.
   - Woodward Dream Cruise: This Aug. 18 event is called the “world's largest one-day celebration of classic car culture.”
   More than one-million people turn out to see more than 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special-interest vehicles.
   This blast from the past lasts 12 hours and covers about 30 kilometres through nine communities from Ferndale to Pontiac.
An elaborate hood ornament from a 1936 Pierce Arrow at the Concours d’Elegance. (Jim Fox photo)
   If you go:
   - For more details about Autopalooza events: www.autopalooza.org
   - To plan a getaway, contact the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau: www.visitdetroit.com; 1-800-DETROIT (338-7648)


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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