For the Worthys, the Woodward Dream Cruise and love for classic American automobiles is a longstanding family affair.
Attending the 2010 Woodward Dream Cruise, being held this weekend, marks an annual tradition for Rogers, Tom, and Herman Worthy.
“We’ve been going to the Dream Cruise together for the past 10 years,” said Rogers, who’s been busy prepping his 1956 Chevrolet Nomad preparing for the show. “We wouldn’t miss it.”
This will be the second year that all three Worthy brothers have showcased their collectible automobiles at the Woodward Dream Cruise.
Tom and Herman Worthy both own ’69 Chevrolet Camaro Z28s, drawn to the automobiles from a longstanding love of muscle cars. “The ’69 Camaro has a flavor of its own, the lines, the sculpture always interested me,” said Herman, 60, who has owned his Camaro since 2003.
“I always wanted the ’69 Camaro when I was younger,” added Tom, 57, who has owned his car for more than 30 years. “The body lines were really sharp and it always intrigued me when I was kid.”
Rogers Worthy, 54, who bought his car five years ago, said it was the unique look of the Nomad that caught his attention. “I saw my first one in Scottsdale, Arizona at a car show,” he said. “I liked the look it had with all of the chrome and being unique as a two-door station wagon. The car was only made in 1955, 1956 and 1957. I got a ’56 model for the year I was born.”
The Worthys’ love for American cars dates back decades to the days the three brothers and their other three brothers and sister, Frank, Morris, Porter and Breveley, spent working at their father’s garage, Ed’s Texaco Service, located on the city’s west side.
Their dad, Albert “Ed” Worthy, who loved Chevrolets, worked for Ford’s Highland Park Ford Plant. He opened the service station with wife Ada in 1960 before they moved to Detroit in 1953 from Roberta, Georgia.
“When we were old enough, we all worked at my dad’s shop, even my sister,” said Rogers, who works as a pipe fitter at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant. “We’d work our way up from changing the tires and oil to major engine and transmission work.” Herman, a retired Detroit fireman, added, “Everybody had to work at the gas station in one capacity or another.”
The days Rogers, Herman and Tom spent at Dad’s garage tooling with cars grew into a passion for street racing. “Porter was the one that really turned us on to it,” said Tom, who also works as a pipe fitter for Chrysler’s Dodge Truck Plant. “He always had nice cars.”
“As teenagers and young adults we would spend a lot of time getting ready to go drag racing and we would find ourselves under the car at 11 or 12 o’clock at night trying to prepare for a late night race,” recalls Herman. Rogers said they would do a lot of the heavy modification work on their drag racing cars at their dad’s garage. “My dad encouraged it because he saw as it a way to help keep us out of trouble,” he said.
“Everybody knows the Worthy brothers for their cars,” said Tom Worthy.
In addition to the Woodward Dream Cruise, Rogers, Tom and Herman Worthy will also be participating in the Back to the Bricks cruise event being held in Flint Aug. 17-21. Together, the brothers participate in at least 20 local cars shows a year and a number of national shows.
The Worthy brothers also put on an annual show at their mom’s house on the city’s west side where their sister now lives, about six blocks from the family owned gas station that they closed in 1999, a few years after their father passed.
“We get a lot of people to stop by that we drag raced with when we were younger,” said Rogers.
Tom said, “We have people come up to us and say we remembered you guys had the nice cars back them and you inspired us to have cars now.”
Rogers, Tom and Herman also attend a number of national auto shows like the shows Barrett-Jackson and SEMA, the annual aftermarket show held every year in Las Vegas.
Attending the car shows have helped the brothers maintain a special bond, said Rogers.
“I run into a lot of people and they ask, ‘You still keep in touch with your brothers?” and I say, ‘I talk to my brothers all the time’,” said Rogers. “It’s really special when you go to a show and you see people look at the show cards attached to our cars and say, ‘Are you all brothers?’”
“The camaraderie with my brothers, it’s a wonderful situation to be in and to be able to say we are all here and enjoying this thing together,” said Herman.
“We love our cars, and to be able to be blood brothers and do this is beautiful as opposed to me just doing it with other guys,” said Tom. “When we grew up our love for cars kept us out of the gangs and away from drugs. Now it helps to keep us together.”
Marcus Amick is a national automotive lifestyle writer and consultant. He can be contacted at Mamick@Wheelside.com.