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.
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 spectators 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 selected 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 “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 Detroit 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 is 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 already 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 right, 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 Dodge 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 street 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.
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.