The Detroit Autorama is the flagship indoor show of the nationwide Autorama ISCA car show circuit. Located in the same Cobo Hall known for one of the premiere new cars shows, the Detroit Auto Show, I’d recommend the Detroit Autorama if you favor the wild concept cars! Take for example the above shot of the Ridler winning 1964 Buick, named “Rivision,” from JF Launier.
Autorama’s packed with some of the best hot rods and custom cars from around the USA. The most coveted award at the show, and maybe in the world, is the Ridler Award given to the overall best of show (above). I’ll show a few Ridler contenders here (and there are plenty more here), but as a bonus, here’s the other “Best of Show” from the 2014 Detroit Autorama.
Anyone who’s ever seen MyRideisMe.com knows my first love is hot rods. So picking a single “best” hot rod from Detroit Autorama would be like finding the best BBQ in the south. They’re all tasty!
Up first is this brown suede 1929 Ford Coupe. What’s not to like about this bad blown Hemi hot rod!? The zoomie headers must make a fantastic racket when all six carbs open up don’tcha think? As bad as this hot rod is, I wondered why it wasn’t parked downstairs in the more nostalgia friendly basement with its partner 1939 Chevy Coupe here:
I love this thing! She’s chopped a radical five inches for an ultra-smooth look and sits low on steelies and whitewalls. Then under the hood, dig the lakes pipes from a 348 W engine poking out. With the stock trim and bumpers and that art deco-like grille, this was easily one of the best.
Back to the hot rods … I’d be a fool not to acknowledge the Hot Rods by JSK’s amazing 1932 Ford Sedan as a clear best of. Best of EVER. I’m showing this angle on the car to highlight the fact that JSK transformed this more-door into a period correct, flat out amazing hot rod. Notice the “B” piller is gone now and the front and back door latch together? The overall detail shown reveals this is a Ridler Award contender, and in fact, my choice as the clear runner up to the Buick. She runs a 312 Ford Y-block with trick old school made new Hilborn injection. If I tried to go on about the other details, I’d run out of web space. Don’t most hot rods have the front sway bar an integral part of the oil pan?
Last of the pure hot rod best ofs is the Crafty B 1932 Ford Roadster. Walking around this pure vintage styled hot rod on the engine turned flooring… Each never seen before detail made me appreciate it more. I thought this roadster would have fit right in at the Grand National Roadster show contending for the AMBR award! It’s not over-polished to the point where you’d wonder if it would ever be driven, no, that’s the point! All the one-off sand cast parts were made by Crafty B’s sand casting business where he makes a list of cool hot rod parts like the head lights and tail lights seen here. I talked to the Crafty one himself and he showed me the slick gas gauge located between the custom bomber seats. You can see the gas in an old fashioned visible glass meter. Out of every hot rod I saw, this might be the one I’d most like to own.
Shifting gears, this must be high gear! Feast your eyes on another Ridler Contender, this time a 1956 Chevy 210 post. Before you write this one off as just another shoebox Chevy, look closely at the body. With a casual stroll by, you’ll miss how the body’s customized end to end! Check it out … See how builder Tom Manner pie-cut about three inches in the front then tapered down to nothing at the back. Now you see it! The custom tricks extended to the front too. How many bars does a 1956 Chevy grille have? This one has four… Perfectly executed… one of a kind 1956 Chevy.
Picking a best for race cars in Detroit also took some time. Amidst some great gasser style Willys, I had to go with the 1969 Barracuda funny car brought over by Jegs. This is what drag racing was all about and I couldn’t be happier the ‘Cuda remains mostly unrestored, especially the paint. Under the hood lurks an injected nitromethane tuned 426 Hemi. Driven back in the day by Jeg Coughlin Sr., hopefully this will be coming to a cacklefest track near us soon!
Let’s go downstairs for the next couple … Commonly known as “the basement” officially it’s called “Autorama Extreme” and features more homebuilt and vintage styled hot rods than what you might find upstairs like this fantastic 1952 Ford F1 pickup. (Here’s a gallery with even more cars from “the basement.”) I’ve got a thing for gold, but I’m guessing everyone saw this pickup as one of the best in the show, not just downstairs. Step rails laying on the ground with white walls tucked, it’s too bad you can’t see the gold flake paint inside fine line red pinstriped scallops. Very cool!
While we’re hauling, how about this 390 big block Ford powered 1947 International pickup. She’s homebuilt with tons of custom-cast finned aluminum pieces and a gold metal flake upholstery bucket seat interior. Doesn’t everyone need a suede hot rod pickup like this in their garage for occasional trips to Home Depot? Hats off to all the Detroit cars trying something different than a small block Chevy.
Could I leave the motor city without picking one best muscle car? I guess you could argue a 1961 Ford Starliner isn’t the type of factory muscle car you’d immediately think of, but when it’s running Ford’s greatest engine, a 427 SOHC “cammer” motor, then the muscle question becomes rhetorical. Have you ever heard a SOHC motor? The sound is as distinctive as the bodylines on this Starliner. As a frame off restoration, there’s no doubt this is one of the finest Starliners anywhere.
Even picking the few bests to feature here was tough with all the great cars at the 2014 Detroit Autorama. If you get a chance, see for yourself. Mixed in with the cold and grey skies matching COBO Hall’s rough exterior, inside you’ll get to see the best of the best hot rods and customs cars. And race cars… and muscle cars… and….