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.
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
Danny, Sandy, and Cody Jadresko’s 1964 Pontiac Acadian
Sonny Freeman’s 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle
Pat and Debbie Moran’s 1969 Camaro
Bob and Lorna Chapman’s 1935 Ford Slantback
Mel Harbaugh’s 1947 Ford Sedan
Phil and Deb Becker’s 1932 Ford Victoria Legacy
Quint Walbert’s 1941 Willys
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.
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…