2019 Detroit Autorama – Hot Rods, Muscle Cars, And “The Great Eight”

Okay, so lets be honest here.

Most of us have been automotive enthusiasts for years now. During that time, we’ve learned what one person sees as appropriate may be completely inappropriate to someone else. Never has this disparity been more relevant than when a discussion happens on the “right” and “wrong” way to build a hot rod. So how do we know what’s right or wrong? Well, one of the places we can certainly look to for such insight, is the Detroit Autorama.

This year marks the 67th time that automotive enthusiasts have congregated in the Motor City to have their builds judged by the best in the business. Every year, the Don Ridler Memorial Award is presented to the builder/designer of what is considered to be the best in show.

For those who may not be familiar with Don Ridler, he was the original promoter for the event. The award is one of the most prestigious and sought acknowledgements to builders around the world. Past awardees have included the likes of Chip Foose, Jerry Pennington, Troy Trepanier, and Bobby Alloway, just to name a few.

Whatever type of cars you prefer, there's something for everyone at the Detroit Autorama.

Each year, the attendees have the opportunity to enter judging for consideration for the Ridler Award. A large staff from the International Show Car Association (ISCA) is assigned to review all who checked the box. Of all the entries, eight are selected as the top contenders once the show starts.

These are referred to as The Great Eight. Of course, there can only be one winner. To get that consensus from such a diverse group of judges shows that any of the Great Eight nominees deserve admiration and an honorable mention .

So, let’s take a look at The Great Eight from this year’s Detroit Autorama… 

Steve Barton’s 1959 Cadillac Wagon “CadMad,” 2019 Ridler Winner

Steve Barton’s 1959 Cadillac Wagon “Cadmad” took the coveted honor of winning the 2019 Ridler Award winner for good reason. Built by Super Rides by Jordan,  you don’t have to be an expert restorer or car aficionado to notice the amazing attention to detail, fantastic build quality, and outstanding level of fabrication involved in the creation of this ride. The car is in memoriam of Barton who passed away prior to completion of the 16 year project.

Danny, Sandy, and Cody Jadresko’s 1964 Pontiac Acadian

1964 Pontiac Acadian built by JF Kustoms for by Danny, Sandy, and Cody Jadresko.This little Nova sibling has a  Nelson Racing engine churning out 2500 horsepower. Named “Anvil,” we’d say that’s pretty appropriate. While some attendees were not crazy about the color choice, we say to each his/her own.

Sonny Freeman’s 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle

1965 Chevrolet Chevelle “Reflection” by Goldman Customs. Owner Sonny Freeman enjoys a completely reworked Bow Tie cruiser that has had every inch fabricated to be a unique and outstanding interpretation of the original car. No part of this car has been untouched, yet were not sure of all the tweaks, because they’re so seamless.

Pat and Debbie Moran’s 1969 Camaro

Pat and Debbie Moran’s supercharged ZL 69. What’s right is right and this build is all good. With a whole host of people playing an integral part in the process to complete a dream car like this, there were a lot of thanks to go around. Running a LSA 6.2 V-8 with a Schwartz Industries frame, this Camaro has all the right stuff.

Bob and Lorna Chapman’s 1935 Ford Slantback

Bob and Lorna Chapman’s 1935 Ford Slantback “Insaniti.” This all-steel body was a big crowd pleaser. Chopped 2″ and running a blown, 2000 LS1 this thing was finished off in foot deep, Axalta paint. Inside, Paul Atkins stitched the interior and Classic Instruments handled the gauges.

Mel Harbaugh’s 1947 Ford Sedan

Mel Harbaugh’s 1947 Ford Sedan Delivery represented Michigan with a flare and authenticity that made us dream of simpler times. The build was a popular crowd favorite. The Coyote powerplant and modern interior turned more than a few heads. The car drew large crowds over the weekend and always seemed to bring big smiles to attendees’ faces.

Phil and Deb Becker’s 1932 Ford Victoria Legacy

Phil and Deb Becker’s 1932 Victoria Legacy featured all original steel and was built by Dave Lane and the Fast Lane Rod Shop out of Donahue, Iowa. The custom interior and fabulous paint are top-notch, as well as the old school vibe with spokes and skinny tires.

Quint Walbert’s 1941 Willys

Quint Walberts 1941 Willys sports a GM ZZ 572 with 625hp. All that power is handled by a TH400 transmission connected to a Moser real axle with 411:1 rear differential gears keeping everything turning. The Ridetech Shock Wave suspension keeps things comfy and the all tube chassis provides a stout foundation.

As a new attendee to the Detroit Autorama, it can be a little overwhelming when you first come into COBO hall. The flashy booths overwhelm the senses. The huge crowds of people, all jockeying for position, coming together to see all of the amazing builds. As if that weren’t enough, there is the music and smells of all of the food vendors assaulting the rest of your senses.

Good luck picking a favorite with so many great vehicles under one roof.

There are few places in the world where someone can get up-close and personal with builders, executives and stakeholders from the performance divisions of major automakers. Combine that the ability of people like you and I to enjoy automotive projects that have cost owners hundreds of thousands of dollars. All of that adds up to one genuine American experience.

Thanks to Championship Auto Shows for a great time!!  See you next year…

 

About the author

Christie Materni

As a photographer, and self-proclaimed "magic maker" for over 12 years, Christie loves to create anything from amazing images to great chocolate chip cookies. Traveling the country with her camera, husband, and sometimes a dog, in search of fast cars and tough trucks is her favorite way to spend the day.
Read My Articles

Classic Street Rods in your Inbox

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Rod Authority, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
Rod Authority NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

We'll send you the most interesting Street Rod articles, news, car features, and videos every week.

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Rod Authority NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Hot Rods & Muscle Cars

Classic Chevy Magazine

Corvette Enthusiasts

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Hot Rods & Muscle Cars
  • Classic Chevy Magazine
  • Corvette Enthusiasts

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading