Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Dream Cruise doesn't rev my engine

I should probably sit down with a psychiatrist about this.
Preferably one wearing an STP jacket. And a Dale Earnhardt hat. With the keys to a ’68 Dodge Charger in his pocket.
On the weekend of the Woodward Dream Cruise this might be blasphemy, but I am just not a car guy.
There, I said it. I feel like the weight of a 426 Street Hemi is off my chest. Here we are on the cusp of the Motor City and there is absolutely nothing about the internal combustion engine that I understand.
Gas in the tank. Change the oil every 30,000 miles or so (or is it every 3,000 miles). Turn the key, flip on the radio and that is the extent of my knowledge.
And my interest, honestly.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the cars that are tooling up and down Woodward Avenue.
The engines that sound like somebody just stepped on a sabre tooth tiger's tail. The hot rods with the flame paint jobs and the racing slicks. The vintage Cadillacs that are the length of a French Open tennis court.
But, to be redundant, I am not a car guy.
I drive a '97 subcompact with more than 200,000 miles on its odometer. The driver's seat no longer adjusts. The driver's side window no longer rolls down. It is off the track, and there’s about an inch gap, so every time it rains I look like a contestant in a wet T-shirt contest. It has so many rattles it sounds like a break-in at the local Babies R Us outlet. But do you know what, there are no payments due and it still starts when I turn the key. And that is the end of the story.
Part of it is probably my upbringing. My dad had cars like the AMC Gremlin and the Ford Escort. Neither one exactly exuded sex appeal. He washed his cars every six months or so, whether they needed it or not.
He smoked cigars and pipes. It never seemed to bother dad that he frequently exceeded the capacity of the ash tray. He'd keep putting his spent cigars there, and tapping his pipe there, and more often than not, it looked like a mini version of Mt. Vesuvius.
I borrowed my parents' cars while my buddies drove vehicles  like Camaros (Rick) and Road Runners (Don). I did not even own my own car until after I had graduated from college and it was a used VW Beetle the color of a Sunkist orange.
This is nothing against the Dream Cruise. God bless all of those folks who are into cars. It is a hugely popular event and deservedly so. American iron is more than a product. It is a sense of pride.
My wife, Kim, and I like to go out to Woodward and watch the cars go by.
But after a couple of hours, it's all done. We hop either into my subcompact or her 2004 Taurus with the scrapes on the rear bumper from the garage door, and that is it.
Just like my lineage, there is not much spit shining being done at the Evans house. There is not a whole lot of Armor All being expended on any of our vehicles.
I am not proud of that. In fact, I am a little bit ashamed. Is there a doctor in the house? Preferably a shrink who is wearing a 2013 Woodward Dream Cruise T-shirt.


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