Woodward Dream Cruise As Seen From Tom Bailey’s 6-Second Camaro

All the photos in this post were shot from inside this car.

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It seems important that you know that because once you get to the gallery you’ll think I’m a terrible photographer, which may be true, but also, I’m using 3500hp Camaro as a camera car, so, this is more about the feel, man. Photos that are in focus are for squares. You want in-focus photos, ride in a minivan.

I’m in Detroit for the Woodward Dream Cruise. I didn’t really understand what the dream cruise was. A bunch of old guys driving back and forth on a street? Seemed lame. I’ve been here for less than a day, and the cruise isn’t until Saturday, and I’ve already seen more mind-blowing muscle cars and customs than in my whole career as an automotive writer. When you see six Vipers in the span of one block and those are the boring cars, you know you’re in the middle of something cool.

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If you follow any of HOT ROD Drag Week, Tom Bailey should be a familiar name. He was the first competitor to run a full week of six second passes, and he offered me a ride in the car that did it, the original Sick Seconds 1969 Camaro. The Camaro is a twin-turbo 615ci Chevy, making about 3500 horsepower and capable of running the quarter mile in 6.39 seconds at 238mph. It also started on the first click and ran flawlessly through traffic that would sideline most people’s stock cruisers. Tom drives the car so often that he makes it seem easy, backing into parking spaces, stopping for French fries at the pub, basically using the car like it’s a Toyota Camry under warranty. “After a certain amount of time with a car, you iron out all the problems,” he said, and then we started running out of gas. No worries, we pulled into a gas station and before I could even get out of the car for a photo Tom was back in the car with a full tank. “That was fast,” I said. “That’s what she said,” he answered, and fired up the engine, ending the conversation.

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We drove Woodward for a couple of hours, stopping by the upcoming scene of Roadkill Nights street drags on the M1 concourse in Pontiac. “I’m a little worried about this crest in the road,” Tom said, and we told him it was all about catching air like a Cobra at the Nurburgring. After scoping the drag strip we met up with another Drag Weeker, Lisa O’Connor-Fischer, at a Buick cruise-in along Woodward. Lisa runs a bad-ass Buick in Drag Week, but she’s rebuilding the engine, so she was rocking a super 90’s wood-panel wagon. Tom didn’t approve of her small tire choice. They had words.

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As we pulled out of the parking lot I asked Tom if it’s weird to drive a car into a show and be basically positive that no other car in the lot could even come close to beating him. “It’s alright,” he answered, and then he gave it just a little throttle and I forgot how to breathe. To capture the blurry, mind-bending experience of cruising on the street in a race car, scroll on through the gallery below.

Roadkill Fall 2016 Cover