Parade of classic vehicles in Detroit for an annual meeting

Detroit – A local activist took his own “dream cruise” through the streets of Detroit that ended with a two-day classic car show in what was once one of the city’s most devastated neighborhoods.

The “Classic Car Cavalcade,” a parade of vehicles built between 1907 and 1992, meandered through Detroit neighborhoods including Grandmont, Rosedale and North Rosedale Park on Saturday.

The procession, which is not affiliated with the annual Woodward Dream Cruise, ended at Etheldra Mae Williams Park at Burgess and Acacia Streets in Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood.

After the parade, the third annual “Friends With Classics” car show was held. The show, which is free, was scheduled to run until 7 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s wonderful to see this parade of classic cars going through all these regal and stately old quarters,” said Michael Williams, the Brightmoor resident who organized the event.

The car show and parade are among Williams’ many efforts to transform a once devastated area into a scenic park named after his late mother.

Detroit's Clarence Simmons admires the cars on display at the Classic Car Meet at Etheldra Mae Williams Park in Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood.

In 2014, Williams purchased several plots of land in Brightmoor and began clearing the dense foliage and razing burnt-out homes. Before the renovation, the area had abandoned houses with trees growing through the roofs, and a 26-foot boat had been dumped in the middle of the street.

In addition to his passion for improving his neighborhood, Williams is a classic car enthusiast.

“I have a 1926 Model T truck, which belonged to Faygo Beverage Co.” he said. “I also have a 1990 fire truck, which I got from Grosse Pointe.”

Williams also owns a 1951 IHS tractor that he hopes to use to teach vehicle renovation to children.

Mike Williams hangs out inside his 1926 Model TT during the meet

“We want six students to disassemble, repaint and reassemble the vehicle, to give them the skills to customize the automobile and other modes of transportation,” Williams said.

Williams said this year’s show features a “classic car coral,” which anyone selling a vehicle built in 1992 or earlier can exhibit at the event.

“There will be a designated area where they can display their vehicles,” he said. “It’s free too.”

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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN

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