Cityscape

Video: Street Racing On Detroit's West Side in 1964, When Even Cops Watched


February 28, 2014, 4:07 PM by  Alan Stamm

Tach it up, tach it up
Buddy gonna shut you down
-- Brian Wilson, 1963

A year after that Beach Boys hit was released, someone with a home movie camera filmed Sunday afternoon diversions that drew hundreds of teens to an industrial side street off Michigan Avenue.


Young Sunday racers are guided to the starting line.

Stecker Street on Detroit's far west side was an ideal urban drag strip -- straight, traffic-free, convenient for racers and spectators from Dearborn and other western Wayne areas, as well as that end of Detroit. 

"The 0.7-mile flat and straight slab of pavement between Michigan Avenue and John Kronk attracted local street racers every Sunday afternoon," Lenawee County video producer Hank Adkins posts under what he describes as "rare 8mm film footage."

The James Dean-like action includes close-ups of 1956-57 Chevys, 1954 Fords, 1960 Pontiac Bonnevilles, 1960 Ford Galaxys and other Dream Cruise-worthy models, as vintage car buff Tom Greenwood identifies in a Detroit News column on the video. 

Many of the cars are raked and shackled (raked is where the front end of the car is lower than the rear; shackled is front end higher than the rear). . . .

And it seemed like every car was sporting baby moons.

The half-century-old footage, uploaded last year by Adkins of Manitou Beach, was called to Greenwood's attention by "a buddy of mine on the Dearborn Police Department."

The columnist adds:

The final footage shows something pretty interesting: a black Detroit police car (a station wagon) with an officer casually parked on Stecker, watching the races.

After the races, I suppose everyone headed over to Blazos for a slice of pie.


Read more:  YouTube


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