Ford will sponsor the 2017 Woodward Dream Cruise as the automaker continues to enhance its image as a producer of performance-oriented cars like the Mustang Shelby GT350, Ford GT, and F-150 Raptor.
The deal was announced Tuesday morning and is for one year with an option to extend, a spokesman said, though he declined to reveal financial figures.
The Dream Cruise, held annually in metro Detroit, draws enthusiasts from around the world who cruise up Woodward Avenue in classic cars from the past, as well as modern muscle cars. Ford is taking over as presenting sponsor after Chevrolet pulled out earlier this year. Ford will continue to have its Mustang Alley display set up and will host a driver skills experience for young motorists.
The Dream Cruise was first held in 1995 as a fundraiser, but has since grown into an international event that features major presences from Detroit’s automakers, Nissan, and others. Its prominence has grown so much, Dodge even has used it to reveal new products, like the Charger SRT Hellcat, in 2014.
The 2017 Woodward Dream Cruise is scheduled for Aug. 19, and is expected to draw 40,000 cars and 1.2 million people. It’s claimed to be the largest one-day automotive event in the world, though classic-car enthusiasts will flock to the strip in the weeks leading up to the official event. It runs from the Detroit suburb of Ferndale north to Pontiac along Woodward, one of the nation’s first paved roads and a legendary strip for cruising and less-than-legal stoplight races. The cruise has also expanded in recent years to include events within Detroit itself.
“Dream Cruise is all about the sheer joy and freedom of the automobile, and Ford has always celebrated car culture,” Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, US marketing, sales, and service, said in a statement. “From Fiesta to GT, we’re obsessed with making driving fun and we’re committed to celebrating that passion with enthusiasts of all ages in the birthplace of motoring.”