2018 Detroit Autorama’s Ridler Award: The Car Customizer’s Dream

March 4, 2018 -- There was non-stop excitement as more than 800 hot rods and custom cars took their places in the spotlight this weekend at the Detroit Autorama, home of the coveted Ridler award. This best of show award, which emphasizes creativity, engineering, and quality workmanship, has grown in prestige over the years, having been won by many well-known car designers and builders, such as Chip Foose, Jerry Pennington, Troy Trepanier, and Bobby Alloway.

Leading up to the selection of the eight finalists (the Great 8) and ultimately the announcement of the winner of the 2018 Ridler, car enthusiasts had the opportunity to see up-close the innovation and attention to detail that went into creating these unique vehicles.

Also, five vehicles from the movie “Fate of the Furious,” ‘66 Corvette Stingray, Dodge Ice Charger, Subaru BRZ, ’18 Dodge Demon, and ‘71 Plymouth GTX were on display this weekend, as well as a special display of the Bonneville Salt Flat racers. The speedster exhibit included Speed Demon, billed as the world’s fastest piston-engine car, with a 438-mph run on the Salt Flats last year.

Here are the sights and sounds from the 2018 Detroit Autorama.

Ridler Award Winner: 1957 Chevy 150

This 1957 Chevy has a 515 ci Donovan Twin Turbo big block, which makes 1,084 horsepower on pump gas, with a Turbo 400 by Bowler. The panels on the inside of the car have been made from steel, the dash and upholstery is Terracotta leather throughout, and all of the wiring is hidden and tunneled.

This Chevy has a complete custom hood. Even the cowl was removed, so the hood runs right up to the glass windshield. The car has been chopped, sectioned, channeled, and all the chrome pieces on the car have been hand fabricated. The bumpers, which come from a '56 Chevy, have been turned upside down and fitted to the body.   See the below interview with the builder.

2018 Detroit Autorama Ridler Winner: 1957 Chevy 150



Great 8

The field of contenders at the Detroit Autorama were narrowed down to eight finalists - the Great 8. Here's a slideshow and video of the cream of the crop that competed for the 2018 Ridler Award.

1967 Camaro, Owned by Chris & Greg Allen of Selbyville, Delaware 1940 Ford, Owned by Reid Hotaling of Mooresville, North Carolina 1936 Pontiac, Owned by Robert Anderson of Savannah, Georgia 1939 Ford Delivery, Owned by Rhea & Harold Schrader of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey 1969 Camaro, Owned by Stuart Adams of Mooresville, North Carolina 1934 Ford Pickup, Owned by Danielle Lutz of Hamlin, Pennsylvania 1956 Continental, Owned by Chris Ryan of Ninety Six, South Carolina 1957 Chevy, Owned by Greg & Judy Hrehovscik and co-owner Johnny Martin of Johnny’s Auto Trim & Rod Shop



Here are owners/builders talking about their Great 8 finalist.

1967 Camaro

1936 Pontiac Sedan

1969 Camaro

1956 Continental MK II

1934 Ford Pickup

1940 Ford

1939 Ford Sedan Delivery

Cars from the Movie, 'Fate of the Furious'
Five 'Fate of the Furious' Cars Dodge Ice Charger 1966 Corvette Stingray 2018 Dodge Demon Suburu BRZ 1971 Plymouth GTX
Bonneville Salt Flat Racers
Speed Demon 1934 Chevy Competition Coupe 1955 Mercedes-Benz


Although a great deal of attention is given to the Great 8 and the selection of the Ridler winner (and deservedly so), there are so many other automobiles that stand out for their beauty and workmanship. Competition at this year's Detroit Autorama was fierce, and as you can see by the caliber of the entries, selecting the Great 8 wasn't an easy task. Here's some other hard-to-miss vehicles.

'53 Elegante

This futuristic luxury two seater, built in the early 1950s, was named the Elegante, and targeted an upscale market of customers. Based on a 1953 Cadillac chassis and running gear, and featuring a unique two piece folding convertible hardtop, this car was definitely a show stopper. The quad headlight rings, wind screen frame, door handles, hood and trunk trim, and recessed license plate insert were all fabricated from bronze and then plated in 24 karat gold. Aluminum trim and hubcaps were gold anodized. The body was painted iridescent mother-of-pearl white, with the interior completed in deep red wine Italian leather.

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