Auto Show-Starved Motor City Getting Automotive Buffet This Summer

The M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan, north of Detroit, revealed big plans for August and September — pandemic permitting.

Tim McGrane, M1 Concourse CEO, says the three of the events including the first Woodward Dream Show, which will be held the same weekend — Aug. 19-21 — as the annual Woodward Dream Cruise. Those will be followed by the American Speed Festival Sept. 30 to Oct. 1. 

The M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan, north of Detroit, will be the home of a slew of auto show-style events beginning in August.

“We want to make an impact with that event,” said McGrane, adding the owners of M1 Concourse are pulling out all the stops to finish work on the new 30,000 square-foot event center, which now sits on the property with the 1.5-mile “high performance driving experience” or track and the dozens of personal garages used for storing vehicles treasured by their owners.

Big events coming

The American Speed Festival will follow on the heels of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association’s Motor Bella, which is taking the place of the 2021 North American International Auto Show. It’s an outdoor automotive event bringing next-generation mobility and vehicle debuts to automotive enthusiasts.

It will feature traditional auto show manufacturer displays and on-track exhibitions and performance-driving events. Motor Bella will occupy the M1 Concourse just prior to the American Speed Festival, beginning with Industry Days, Sept. 21-22, and it then opens to the public Sept. 23-26.

The organizers of the Detroit Auto Show cancelled the 2021 event, in favor of an outdoor “bridge show” called Motor Bella.

McGrane says the M1 Concourse also expects to play host to “Roadkill Nights,” which is sponsored by Dodge and Motor Trend, the weekend before the Woodward Dream Show. Plans for the event, which features drag races down a short course on Woodward Avenue and drew big crowds prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, are being finalized now, McCrane said. 

“We’ll be quite busy in August and September,” said McCrane, who describes the M1 Concourse as a unique environment for cars and motoring.

Woodward Dream Show set to launch

David Sherman, director of special events, says the Woodward Dream Show will offer the “ultimate” Dream Cruise offering a close look at more than 1,000 cars from around the country. It will be a collection of significant hot rod, custom cars, muscle cars and cruisers all in one place, he noted. 

“It will be held in conjunction with the Dream Cruise,” he adds, but is not a part of it. Traditionally held the third Saturday in August, the Woodward Dream Cruise began as grassroots event, but now local communities — and police departments — along the route of the Cruise have come to exert greater control over the event, which can draw nearly 1 million spectators if the weather is right — and the pandemic is in check.

Dodge owners compete against other vehicles in drag races on Woodward Avenue at Roadkill Nights.

It will be an opportunity to get up close to the best-of-the-best cars that shaped the history of Woodward Avenue and Detroit’s automotive history, Sherman adds. Several carmakers are seriously considering using the Woodward Dream Show for product introductions, he suggested, giving it a forward-looking orientation.

Tickets are $100 per day or $275 for a three-day pass. The price of the ticket will include food and drink, including alcoholic beverages for those over 21. 

American Speed Festival follows Dream Cruise

Sherman says the American Speed Festival the M1Concourse will host at the end of September will celebrate racing. It will the M1 first ever all sports and race car exposition for vehicles from the past, present and future. Several different race car builders and builders of premium cars have been invited to the event; Sherman adds.

The M1 Motor Champion Motor speedway is not built for actual side-by-side racing, but drivers can use the track to race “against the clock,” said Sherman, adding the event will also feature the best in food and drink, including a Bourbon trail. 

The inaugural American Speed Festival will serve as a dedication of the new events center with a nod to the “Motor City” and everything motorsports, with a festival that celebrates the past, the present and the future of motorsports, Sherman notes.

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