Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline September 2009

Jim Evans The Steering Column
Left Hand Drive

from our President

I had a chance recently to attend the “Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise” in Detroit. This is, if you don’t know, one of the premier car-guy, car-culture events in America. Now in its “umpteenth” year, it is a profound display of everything automotive to those who chose to celebrate the glory of the internal combustion engine. And there are tens of thousands who attend to do so each year.
Woodward Avenue in Detroit is a lot like Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago: it just goes on and on for a long time: about 17 miles, I think. And the part used for the Cruise is a lot like North Avenue in the Melrose Park area: a divided 6-lane boulevard-type road with grass median, stoplights every few blocks restricting speed and allowing for U-turns, and an endless line of strip malls along the way (e.g. no houses and plenty of parking spaces). That’s the recipe for a cruise: where the cars come to you. Lots of cars. All day long. And on into the night.
And so, with the divided road acting like a track for a Ben-Hur type chariot race, and an estimated 30,000 cars on site, the show begins. Sit back in your lawn chair, pop a beer and enjoy the parade.
There’s a hemi-Cuda…and behind it a Stanley Steamer…followed by a couple of kids in a golf cart that looks like a ’57 Chevy…and now a recreation of the Blues Brothers squad car, complete with rooftop speaker. How about that genuine WWII “halftrack”? And that parade of “Smart Cars”?…and that Amphicar?…and that Crosley station wagon? Wow! Anything on wheels, anything powered by a gasoline engine, any vehicle you ever heard of is likely to appear in the endless parade.
This was my second trip to the cruise, and it was noticeably different from 5 years ago. Fewer antique cars, fewer organized car show displays, and fewer radical customs. Neither Ford, nor GM, nor Chrysler had the major displays seen five years ago: maybe it’s the economy, or maybe the fear of antagonizing some crackpot Federal bureaucrat, or maybe the result of the new role of the “Big Three” in America.
In any event, it was a pleasure to be part of such an event. The crowd is well behaved and there is none of the rowdy behavior that is common at some car show events: by 9 o’clock, the police were shutting down access to Woodward and the cars were heading out.
On the long way back from Detroit, my thoughts are drawn to the changes in the automotive field in my lifetime. I note that the media reports almost daily about wonderful new vehicles that will run on batteries, or soybeans, or distilled garbage or whatever. Computerized traffic cameras now reach into your pocket 24 hours a day and never take a coffee break. We have come to expect that our car will remember our preferred seat adjustment, and that traction control and antilock brakes will save us from any driving mistakes.
Certainly a world of difference compared to the cars I watched at Woodward. I’m glad that there are people out there that enjoy preserving older cars for the rest of us to enjoy, and


I’m glad to be part of that group through membership in this club. One advantage of belonging to a club like ours is the opportunity to enjoy our older cars in an “old fashioned” way, without computers and other hi-tech gizmos trying to take control, as we deal with carburetor settings, brake adjustments, competitive driving techniques and the like. We have attended car shows, rallys, tours, autocrosses, tech sessions and social events as a club already this year, with more to come. I hope you will be able to join us and make the most of your membership by attending some of the club events remaining on this year’s calendar.
Safety Fast, -- Jim Evans

dave_peterson The Steering Column
Right Hand Drive

from our Vice - President

The Lincoln Highway Tour was great fun. Thanks to Jim and Lois for all the research and planning they did to make the tour a success. Even though I grew up in DeKalb (whose main street is Lincoln Highway) I learned some new facts about the highway and some things I thought were facts were debunked. Even though the tour day started with rain and there were some sprinkles as we started, the weather cleared up and was really nice the rest of the day. Judi and I went as far as Franklin Grove for lunch and a visit to the Lincoln Highway Association Headquarters / Museum. Most participants headed home from there, though some went on to Fulton where the Illinois section of the Lincoln Highway ends.
The tour added another star to my car’s reliability record. I usually start an MG trip with some concern for how it will end. I realized how superstitious I am when I was concerned that my upbeat, confident mood prior to the tour might be a precursor to a sour end. I guess I feel that if I’m not worrying about something, that something bad might happen. The MG is trying to break me of that. So far it has taken good care of me. If worst comes to worst, I always have my AAA Card.
Dean Swanson came up with a good idea at the August meeting. He suggested that we change the emphasis from “Tech” sessions to garage visits. A garage visit could always include a tech session but would always provide a chance to compare cars and share information. Unless other plans come up I will try to have a garage visit at my place in October.
-- Dave Peterson 

Front Cover: CMGC members enjoy a great time on the one-day Lincoln Highway Tour. It was held on Saturday, August 8th. The tour ran from North Aurora to Fulton. There was also a special stop at the Lincoln Highway Association headquarters. There are many additional photos available for viewing at Also, please see the full write-up on page 6 of Driveline.

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