This new event brought together people, regardless of age or social background, who are passionate about cars and the hobby at an event, which is free to enter and is staged in the heart of the city that started it all – Detroit!
Marrying the excitement and speed of car cruises and races with the style and sophistication of a Concours d’Elegance, the Detroit Festival of Speed and Style celebrates the automobile and its historical contribution.
The event was part of the celebration and lead up to the return of the Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle and kicked off Saturday August 25thth with a scenic driving tour from Campus Martius to the Edsel and Elanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores. Then the cars continued on to Belle Isle for laps around the new Detroit Grand Prix racecourse all the while spectators lined the streets to admire the finest examples of rolling steel Detroit ever produced.
Then Sunday August 26th was the actual exhibition with cars from all genres. On display were Concours Classics, Muscle Cars, Hot Rods, Race Cars, Sports Cars, Lowriders, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Vintage and Custom Motorcycles.
The organizers felt the younger generations, baby boomers and generations X/Y, would greatly appreciate and anticipate the Festival of Speed and Style Vehicles as some of the finest examples of the nations classic cars. They also wanted to place an emphasis on more recent vehicles the likes of which are not focused on at traditional Concours events.
These include high performance factory built cars from the 1950’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s, such as hot rods, muscle cars, lowriders, unique motorcycles, race cars and trucks. They then married that with the traditional examples of the art deco inspired styles of the 1920’s, ‘30’s and post war era cars.
The cars were selected and invited to be at the show and there were only 150 of them on display. My father in law, Mike Signorello, had the honor to receive an invitation to show his custom 1970 Dodge Super Bee quarter mile racer at the event and when I say honor, I truly mean it. He also had the further distinction of taking the top award in the Modified Muscle Car class.
The caliber and variety of the cars was outstanding and throughout the day the group of us that sat together kept reiterating how nice it was to have an event like this in the city. Having the backdrop of Campus Martius, the Compuware Building, Cadillac Tower and all the new loft apartment buildings really made the viewing of these vehicles something to behold.
I don’t believe you could have picked a better location downtown to present such an outdoor show. As I mentioned before this is not your traditional Concours type show.
What made this event so interesting and really exciting was the way this was an all-encompassing event. You had the opportunity to see the cars on parade, as well as, listen to some rather interesting demonstrations during the day.
At one point a PBS television crew was filming the Super Bee and the two vehicles parked next to it, both ’68 Road Runners. One is owned by Bob Mc Swain and Rick Koots owned the other. The producer asked is the three cars could be fired in succession as the camera panned along, give 3 drag racers a chance to rev their motors, they did not have to ask twice.
The sound of the motors echoing off the building and rolling down through Campus Martius was both deafening and exhilarating. Then a few short moments later you heard some, we believe Chevy owners but I could not verify, attempting the same thing down on the other end in to make sure the bowtie crowd was heard from. Honestly, have you even known that to happen at Meadowbrook?
I sincerely hope this is an event that can take root and grow in coming years. The fact that it is the kickoff to the Grand Prix firmly plants it on the calendar and raises consciousness of the show in the minds of automotive lovers in our area.
Hopefully, with the support of major sponsors like GM, Bob Lutz had a few of his personal vehicles on display, Detroit Muscle, Chrysler, Compuware and many more this event will be around for years to come.
The organized put the whole expo together in under 5 weeks so you know that the sky is the limit when they have a whole year to plan. Look for the Detroit Festival of Speed and Style next year and ink it on your calendar, you won’t be sorry.