What to Drive to the World's Thickest Classic-Car Cruise
The Woodward Desire Cruise happens every year on the third Saturday in August as it has since 1995, when a group of volunteers determined to attempt and relive their youth from the 1950s and 1960s, back when evening entertainment in the Motor City often involved aimlessly cruising up and down the well-known street.
The street is M-1, Woodward Avenue, spreading twenty five miles from the heart of Detroit into the suburb of Pontiac, crossing a dozen communities and the sites of many former drive-in restaurants. Since its modest beginning, the event has become the largest classic-car gathering in the world, with this year’s event reportedly drawing 1.Five million people and more than 60,000 classic and modern specialty cars over the course of harshly a week. It is the ultimate event for the classic-car enthusiast, and the ideal place to take a classic, interesting or just plain joy car.
It just so happened this year that I had a test car that met all three descriptors. In a sea of extreme muscle cars, classic rarities and shocking metal, what could possibly make the spectators sitting on the side of the road drop their Big Gulps, quickly whip out cameras, yell encouragement, flash thumbs-up and even in one case burst into applause en masse?
How about the redesigned two thousand thirteen SRT Viper GTS coupe in stunning, eye-popping Stryker Crimson Tinted Pearl?
The folks at Chrysler figured the Viper and the Desire Cruise would be a good match, and they weren’t kidding — I have never driven a car that received this much attention. It’s a 10-cylinder, rumbling, snorting, roaring animal of a sports car. Even amid ems of thousands of amazing cars driving (or in many cases sitting and idling in traffic) up and down Woodward Avenue, absolutely everyone gave the Viper some love.
To see how it went, scroll through our photo story below.
Imagine waking up in the morning to find that this has slithered onto your driveway! The two thousand thirteen SRT Viper GTS coupe, tooled with an 8.4-liter V-10 making six hundred forty horsepower and six hundred pounds-feet of torque. The redesigned two thousand thirteen is a kinder, gentler Viper in much the same way that Raul Castro is a kinder, gentler Castro.
Before heading to the Desire Cruise, you gotta wash off the bugs and grime that accumulate at earnestly quick speeds! Automatic car wash? Not on your life — this Viper is covered in Stryker Crimson Tinted Pearl paint, a (get ready for this) $14,600 option. That is not a typo.
Commencing the day off in enemy territory, the Viper visits the GM Heritage Center for a press breakfast. GM maintains a secret museum that isn’t open to the public, but sometimes media folks are permitted in for special events. The bright yellow Opel GT belongs to the global quality communications man at GM.
Any time you get invited to visit the GM Heritage Center, you go. The company has a collection of more than four hundred significant, concept, one-off prototype and production cars from its 100-plus years of history, a rotating hundred or so of which are on display at any given time.
Out onto Woodward, where you see all sorts of metal at the Fantasy Cruise. Regardless of what people were driving, all eyes fixated on the Viper as it rumbled past.
The view out isn’t an effortless one — a super-low roof means you’re always hunched down to see out of the bunker-slit windshield, and stoplights can only be viewed by their reflections on the Viper’s shapely fetish mask. Please don’t comment about the safety of taking pictures behind the wheel. Average speed at the Woodward Wish Cruise is actually walking rhythm, so thick is the traffic.
I’d stop and stare too, if I spotted me rolling by! Aside from the Crusher Orange Viper TA at the Chrysler display (all automakers rent out fat areas for vehicle displays and parties), mine was the only two thousand thirteen SRT Viper I eyed all weekend.
Politicians use the Woodward Wish Cruise as good free advertising for local votes. Here, one of Michigan’s prospective U.S. Senate candidates makes a subtle appeal for support. Hint: She’s not indicating the Green Party.
While two thousand thirteen models were scarce, previous model years were out! Here’s a beautiful fourth-generation Viper SRT-10 rolling by.
Finding parking along Woodward Avenue during the Fantasy Cruise will either cost you serious coin or generally be unlikely. Unless, of course, you have a brand-new Viper and roll up to the Chrysler display. VIP parking? Don’t mind if I do!
That 8.4-liter V-10 puts out some serious warmth. How serious? After cruising (actually, sitting in traffic) all morning and parking for lunch, a fly landed on the spandex hood of the Viper — and promptly expired.
Chrysler had a large parking lot in a key spot packed with significant vehicles from the past and present. Here’s the two thousand thirteen SRT Viper TA (for "Time Attack") — a track-focused, hard-edged version of the Viper intended to slot in inbetween the base and the GTS.
That hot V-10 engine and those side-exit exhausts can cook you in a hurry, especially in bumper-to-bumper cruise traffic. We took a break to cool off both man and machine with frosty chocolate milkshakes.
Dinner at one of the Detroit area’s best fresh eateries. The fresh Viper gets special parking placement from the valets on account of, well, being a fresh Viper.
It was an amazing weekend in a fantastic car. And lest you think that my life is all supercars and luxury rails, here’s what I exchanged the Viper for the subsequent week. Balance is significant, I suppose.