Detroit is the perfect place to hold America’s Greatest Hot Rod Show. The Motor City is central enough that people are willing to travel from surrounding states. And close enough to the border that Canadians make the trip to the show as well.
This makes it a truly international show. As a result, the variety of cars is quite impressive. Walking through the door of the Cobo center and looking over the sea of vehicles is always exciting.
With cars wall-to-wall the hardest question is, where to begin?
From show cars, to drag cars and everything in between, the Detroit Autorama offers up something for everyone.
Add in few motorcycles, a boat or two and you’re left with a very well rounded event. A trip to take a closer look at one vehicle is often rerouted for another.
We hit the floor for three days straight taking photos nearly constantly. Our fingers still ache from the shutter button. Sore fingers aside, the good news is we came back with plenty of photos.
If you were at the show and don’t see one of your personal favorites in this post don’t worry, we’ll be following up with a few features.
One of the greatest things about Autorama is that it is a show that doesn’t forget its roots. Or the roots of hot rod car customization in general.
Every year there’s a larger number of ‘survivor’ vehicles alongside historically significant cars restored back to their prime.
One of Butch Leal’s competition A-990 Plymouths was a shining example of this. Perfectly restored it looked like it could roll right off the show floor and make a pass.
Another throwback ‘Showtime’ was visible from practically anywhere in the venue. Bright yellow the “Motor City Monster” certainly looked the part of a monster truck from the 80s.
It’s a new build however. Modeled exactly after the original ‘Motor City Monster’ .
The rareity of steel bodied Monster trucks in 2018 made this truck quite the fan favoirte.
It didn’t hurt it was positioned right near the main stage. Giving those waiting in line for autographs from their favorite WWE wrestler, or Nascar driver, something to look at.
The 2018 Autorama also celebrated a time where customs, with a K, ruled the streets.
These were inspired by California legends like Norman Wesp and represented long standing car clubs like the Long Beach Renegades.
Sitting low on white walls, with deep candy paint, these cars would look right at home cruising Detroit’s Woodward Ave.
Style wasn’t just the focus at the 2018 Detroit Autorama. There were plenty of vehicles in the building ready to tear down a drag strip at a moment’s notice.
We’re not talking just purpose built 1/4 mile cars. Several struck that all important balance between street car and track car.
Two cars walk this line very were a pair of gassers from the East London Timing Association.
The ELTA is a group who we mentioned in our coverage of ‘The Basement’. They’re a great group of Canadians with a wild variety of vehicles.
These two Fords had the stance, paint, and power of a classic gasser and were definitely a hit among the Detroit crowd.
Three cars that blurred the street car, show car, drag car lines were shown collectively under the name The Blown Mafia. The first two were owned by Brad Gray. Brad is a man who is a fan of two things. Boost, and excess.
Each of the cars he brought features multiple forms or forced induction. His Camaro has a Littefield 1471 blower fed by two 68mm Precision Turbos.
The Mustang is also triple charged, there’s just no turbos in the equation. A Weiand 871 flanked by two 144s.
Finally, the last Blown Mafia entry belongs to Tony Netzel. It’s a 61 Plymouth Belvadere powered by a twin turbo Plymouth big block.
It also sits darn near impossibly low.
We might not be motorcycle aficionados but, we know awesome when we see it. This particular bike is without a doubt awesome.
The root beer flaked paint was covered in pin-striping and gold leaf. With a 124 cubic inch motor this bike has a lot of power to get down the street as well.
As we made our way back to the front of our hall we continued to stop along the way to look at a variety of vehicles. A Camaro, a pair of trucks and a Kyle Petty driven Mello Yellow car.
There was just so much to see.
The last vehicles we drooled over before putting our cameras away was the trio of vehicles brought by Pro Comp Custom.
First were their Camaro and Charger builds. Sectioned, chopped and bagged these cars are low. Some of the lowest in the building in fact.
Chopped, sectioned, and bagged, purists need not apply. However if you’re a fan of anything goes these are the cars for you.
Furthermore the attention to detail put into each is absolutely top notch.
The 427 LX under the hood of the Camaro is surrounded by bead rolled airbrushed aluminum. It’s a work of art.
Pro Comp Custom also brought out their latest show build a 1940 Ford. Again this car is very low, but the original proportions are a little bit more in tact on this car.
It’s got a 347 stroker under the hood, rides on air, and has a brushed metal finish. The red wheels, frame, and interior provided not only contrast, but an incredibly unique look.
Even though it doesn’t seem possible after 66 years, this is one show that just keeps getting better and better. The 2018 Autorama just ended but the count is on for next year’s event.
If you haven’t been yet, we encourage you to go, it really is one of America’s Greatest Hot Rod Shows.