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Top Show Cars at the 2016 Detroit Autorama

Cadillac concept cars

A pair of GM Heritage Center vehicles were special Cadillac concept cars back in the day. They fit in perfectly with the show cars at the Detroit Autorama this weekend.

 

Top Show Cars, 2016 Detroit Autorama …

When you say “top show cars” at the Detroit Autorama people may think that you are referring only to the Ridler Award competition. But another category of top show cars are also on display here in Detroit. Close to 1,000 cars are here at the Cobo Center for the 2016 Detroit Autorama. While every car owner would like to vie for the Ridler Award, most are here to try to win their class at the show. There are 50 classes covering cars from radical customs to stock original classics. Here are some of the top show cars at the Detroit Autorama this year. These are the ones the press will not show you because they are not involved in the Ridler Award competition. But these are really some spectacular cars.

Select each thumbnail to view photos in the sliders below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have not yet read Cars On Line’s feature article on the 2016 Detroit Autorama follow this link to see the 2016 Ridler Award Winner and the Great 8 contenders for this year.

 

1940 Willys Pro Street Great 8 Winner at 2016 Detroit Autorama

1940 Willys Pro Street Great 8 winner at 2016 Detroit Autorama

1940 Willys Pro Street Great 8 winner owned by Greg Malvaso of Murphreesboro, TN

Torch red never looked so good as on this 1940 Willys Pro Street Great 8 winner from Tennessee. There is a lotta’ pride in this ride. Owner Greg Malvaso started this car years ago. When he met up with Triworks Hot Rods from Nashville he knew he wanted to bring it here to the 2016 Detroit Autorama to compete for the 2016 Ridler Award.
See more detailed photos in this slide show.
We got a chance to talk with Greg Malvaso and Grant Saulter, of Triworks Hot Rods, the company that finished the build. View the Periscope video on this 1940 Willys Pro Street Great 8 winner which broadcast live on Twitter earlier:

 

Go to our Facebook page to place your vote for the 1940 Willys Pro Street in an unofficial poll for the Ridler Award.

 

1941 Ford Pickup called “Mirage” Great 8 Winner

1941 Ford Pickup called "Mirage"

1941 Ford Truck called Mirage by Richard & Lynn Broyles

 

This 1941 Ford Pickup called “Mirage” is trending as the most popular Great 8 contender this morning among our Facebook followers. It will be among the top eight cars being considered for the Ridler Award this evening at Cobo Hall for the 2016 Detroit Autorama.
The people from the Borla booth here in Cobo Hall all came over to see this car because the Broyles used a Borla exhaust system with one-off custom built stainless steel over-the-frame headers. The number of radical custom mods are so numerous. This truck is a true one-of-a-kind custom. Look for the 1941 Ford Pickup called “Mirage” to win the 2016 Ridler Award here at the Detroit Autorama.
 

1937 Ford Deluxe Coupe Chosen to the Great 8

1937 Ford Deluxe Coupe Great 8 at 2016 Detroit Autorama

Dan Wathor’s 1937 Ford Deluxe Coupe w/Ford Hemi head motor.

 

His 1937 Ford Deluxe Coupe took ten years to build, but to Dan Walthor from California it was well worth the wait. His beautiful ’37 Deluxe has been chosen as a Great 8 selection, and this evening it could be chosen as the 2016 Ridler Award winner.

At Kenny’s Rod Shop they spent ten years off and on to finish this 1937 Ford Deluxe Coupe. It was a passion for KRS crew to finish this car they simply call the ’37 Deluxe. Readers may know that Ford never produced a ’37 Deluxe Coupe that year so this one-off, all steel car is the only one in existence. Here is a detailed look at this Great 8 contender.

We got a chance to talk with the builder of the 1937 Ford Deluxe Coupe just when they told him his car had made the Great 8. Watch as he lets us know what it means to have a car in the Great 8.

 

We ask our Facebook fans to vote for their favorite to win the Ridler Award out of the Great 8 contenders. All of the Great 8 contenders will be featured on our Facebook page during the weekend. Join the fun and vote for your favorites as you follow our coverage on the Cars On Line.com Facebook page.

1952 Mercedes-Benz 170S Great 8 winner

1952 Mercedes-Benz 170S wins Great 8 at 2016 Detroit Autorama

1952 Mercedes-Benz 170S is owned by Mark Gooden of Marshall, Missouri. It has been chosen to the Great 8 in the Ridler Award competition.

 

A 1952 Mercedes-Benz 170S Great 8 winner is not only a rare classic, it is a rare and unusual car to see street rodded. And to be done to this extent and detail … well, let’s just say it is a one-off that you may never see attempted again.

Derick Gooden of Samson Designs was at the show display when they told him his father’s 1952 Mercedes-Benz 170S had been chosen for a Great 8 award to be considered for the Ridler Award. He nearly jumped out of his shoes when they gave him the envelope. Here are some detailed photos of the car:

You can tell be the photos that the undercarriage on this car ranks it right up there with the best for show competition. Obviously the 1952 Mercedes-Benz 170S has been totally built ground up from scratch. Watch the video below to find out just how much time and love went into building this unusual street rod.

Just as Derick was being notified that he had won a Great 8 selection we did this Periscope video from Cobo Hall broadcast live on Twitter.

 

We ask our Facebook fans to vote for their favorite to win the Ridler Award out of the Great 8 contenders. All of the Great 8 contenders will be featured on our Facebook page during the weekend. Join the fun and vote for your favorites as you follow our coverage on the Cars On Line.com Facebook page.

1938 Graham Great 8 Award Contender for 2016 Ridler Award

1938 Graham Great 8 Award Contender

1938 Graham Great 8 Award contender owned by Michael and Patricia Markin of Eau Claire, WI

A 1938 Graham Great 8 Award contender was chosen this weekend to vie for the prestigious 2016 Ridler Award. The competition is happening as you read this report here at the 2016 Detroit Autorama. Cars On Line.com has been talking to the owner and even did a live Periscope video on Twitter (see below.) Now Cars On Line.com is asking its readers to vote for their favorite to win the 2016 Ridler Award on their Facebook page. Click here to vote now if you favor this 1938 Graham Great 8 Award contender to win the Ridler Award.

In an interview with Michael Markin, the owner of the 1938 Graham Great 8 Award contender, Cars On Line.com reviewed his “concept car”  5-Window Coupe. He told us he wanted to do the ’38 Graham Model 97 because back in the day Graham had plans to make a coupe, but never got around to it that year. Only the sedan models were built. So Michael decided he would build a coupe himself.

 

Here is the Periscope video broadcast live on our Twitter page and redistributed here for you:

 

 

When he was notified that his 1938 Graham had been chosen as a Great 8 car, Markin told us his “feet were 20 feet off the ground.” It was a dream come true. “Everything on this car has been either manufactured, modified or remade to the theme of the car, an art deco car with extreme features,” Markin told us. “Everything has been modified. In fact, the grille has been custom modified. Graham’s theme was ‘Spirit of Motion.’ They had a lot of flowing lines, big fenders and a lot of extreme curves.”

Cars On Line will cover the 2016 Ridler Award announcement live on Sunday evening. Watch for our Periscope live broadcast of the announcement on our Twitter page.

 

2016 Detroit Autorama, Home of the Ridler Award

2016 Detroit Autorama Ridler Award winner

1939 Oldsmobile Convertible Custom called “Olds Cool” wins Ridler Award at 2016 Detroit Autorama

 

2016 Detroit Autorama, World’s Greatest Car Show …

DETROIT, MI — In the finale of the 2016 Detroit Autorama a rare 1939 Oldsmobile Series 60 Convertible named “Olds Cool” captured the most coveted honor in the custom car world, the Ridler Award. Owner Billy Thomas of Corpus Christi, Texas accepted the 2016 Ridler Award at a ceremony in the Grand Riverview Ballroom at the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit this evening. Custom Hot Rods of Andice won the 2016 Builders Award for their work in creating this “Olds Cool” dream car.

Here is a photo slideshow of the 1930 Oldsmobile Series 60 Convertible called “Olds Cool” during the awards presentations.

Click this link to view a photo gallery on “Olds Cool” taken earlier this weekend at the 2016 Detroit Autorama. You’ll find several videos with interviews with the owner and a discussion of what it takes to bring a car to this level.

Here at the 2016 Detroit Autorama we have been awaiting the 2016 Ridler Award annoucement.  It was a little tense as the Great 8 group of contenders was the best there has ever been at the MHRA show in Detroit. You spend years of your time and talent to get a custom car to this level. You dream of this day all your life, to build a car so flawless and special that it can be called the 2016 Ridler Award winner. These are all great cars. No, actually they are all works of art.  But only one can win the coveted Ridler Award here at the 2016 Detroit Autorama.

Here are the Great 8 contenders for 2016:

1940 Willys Pro Street Great 8 winner at 2016 Detroit Autorama

Torch red 1940 Willys Pro Street.  Click here to view a photo gallery and videos.

 

1961 Chevy 409 Double Bubble Station Wagon

1961 Chevy 409 Double Bubble Station Wagon. Click here to view a photo gallery.

 

1952 Mercedes-Benz 170S wins Great 8 at 2016 Detroit Autorama

1952 Mercedes-Benz 170S owned by Mark Gooden of Marshall, Missouri. Click here to view photos and video.

 

1941 Ford Pickup at 2016 Detroit Autorama

1941 Ford Pickup called the “Mirage”. Click here to view a photo gallery.

 

1939 Olds Cool Custom Convertible

Bill Thomas’ 1939 Oldsmobile Convertible, “Olds Cool” wins the Ridler Award. Click here to view a photo gallery and videos.

 

X-Boss 1976 Ford Falcon Australian Street Machine

Chris and Colleen Bitmead’s 1976 Ford Falcon XBOSS from Australia. Click here to view a photo gallery and video.

 

1937 Ford Deluxe Coupe

Dan Wathor’s 1937 Ford Deluxe Coupe w/Ford Hemi. Click here to view a photo gallery and video.

 

Great 8 winner announcement

The SHARK, Pat and Mike Markin’s 1938 Graham called the SHARK. Click here to view photo gallery and video interview.

Friday’s opening of the 2016 Detroit Autorama revealed that the competition for the Ridler Award was going to be intense. Eight stellar cars were selected to the Great 8 as the field was narrowed down to the top eight contenders.  All eight cars are featured inside Cobo Hall where the world famous 2016 Detroit Autorama is underway. The Detroit Autorama is where custom car builders come to display their work and contend for the most sought-after trophy of them all, the Ridler Award. By definition of the rules the Ridler Award winner must be a fresh build, never shown anywhere before.

Sometimes we put so much weight on the importance of the Ridler Award that we forget that there are over 1,000 cars on display here at the Cobo Center during the 2015 Detroit Autorama. Cars entered in all 50 class categories are very strong entries this year. The winners of those categories are judged and awards are given for the top cars in each category. In addition, there are cash awards for the top categories. Here is the winner for Truck of the Year which has a $750 cash prize.

For more of the top show cars at the 2016 Detroit Autorama follow this link to our feature page on show car class winners.

While we were at the 2016 Detroit Autorama this weekend we were looking for new trends in the Street Rod hobby. We spotted this one at the GM Performance booth. Check out this video of a new development in paint techniques:

The cool electroluminescent paint is something fresh for this year. It is being offered here on a 2016 Camaro RS. The package is called the Krypton Concept. It includes luminescent Chevrolet bowties which appear in the paint and can be remotely activated. The package also includes 20-inch blackout wheels, HID headlamps with green LED running lamps, unique grille and decklid mounted spoiler. Interior has Krypton Green door inserts. This is so unique we had to show it to you here.

The Detroit Autorama has been running annually for 64 years and is the feature event of the Michigan Street Rod Association. Sponsors for the event againt this year are Meguiars and O’Reilly’s Auto Parts.

Photo Gallery of 2015 Detroit Autorama Show Cars

Bugnaughty in the photo gallery of 2015 Detroit Autorama show cars

We thought it would be interesting to put together a photo gallery of 2015 Detroit Autorama show cars. These are some of the popular rods and customs that did not make the Great 8 but may have just missed the cut this time. These cars were drawing lots of attention from show-goers.

 

Fred Warren (left with microphone) of Macedonia, Ohio was being interviewed by local media when we came across him on Friday. His 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe might have made it into the Great 8 this year but was disqualified from Ridler Award competition because he had shown it at the Grand National Roadster Show. His coupe was entered in the Altered Street Coupe 1932 class. Fred is a former Ridler Award winner. Click each thumbnail to see a larger high resolution photo.

 

Maureen and Jerry Chandler of Livonia, Michigan brought their ’71 Cuda to compete in the Semi Hardtop class at 2015 Detroit Autorama. The motor is a 440 Mopar big block bored out to 496 ci. Jerry said he did the body modifications, chassis and engine himself. It has a 727 Torqueflite with manual shift. Steve Holcomb at Pro Auto Custom Interiors did the leather interior.

 

An exotic custom replica of a 1937 Delahaye was set up in a display by Terry Cook, former Hot Rod magazine editor. Cook is now designing and marketing his own line of exotic classic replicas. This one he calls the Budnaughty. It uses design from the Delahaye as the pontoon fenders and the Auburn speedster. Chip Foose helped Cook with the design. Click the thumbnails to view larger high resolution photos.

 

Brent and Dina Groh brought their 1972 Mustang they call “Stilleto” from across the river in LaSalle, Ontario, Canada to show it here in Detroit. It is an interesting and ambitious treatment of a Mustang which was cagtegorized as being in the Street Touring ’70-Current class.

 

The 1932 Ford Roadster nicknamed “The Goodwin Speedster” was brought to the 2015 Detroit Autorama by Debra and Ronnie Goodwin of Smithville, Tennessee. It competed in the Altered Street Roadster – Pre 1935 category. It was built by Street Rods by Michael. It incorporates a Brookville steel body with a chassis done by the builder. It has a Pete & Jakes suspension, Ford 9″ rear and chrome by Advance Plating.

 

Also in the Altered Street Roadster – Pre 1935 category, an elegant 1933 Ford Roadster with a very rich looking interior was shown by Gil LeBlanc of New Brunswick, Canada. Click on any photo to see a larger version in high resolution.

 

A gorgeous 1956 Chevy Custom Convertible was display by John Provenzano of Wichita, Kansas. John’s car was built by Baur Restorations and competed in the Custom Convertible class. Beautiful chrome and brightwork by San Joaguin Plating, interior by Downey Upholstery. It includes a backup camera and push button shift. Those are Budnick wheels.

 

This cool 1956 Chevy Shorty Convertible called the “Bambino” started life as a ’56 4-Door Sedan. But now it has had 31 inches removed from the body. Doors were sectioned to fit. It has a Fatman front subframe. It is owned by Al Michol of Waterford, Michigan. Talk about a car that turns heads! It was entered in the Radical Custom Convertible class.

 

The quarters on this 1957 Corvette were widened 2 inches to fit the massive 345-45-18 tires on this one-off custom owned by Mark Eaton of Wichita, Kansas. It was entered in the Pro Touring 1955-Current category at the 2015 Detroit Autorama. It was also built by Bauer Restorations. In fact the body mods and detail on this car were extensive. It has an LS7 motor built by K-Tech Engineering to produce 600 horsepower.

 

Yes, there were muscle cars on display at Autorama too. Here is a 1970 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible with the W-30 option package. It was shown by owner James Kytra of Bruce Township, Michigan. It was entered in the Restored Convertible class. It is historically significant, being one of only 96 factory W-30 convertibles produced.

 

This 2005 Saturn Ion Redline edition has been so completely modified, it may have the most electronic devices of any car at the show. There were full size video screens in the dash and in the outside hood. It is owned by Lisa and Pablo Cruz of Amherst, New Jersey. It was the most impressive car in the Full Tuner category. It had been featured in Performance Audio & Sound magazine.

 

Al Nagele’s Deuce Flyer 1932 Ford Roadster

1932 Ford Roadster "Deuce Flyer" made the Great 8 at the 2015 Detroit Autorama

They only let one 1932 Ford Roadster into the competition for the Ridler Award this year, but it
is a good one and worthy of the award. Al Nagele’s Deuce Flyer 1932 Ford Roadster is as exquisitely beautiful as it is cutting edge progressive. Stretched and pinched, it is a jewel among true hot rod customs. The Roadster Shop stretched the ’32 Brookville steel roadster chassis while they pinched and stepped the frame rails with refabricated cross members. They dropped the front 5 inches. The center section is a Ford 9″ with positraction. The Deuce Flyer has a GM LS6 motor with CNC heads, Comp Cam, Edelbrock dual quads and a TKO500 5-speed. They estimate this little roadster will create 500 horsepower. About Noon today we noticed there was a Great 8 sign in their display.

In previous year’s there might have been five or more 1930’s Ford roadsters in the Ridler Award competition. This year Al Nagele’s Deuce Flyer 1932 Ford Roadster is the only one represented in the Great 8. It is entered in the Altered Street Roadster – Pre 1935 category.

Click the photos below to see larger view:

Al Nagele's Deuce Flyer 1932 Ford Roadster  Al Nagele's Deuce Flyer 1932 Ford Roadster interior  Al Nagele's Deuce Flyer 1932 Ford Roadster

Al Nagele's Deuce Flyer 1932 Ford Roadster  Al Nagele's Deuce Flyer 1932 Ford Roadster

1956 Plymouth Custom Convertible

1956 Plymouth Custom Convertible

The sign in the show display says it is a rare combination of modern age technology with 1950’s Golden Age design and spirit. It is the 1956 Plymouth Custom Convertible brought to the 2015 Detroit Autorama by Gil and Janet Losi of Murrieta, California. It was entered in the Radical Custom Convertible category.

Our Cars On Line.com Facebook fans voted for this car as their choice for the Ridler Award for 2015. It received 598 “Likes” as our Facebook followers showed they disagreed with the Detroit Autorama judges. Sorry, Chip.

The ’56 Belvedere is built on a custom chassis with a late model 6.1L Hemi engine. Look at the photos and you’ll see Curtis/Foose wheels, Axalta paint, Advanced Plating custom chrome and a Gabe Lopez interior. The build was completed by Steve Cook Creations. This 1956 Plymouth Custom Convertible was notified it has been judged to be qualified to compete for the Ridler Award and has been included in the exclusive Great 8. That is a heady place to be for any custom car.

At Steve Cook’s shop they build customs the way they have been built for decades. Steve told us that he always tries to keep the essential lines of the original classic intact. In this case, there is no doubt that you are looking at a ’56 Belvedere. But every body panel is reworked not only to make it better than factory stock but to create an art form of the original. You’ll notice there are no panel gaps in the body, every panel and rocker fits seamlessly and straight.

The paint was a special blend done by Cook. He told us how he mixed three candy colors and two pearls, but we don’t want to repeat his method here because he said it was not done the way they teach it in paint school. In fact, he said it was kind of a mistake. He does things by eye. Suffice it to say it is a one-off color that will never be duplicated. But the result is amazing.

The wheels were made by Mike Curtis and have the center cap design from the original Belvedere. These wheels are gorgeous and one-off.

Be sure to lick on the photos below to view a larger version:

1956 Plymouth Custom Convertible  1956 Plymouth Custom Convertible   1956 Plymouth Custom Convertible

1956 Plymouth Custom Convertible wheels by Mike Curtis   1956 Plymouth Custom Convertible   1956 Plymouth Custom Convertible

1956 Plymouth Custom Convertible taillights

Click here to link back to the 2015 Detroit Autorama news feed.

1969 Camaro Custom called Infused

1969 Custom Camaro "Infused" at 2015 Detroit Autorama

A 1969 Custom Camaro called Infused was chosen to compete in the Great 8 today for the Ridler Award competition. The owner is Alan Reed from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He calls the car “Infused” as opposed to injected. It was designed and built by Hot Rod Joe’s Rod & Custom shop in Lafayette, Louisiana. The front and rear valances are all custom fabricated sheet metal facia with altered body lines and shaved dip rails, custom window trim and flush mounted glass. Underneath is a Heidt’s Pro G front with Wilwood 13″ 6-piston brakes, Heidt’s 4-link with 9″ Ford differential and Wilwood 12″ 4-piston brakes in back. It is powered by a GM SL3 motor with a Magnusson Heartbeat Supercharger. Inside was done by Pro Auto Interiors of Knoxville, Tennesee. Then they added a Pioneer touchscreen, DVD and backup camera, touch start and push button E-brake.

This 1969 Custom Camaro called Infused is competing in the Full Hardtop category. It is only recently that cars in these muscle car oriented street machine categories have been considered for the Ridler Award competition. It is refreshing to see that Autorama is changing with the times. While just a few years ago the competition was dominated by 1930’s classic street rods, today there are more different types of cars being considered for America’s top rod and custom award.

Chip Foose 1965 Chevy Impala

Chip Foose 1965 Chevy Malibu

The Chip Foose 1965 Chevy Impala known as “Impastar” has won the 2015 Ridler Award. In a short awards ceremony on Sunday at the 2015 Detroit Autorama, Don and Elma Voth approached the awards podium as the proud recipients of the Ridler Award, the most prestigious award in the custom car building hobby. Their joy at winning the Ridler was complimented by the appearance of TV celebrity and custom car builder Chip Foose.  This was the fourth time that a Foose-built custom has won the Ridler Award.

We know that whatever Foose touches turns to gold. So when it became known that a Chip Foose 1965 Chevy Impala was built for the Voths who hail from Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, everybody surmised that the Ridler Award was in their sights. Foose had built the ’65 Chevy Impala Custom for the Voths because their favorite car was an Impala Super Sport. So why did they call it the “Impastar?” It seems that it was a play on the words “Impala” and “imposter.” Foose designed a logo for the car spelled “I-m-p-a-s-t-a-r.” The imposter reference came about when Foose used a ’65 Impala body fitted to a stretched 2008 Corvette chassis. In the photos below you will see a second white 1965 Chevy Impala which was part of the Foose display. On the second car he showed where the cuts were made on the Ridler car.

With Foose in the Great 8 it took the competition up a notch. There was already a great lineup of cars ready to compete for the Ridler this year. That level of competition provided anxious moments for all eight contenders as Sunday arrived and the awards presentation was about to commence.

The fact that the Chip Foose 1965 Chevy Impala was competing in the Radical Hardtop category is a departure for Foose. For his three previous Ridler Awards, Foose built a 1935 Chevy Master for Bob and Wes Rydell in 2002; a 1934 Mercury Stallion for Ron Whiteside, 2003; and a 1936 Ford Roadster for Ken Reister, 2005. This is the first time he has had an entry in a custom hardtop category in competition for the Ridler. However, Foose has a history of excelling at custom muscle and pro touring cars. Evidence the amazing Terracuda, a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda Custom built for the CEO of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Click on the photos below for a larger view:

Chip Foose 1965 Chevy Impala  Chip Foose 1965 Chevy Impala  Chip Foose

Chip Foose 1965 Chevy Impala  Chip Foose 1965 Chevy Impala  1965 Chevy Impala interior

Chip Foose 1965 Chevy Impala  sample car shows where body mods were made  undercarriage  Chip Foose 1965 Chevy Impala

1959 Rambler American 2-Dr Wagon makes Great 8

1959 Rambler American 2-Dr Wagon at 2015 Detroit Autorama

A Ridler Award contender, the 1959 Rambler American 2-Dr Wagon makes the Great 8 list of contenders today. From that select group known as the Great 8 will come the 2015 Ridler Award winner. It is the biggest event here at the 2015 Detroit Autorama. That’s why Dean Osland of Scottsdale, Arizona is a happy custom car owner today. For a moment he can relax and bask in the awareness that his car was chosen among the top eight custom cars in the world.

This car is categorized in the Radical Custom Wagon class.

If the Ridler Award were judged on cool gadgetry alone this car would win hands down. It is a two-seater with a custom cargo area that opens electronically. Pop the rear taillight and the tailgate goes up. Then click a lever and the top of the storage compartment reveals a cargo area nicely matched with the interior.

Click the photos below for a larger view.

1959 Rambler American 2-Dr Wagon makes Great 8  1959 Rambler American 2-Dr Wagon makes Great 8  1959 Rambler American 2-Dr Wagon makes Great 8

1959 Rambler American 2-Dr Wagon makes Great 8  1959 Rambler American 2-Dr Wagon makes Great 8  1959 Rambler American 2-Dr Wagon makes Great 8

 

It was way back in 2008 when a 1960 Rambler Custom Wagon won the Ridler Award. Can it happen again?

Here is a link to the Ridler Award winners from 2000-2009.

Click here to link back to the 2015 Detroit Autorama news feed.

 

 

1965 Dodge Dart SL Street Touring

1965 Dodge Dart in the Great 8 at 2015 Detroit Autorama

Great 8 Contender for the Ridler Award …

Willie and Charlotte Maise were on their way over to the Cobo Center Friday morning to see their 1965 Dodge Dart SL Street Touring car at the 2015 Detroit Autorama. Their pride and joy,  a 1965 Dodge Dart which they call the “Dart SL ” was to be shown to the public for the first time, and their anticipation was high. This car started out to be Willie’s driver, but when he took it to Big Oak Garage, the crew there came up with some good ideas so Willie’s driver turned into a full on show car. Every panel was reworked. The roof was lowered a bit toward the windshield and the body was totally reworked.  The finely crafted custom includes 110 body modifications, 42 one-off machined parts and countless hand-made sheet metal pieces. But the lines of the car and enough of the look of the car were saved so that you can very definitely tell it is a ’65 Dodge Dart. The fit and finish on this car are perfect.

The Dart SL has a 392 Supercharged Gen 2 Hemi motor which is the heart of the car. It sits in a perfect clean engine compartment where all of the wires and plumbing are hidden, even the radiator was built in under a special valance.

When Big Oak Garage designed in the the suspension they used a special belly pan type cover that is tied into the rear suspension and they used a torque arm type suspension in the rear. (See photo.) An air vent was used below the headlights on the front valance to bring air through a duct in the fender to the front brakes. (See headlight photo.) You can also see that the front headlights are LED.

In the photos you’ll notice the one-off Schott wheels labeled SL65’s. Willie was told by Schott that they will be selling this design sometime in the future, and they will call them SL65’s in honor of this build.

The custom interior is so fully detailed it takes a while to take in all the subtleties. The interior was done by M&M Hot Rod Interiors.

Big Oak Garage did the paintwork in-house. The D-BASF color is called Green With Envy.

Willie and Charlotte soon found out that their car had been selected as one of the Great 8 contenders for the 2015 Ridler Award. Willie said, “It’s still all just sinking in.”

1965 Dodge Dart SL Great 8 contender for the Ridler Award

Click thumbnail pictures to view a larger resolution photo.

1965 Dodge Dart rear view  1965 Dodge Dart Great 8 contender for the Ridler Award  1965 Dodge Dart 392 Supercharged Gen 2 Hemi motor

1965 Dodge Dart SL makes the Great 8  1965 Dodge Dart in the Great 8 at 2015 Detroit Autorama   1965 Dodge Dart SL65 LED headlight

1965 Dodge Dart SL65 rear torque arm suspension  1965 Dodge Dart SL65 fit and finish  1965 Dodge Dart SL65 from the rear

 

Click here to return to the 2015 Detroit Autorama page.

 

2015 Detroit Autorama

Chip Foose 1965 Chevy Impala wins Ridler Award

The 1965 Chevy Impala Custom nicknamed “The Impastar” has been chosen by 2015 Detroit Autorama judges as the Ridler Award winner.

 

Foose Wins Ridler Award at 2015 Detroit Autorama

DETROIT, MI, March 8, 2015 — It’s official. Chip Foose has solidified his legacy as a car designing legend by winning his fourth Ridler Award at the 2015 Detroit Autorama this evening. Foose designed and built the 1965 Chevy Impala Custom Hardtop which was chosen for the award. The Ridler Award is considered the most prestigious honor in the world of hot rods and customs.

In a short awards ceremony the 2015 Ridler Award trophy was presented to Don and Elma Voth of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada for their incredible 1965 Chevy Impala Custom they nicknamed “The Impastar.” It is a play on the words “Impala” and “imposter.” Imposter is a reference to the ’65 Impala body being shortened to fit on a stretched 2008 Corvette chassis. What you see is not what you get.

The Builders Cup trophy was given to TV celebrity and custom car designer Chip Foose for designing and building the Ridler winning car. This is the fourth time a Chip Foose built car has won the Ridler Award.

Ridler Award ceremony at 2015 Detroit Autorama

Elma and Don Voth (center) are presented with the Ridler Award for their fresh custom build, a 1965 Chevy Impala Custom they call the “Impastar.” Designer and builder Chip Foose stands to the right.

 

Chip Foose next to Ridler Award

Chip Foose, star of the TV series Overhaulin’, at the podium after receiving his fourth Ridler Award. The Ridler Award trophy sits next to the podium.

 

Foose used humble words when he accepted the Builders Cup award for the Ridler winning 1965 Chevy Impala Custom. “I’m not a car builder,” he said, preferring to think of himself as an artist and designer. He indicated that he has always been lucky to have the right people to support him both at home, a reference to his wife Lynne, and at work. One of the things that is endearing to car guys is how Chip Foose never let his fame go to his head. He’s always ready to talk cars with anyone who approaches him.

Don Voth, in his acceptance of the Ridler Award, noted that his wife Elma actually came up with the idea of building the Chevy. He said the simple formula for winning the Ridler Award is to convince Chip Foose to build it for you.

Click here to view more photos and a story on the 2015 Ridler Award winning 1965 Chevy Impala Custom.

The Ridler Award is chosen by the judges of the Detroit Autorama, one of the best known custom car shows in the world. The 2015 Detroit Autorama was put on by the Michigan Street Rod Association and sponsored by Meguiars.

On Friday, eight top cars were chosen to contend for the Ridler Award here at the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit.  These top contenders are known as the Great 8. Tension was high here all weekend as 2015 Ridler Awardspectators were milling around the Great 8 winners speculating on who would win the Ridler Award.
By definition of the rules they all had to be fresh builds, never shown anywhere before, all hoping to capture the Ridler Award, considered the highest achievement in the custom car building hobby.  The 2015 Detroit Autorama is sponsored by the Michigan Street Rod Association. Don Ridler was a tireless promoter for the Michigan Street Rod Association during his short life. The Ridler Award is in memory of his contributions. Click here for a tribute to Don Ridler by Autorama. The Don Ridler Memorial trophy is always awarded here at the Detroit Autorama. This will be the 52nd annual Ridler Award competition.

We asked our Facebook fans to vote for their favorite to win the Ridler Award out of the Great 8 contenders. All of the Great 8 contenders were featured on our Facebook page during the weekend. Click the link to find out which one our readers picked.

Here are the Great 8 cars:

1959 Rambler American 2-Dr Wagon – Great 8

It was way back in 2008 when a 1960 Rambler Custom Wagon won the Ridler Award. Can it happen again? A 1959 Rambler American Custom Wagon from Scottsdale, Arizona was just 1959 Rambler American 2-Dr Wagon at 2015 Detroit Autoramaselected to the Great 8. Dean Osland brought his 1959 AMC Rambler American Custom 2-Dr Wagon to the 2015 Detroit Autorama hoping to compete for the Ridler Award. His dreams have stayed ontrack as of Friday by being selected to the Great 8. If the Ridler Award were judged on cool gadgetry alone this car would win hands down. It is a two-seater with a custom cargo area that opens electronically. Pop the rear taillight and key the switch to see the tailgate go up. Then click a lever and the top of the storage compartment opens.

See more photos of this 1959 Rambler 2-Dr Wagon by clicking this link.

1969 Custom Camaro – Infused – Great 8

A 1969 Chevy Custom Camaro was chosen to compete in the Great 8 today for the Ridler Award competition. The owner is Alan Reed from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He calls the car 1969 Custom Camaro "Infused" at 2015 Detroit Autorama“Infused” as opposed to injected. It was designed and built by Hot Rod Joe’s Rod & Custom shop in Lafayette, Louisiana. The front and rear valances are all custom fabricated sheet metal facia with altered body lines and shaved dip rails, custom window trim and flush mounted glass. Underneath is a Heidt’s Pro G front with Wilwood 13″ 6-piston brakes, Heidt’s 4-link with 9″ Ford differential and Wilwood 12″ 4-piston brakes in back. It is powered by a GM SL3 motor with a Magnusson Heartbeat Supercharger. Inside was done by Pro Auto Interiors of Knoxville, Tennesee. Then they added a Pioneer touchscreen, DVD and backup camera, touch start and push button E-brake. Click here to view more photos of this 1969 Custom Camaro called Infused.

1956 Plymouth Custom Convertible – Great 8

The sign in the show display says it is a rare combination of modern age technology with 1950’s Golden Age design and spirit. It is the 1956 Plymouth Custom Convertible brought to the 2015 1956 Plymouth Convertible in the Great 8 competitionDetroit Autorama by Gil and Janet Losi of Murrieta, California.  It is entered in the Radical Custom Convertible category, but today the Autorama judges were so impressed that they put a Great 8 Award sign in the display. Gil’s car has been entered to contend for the Ridler Award. The ’56 Belvedere is built on a custom chassis with a late model 6.1L Hemi engine. Look at the photos and you’ll see Curtis/Foose wheels, Axalta paint, Advanced Plating custom chrome and a Gabe Lopez interior. The build was completed by Steve Cook Creations. Click here to view more photos of this unusual 1956 Plymouth Custom Convertible entered in the Radical Custom Convertible class.

1932 Ford Roadster – Deuce Flyer – Great 8

They only let one 1932 Ford Roadster into the competition for the Ridler Award this year, but it 1932 Ford Roadster "Deuce Flyer" made the Great 8 at the 2015 Detroit Autoramais a good one and worthy of the award. Al Nagele’s “Deuce Flyer” is as exquisitely beautiful as it is cutting edge progressive. Stretched and pinched, it is a jewel among true hot rod customs. The Roadster Shop stretched the ’32 Brookville steel roadster chassis while they pinched and stepped the frame rails with refabricated cross members. They dropped the front 5 inches. The center section is a Ford 9″ with positraction. The Deuce Flyer has a GM LS6 motor with CNC heads, Comp Cam, Edelbrock dual quads and a TKO500 5-speed. They estimate this little roadster will create 500 horsepower. About Noon today we noticed there was a Great 8 sign in their display. Click this link to see more photos of the 1932 Ford Roadster Deuce Flyer.

Chip Foose 1965 Chevy “Impaster” – Great 8

They just couldn’t keep it a secret. Since it has been all over the internet that Chip Foose would be bringing a car to the 2015 Detroit Autorama again this year to compete for the Ridler Award the press was Chip Foose 1965 Chevy Malibualready anticipating his appearance here. The Foose Design team built a 1965 Chevy Impala for Don and Elma Voth of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada that has everyone talking about it. Chip was at the display a good part of the morning on Friday as the exhibit was being set up. The display is like no other here. Chip actually had a second 1965 Chevy Impala set up in the display with the cut marks outlined on the car to indicate where the body mods were on the show car. Foose has won more Ridler Awards than any other designer. His presence here ups the anti as to who will  win the Ridler Award. But Foose will have to earn it on build quality, not on his reputation.  The competition here this year is intense. However, there is a Great 8 sign in his display, so he’s in. Click here to see more photos and info on the Chip Foose 1965 Chevy Impala.

Carbon 14 – 1937 Ford Woodie Wagon – Great 8

All the top custom builders think this 1937 Ford Woodie Wagon is the one to beat. They say it was built ProRides' 1937 Ford Woodie Wagonright, a very difficult build to achieve because of the wood construction. The display benefitted from a digital media presentation on how the rod was built. This is not your typical resto rod. The list of equipment used is like a litany of the top performance parts vendors. It was brought to the show by Mike and Melinda Terzich of Gibsonia, Pennsylvania. Their company, ProRides, has been building top show cars for over 20 years. They have won Goodguys as Street Machine of the Year with a famous ’56 Chevy Radical Custom. But they have never won a Ridler Award. This year, that all might change. See more high resolution photos of the ’37 Ford Woodie by clicking this link.

Willie Maise 1965 Dodge Dart SL – Great 8

When we left the GM Renaissance Center today we bumped into Willie and Charlotte Maise from Hokes Bluff, Alabama. They were a little nervous as this was to be the day that they would find out if their 1965 1965 Dodge Dart rear viewDodge Dart would make the Great 8 as a contender for the Ridler Award for 2015. It was not long after they arrived that they were told that their ’65 Dart, which was entered in the Street Touring 1955-69 category, had been selected as one of the Great 8. The excitement was written all over Willie’s face as well as in his voice as he talked about the car. All the hopes and dreams that built this car had come to this. When you get that sign that says “Great 8” placed in your display the whole world opens up. There is no way to describe how much joy that brings to a custom car guy when he is recognized here at the Detroit Autorama as having one of the top cars in the country.  Click here to view more photos.

Stampede – 1969 Mustang – Great 8

There was a time when you could only win the Ridler Award if you brought a 1932 Ford Roadster to the Detroit Autorama. Then they opened it up a little to let ’50s classic customs into the mix. Last year a 1969 Mustang Stampede makes the Great 8street machine won for the first time. Now this year a 1969 Mustang with 20″ wheels has entered the Great 8.  And the builder didn’t have a gray hair on his head. What is this world coming to!? Seriously, it is good to see a radical custom muscle car like this 1969 Mustang called the “Stampede” earn a place in the Great 8. The custom PPG paint is startling under the neon lighting in this display. And the Boss 572 ci motor just plain turns heads with its multi-stack EFI. It uses Air Ride shocks with a magnetic ride, tubular front suspension and torque arm rear suspension. The wheels are 20X10 front and 20X12 rear. The interior has no stitching. We’ll have to find out more about this one. The car is owned by Tim Palazzolo of Houston, Texas. It competes in the Semi Hardtop category. Click here to view more photos and build info.

1971 Plymouth Cuda at 2015 Detroit  Autorama

Some of the cars that did not make it into the Great 8 were still very popular among show-goers. Here is a 1971 Cuda that drew a lot of attention all weekend.

More Customs at 2015 Detroit Autorama …

While the Great 8 and the Ridler Award were of immense interest to the press and custom car builders around the country, there were many cars at the 2015 Detroit Autorama that drew crowds. The 1971 Cuda you see here really got the attention of show-goers. It was brought to the show by Maureen and Jerry Chandler of Livonia, Michigan. It was competing in the Semi Hardtop category. The car was built by Motor City Solutions with paint done by Greg Dutton. Jerry says he did the body mods and engine himself.

And we found many more rods and customs that you’ll want to see. Click here to see a gallery of photos of the beautiful customs at Autorama.

It is fitting that the greatest custom auto show in the world is held here in Deroit, the city that holds so much of America’s automotive history. Over 1,000 custom cars were on display here.  There is just nothing like it anywhere else in the country. Street rods, customs, pro touring cars, rat rods, classic muscle cars and sport compact tuners, they are all on display here. That’s what you’ll find at the 63rd Annual 2015 Detroit Autorama.  It is the longest running rod and custom show in the country. The show started on Friday and ends today. They estimate that over 170,000 people will have passed through the turnstiles by this evening.

The 2015 Detroit Autorama was held at the Cobo Center, a famous venue on the Detroit riverfront. Click this link to view the Ridler Award winners from this decade, 2010-2014. Here is a link to the winners from 2000-2009. This will be our third year covering the Autorama in Detroit. It is always a great show. In addition to the Ridler Award competition there were hundreds of top show cars in over 50 different categories. It is an amazing awards ceremony. Show goers will also get to meet and talk to the top custom car builders in the country.

1932 Ford 4-Door Sedan

32ford-1aDon Smith of Mansfield, Texas brought his 1932 Ford 4-Door Sedan to the 2014 Detroit Autorama here at the Cobo Center to compete in the Ridler Award judging. Watching their crew set up you knew they meant business. Everyone here at the 2014 Detroit Autorama says that this ’32 is a serious contender among the Great 8 finalists. Their car is a traditional  hot rod build with old school look and paint. The strong point on this car is that it is technically perfect. It is as flawless underneath as it is on top. Hot Rods by JSK in Texas did all the design, build and assembly on this car. Their assignment from Smith was to “time travel” back to a period during the late ’50s and early ’60s when street rods like this were built. With that mindset they were to use mostly period type parts to build this rod. That means they literally had to fabricate almost everything on the car by hand. It is all new built from scratch. And it took about three years to complete. They told us they pretty much finished it just as they were loading it on the trailer to bring it here. 

The body resembles a deuce Fordor sedan. But this is not an old Ford restoration. Hot Rods by JSK built a custom frame with an S arch over the rear wheels much like a ’33 or ’34 Ford. Then they fabricated the body the way it would look if it had been chopped and channeled. The back doors open like suicide doors on this 4-door car. When opened (see photo below) there is no B pillar to inhibit getting in which allows easy access to the interior. What Hot Rods by JSK did was to hide the center post in the back doors. 

This beautiful hotrod has a well appointed, bored and stroked Thunderbird 312 ci V8 engine with chromed Laker style headers and short pipes coming out each side. They told us it was a real ’57 Y block that they used. They topped it with a rare Hilborne injection unit which was converted to digital. The transmission is a T-5 Chevy 5-speed with a custom designed shifter. A chromed Winters Quick Change was used to hook up the rear drive axle. 

They used a Schroeder steering box to create a sprint car type system to turn the car. They made buckets for the gauges out of ’37 Ford taillights, and sent them to Classic Instruments for the hardware. The brakes were redesigned from a ’39 Lincoln. 

The leather interior was done by Paul Atkins, known for his custom interiors. 

Don Smith is an ex Pro-Stock truck driver with a preference for Deuce Fords. He has had a number of them in his collection.

Click on each thumbnail below for a larger view:

1932 Ford 4-Door Sedan 1932 Ford 4-Door Sedan 1932 Ford 4-Door Sedan

1932 Ford 4-Door Sedan 1932 Ford 4-Door Sedan

1964 Rivision – 2014 Ridler Award Winner

1964 Rivision, Buick Riviera Custom

It’s time to meet the 1964 Rivision – 2014 Ridler Award winner and one man’s vision of what is to come. Not a custom conversion so much as a complete revision is what L.F. Launier was after when he designed the beautiful custom 1964 Buick Riviera custom which he calls “Rivision.” “It is a concept car more than a classic custom,” Launier told us. “It is like we went back to 1964 and had a different vision for the Riviera than Buick did.” That may be what separated the 1964 Rivision from the other cars in the Great 8 list of finalists for the Ridler Award here at the 2014 Detroit Autorama. While Launier, the builder, saw his Rivision as a concept of the future, the rest of the Great 8 were a reflection of the past.

As Launier talked about his custom creation we realized he was in search of the “soul” of this car. Driven by his passion for the Buick Riviera, a passion he has had since his childhood, Launier has built his “Rivision” of Buick history as we know it. It’s about what Buick might have built if they had only known. 

Essentially it is a two-seater sports custom with a custom fabricated “boattail” look similar to a ’71 Buick Riviera all hand formed and custom fabricated on an English wheel with metal stretchers and shrinkers. Although it has the basic Riviera look, the body is three inches wider on each side. Launier does all the metal fabrication himself. The Riv has hand formed fenders, hand formed hood, hand formed quarters and rear section, one-off custom chassis and a fully hand crafted leather custom interior.

Rivision drew tons of spectators at the 2014 Detroit Autorama here today.  By observation it was the most popular among the Great 8 cars. What caught most people’s attention was the unusual way Launier turbo ventsbuilt the twin turbos to power it. The turbos are in the trunk in back of the seats. The air intakes are side vented in the rear quarter haunches of the car. The twin turbos are positioned under the trunk lid where the air is cooled, compressed and pushed though an eight foot tube feeding the front mounted engine. Why? In recent years it has been discovered that turbo compressed air is contolled better when it is cooled before it hits the cylinders. There is no turbo lag that way, according to Team Rivision. “It doesn’t matter how much horsepower you create,” says Launier, “if you can’t control it and bring it on demand.” 

The two turbos then boost denser air through an 8-foot tube to the front mounted Chevy LS 6.2L  high performance engine producing 850 hp at the rear wheels. When Team Rivision opened the trunk lid to reveal the Twin Turbo systemexhaust tubes and the turbos it created quite a buzz among show goers. They were lining up to see the unusual configuration and speculating on how it worked. In the photo you see two copper colored tubes used to cool the air pushed from the turbos, combine and extend eight feet to the engine where it delivers cooler and denser compressed “air” for greater combustion.

Launier told us that every inch of metal on his Riviera was refabricated except for a center swatch of the door panels. Most of the rear valance on the Rivision does not exist on any car but is so well integrated into the design that it looks factory made.  

“I was aiming at building something between a Ferrari and a Rolls-Royce,” Launier told us. “This was to be a personal luxury car with performance.” Launier had grown up inspired by the the Buick Riviera, Buick’s luxury muscle car with creature comforts. He told us that it is his intention to race the car. 

Mike Curtis wheelsLaunier’s friend Mike Curtis created the one-off custom wheels which you see on the Rivision. Each wheel is designed specifically for  its own corner of the car and cannot be interchanged. Although the “turbine blade” spokes are designed to reduce wheel weight they also create the right amount of strength as tremendous horsepower is brought to the pavement.  No show queen here. Launier has always raced his show cars in auto-cross.

Launier has already built a name for himself as a top custom car builder. His clients have brought three other cars to compete for the Ridler Award and has made the Great 8 each time. His Rivision however is his own car. This one was made specifically to win the Ridler. He has invested over $300,000 in parts and materials alone. But that does not include the estimated 20,000 hours of labor he has put into it. 

Click each of the thumbnails below to see a larger image.

1964 Rivision 1964 Rivision rear  1964 Rivision

1964 Rivision 1964 Revision 

1957 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop

1957 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop

When you look over the field of candidates competing for the 2014 Detroit Autorama Ridler Award you have to consider John Sadler’s 1957 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop as a spoiler. It’s good enough to win the award, but Sadler is presenting a car here for the first time. The plus that he has going for him is that the car presents itself well. 

First of all, every inch of the car has been refabricated with hundreds of modifications from stock condition. The front valance has a completely custom look but is so perfect done that it could be mistaken for factory made. The top was chopped 1.5 inches with all stainless cut to fit to hide the chop. It has a smoothed firewall, drip rails were removed, custom hood with top and bottom smoothed with bullets removed, plus the bottom pan is rolled. The front headlights are made by Hagen and they have been frenched, grille is modified. Notice the smoothed one-piece front bumper with bullets removed. The special leather custom interior is by Chuck Rowland of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The 2.5 inch custom exhaust was done by Juliano’s. 

Sadler tells us the frame alone has 31 modifications. The original frame was boxed and smoothed. 

1957 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop 1957 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop 1957 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop

1957 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop 1957 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop 1957 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop

1957 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop