Matt Michaels has seen more and more newer-model Ford Mustangs lining 9 Mile Road every August since he started attending the Woodward Dream Cruise in 1999.
"There's not as many early cars out here any more," he said as passersby marveled at his spotless, red 1965 Ford Mustang GT Fastback with a shining 289 high-performance V8 engine.
"A lot of people who were into these old cards have long retired."
His car was among hundreds lined up on Mustang Alley in one of the main attractions of the Dream Cruise, an event organizers call the largest one-day auto event in the world.
Some 1.5 million people and 40,000 cars were expected to visit Detroit's northern suburbs along Woodward Avenue for the festivities Saturday.
Michaels, 57, of Commerce Township, said newer Mustangs have stayed popular with fans of the iconic Ford model, leaving him in the minority in displaying his classic every year.
"The newer cars are faster. They're more comfortable. They're technologically superior," he said.
"Even the older guys appreciate the comfort of the newer products."
But there's something special about the effect older cars have on people like Michaels, who said he was hooked from the moment he saw a neighbor's a 1963 Dodge Dart when he was 7 years old.
"When you have a 50-year-old car," he said, "people will walk up and say 'Man, that's beautiful. My dad had that. What year is it?"
His Mustang is restored and flawless, but others prefer the imperfect feel of a fully original car.
Jon Haber of Huntington Woods is the original owner of the 1973 Mustang 302 V-8 he displayed Saturday.
He bought the car at a Woodward Avenue dealership in 1972.
"It's not a show car, but it's a classic," he said, pointing out a small tear in the interior.
The car's been driven just 67,000 miles in the 43 years he's owned it.
"It's original. If you put anything new on it, you ruin it. It's not the way it was originally intended," said Haber, 78, wearing a shirt bearing an image of himself in the yellow Mustang.
"There's a lot of memories in it for my family."