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. Part of the Speedster Exhibit, "Speed Demon," which is billed as the world’s fastest piston-engine car, ran at 438 mph on the Salt Flats last year.
Here are some of the sights and sounds from the 2018 Detroit Autorama.
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.
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.
Here are owners/builders talking about their Great 8 finalist.
Check out our video of George Poteet, owner and racer of "Speed Demon," talking about his car.
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 a one-of-a-kind 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.
Here are some other hard-to-miss vehicles.