It is official. The new Ridler Award winner for this year is a 1963 Chevy Custom Wagon. The announcement was just made during the Awards Ceremony at the 2020 Detroit Autorama. Owners Brad (father) and (brothers) Cory and Brady Ranweiler brought the unique custom fabricated classic Chevy Station Wagon to Detroit to contend for the Ridler Award, the most coveted trophy in the custom car hobby. When all of the owners of the Great 8 award winners were present here at the awards ceremony, you could have heard a pin drop as the announcement came. Then master of ceremonies, Barry Meguiar, read the judges decision. The 2020 Ridler Award winner was announced and the Ranweilers dreams had come true.
When the Ranweilers brought their 1963 Chevy Custom Wagon here to Detroit on Friday, it was immediately selected to the Great 8, the eight top customs which would then be in contention for the Ridler Award. The ’63 was the one to beat according to the custom car builders here at the Autorama. The incredible number of custom modifications on this car were over the top. The Ranweilers showed their nack for custom engineering. After nine years into the build, the Ranweilers completed the car in their own shop, Show Cars Automotive in New Ulm, Minnesota. There they specialize in 1958 to 1964 Chevrolets. Barry Meguiar, the master of ceremonies, noted the perfect black finish on this Chevy Wagon.
Here is a video on the Ranweilers, with a special interview telling us about the build.
In its 68th year, the Autorama is one of the most talked about custom car shows in the country. Some of the best custom car builders in the world will be here to compete in over 50 classes of awards. The top class involves the Great 8 award winners who are all in contention to win the Ridler Award.
America … here are your Great 8 selections for 2020:
1929 Ford Pickup Named “Driftwood”
Here is the sentimental favorite here at the 2020 Detroit Autorama. We caught up with Greg & Gail Wilson from Louisville, Kentucky. You have to love a Ford Flathead with 200R GM engine. Interior was done by Tracy Weaver in Omaha. Brad Starks in Paduca, Kentucky did the assembly work. Amazingly, the whole truck is made out of wood including most of the intricately designed interior. The beautiful mahogany wood bed treatment is incredible. You can see it up close in this video:
1955 Chevy Bel Air
In an interview with the owner of the 1955 Chevy Bel Air Custom called “Brute Force” we learned that the car was all hand bullt in his shop. Bob Matranga of Newport Coast, California said the whole front end is hand fabricated. With perfect fit and finish, they eliminated the “factory ugly” and smoothed out the sheet metal. Gabe Lopez did the detailed interior. Here is what he told us:
1934 Ford Altered Pickup
Don Richardson of Richardson Custom Autobody tells us how he built “Staxx,” the 1934 Ford Altered Pickup for Jerry Logan of Toledo, Washington. He is excited to have won a Great 8 Award here at the Detroit Autorama for 2020. These are tense moments as his car is now in contention to win the Ridler Award. He said the project was started in 1972, and was finally finished in its current form to show here for the first time at the Detroit Autorama. The engine is a Y-Block with a magnacharger. So many modifications, all hand made. One-off wheels are designed by Mike Curtis. Ron Mangus did the upholstery using Stingray, first time every used in an automobile.
1955 Cadillac Coupe DeVille
We caught up with Cory Gray, owner of Iconic Metalworks in Nashville, at his display for the 1955 Cadillac Coupe DeVille. It took seven years to build it for Frank & Debbi Hinmon of Genoa, Nevada. The incredible classic custom is in the running for the coveted Ridler Award here at the Detroit Autorama this weekend. In the inteview he tells us all about the build on this totally refabricated classic custom car show:
1956 Oldsmobile 98 Custom Convertible
Builder Mike Fillon of Prodesign Hot Rods took time to tell us all about the build on this 1956 Oldsmobile 98 Custom Convertible which took eight years to complete. The owner is Jeffrey Hess of Woodland, California. The idea was to build an old school 1950’s style custom with modern technology. Notice the Corvette front grille, the Classic Instruments custom designed dash panel, the frenched-in Continental kit, and even Packard inspired tail lights. The amount of detail work on this car is worthy of a Ridler car. This one is getting a lot of attention. Here is what Mike had to say:
1966 Ford F100 Custom Pickup
When we were taking pictures of the F100 Custom we ran into the crew from Rowes Rod & Customs of Akron, Ohio. They built this ride for George Conrad from Huron. Cathy told us they put in a Coyote 5.0 with a Whipple Supercharger. The totally refabricated front valance has a one-off grille treatment, one-off headlight rings, one-off hood with air scoops and one-off doors with flush mounted openers. They built it all on an Art Morrison chassis with lots of chrome showing in the undercarriage. The interior is not only custom upholstered in Relicate leather, but even the dash was hand built. The Budnick wheels are beautiful. That bed has a leather bedliner. Here is the video:
1969 Camaro Pro Touring
When Steve Cook of Steve Cook Creations began telling us about this 1969 Camaro Custom he built for Tim Wheeler, our jaws just dropped. Now here is a car that integrates the lines of the first generation Camaro with the nice smooth lines of the retro Camaros. It has a NASCAR style Don Harding 418 ci engine making about 650 hp, but he says it is a nice driver to boot. Tim plans to autocross it this year. You’ve gotta here this interview with Steve Cook:
Cars-On-Line.com is in Detroit to cover the intense action this weekend as we bring you up close and personal with the cars and builders. There are some incredible rides here. There just is no other place like it to find fresh builds and fresh ideas.
The famous Ridler Award originated here at the Detroit Autorama to honor Michigan Hot Rod Association promoter Don Ridler. In order to compete for the Ridler Award you first have to be picked to the Great 8, as the run for the Ridler is narrowed to eight contenders. Then, over the weekend, the top eight cars are judged. The Ridler Award winner will be announced Sunday evening. Stay tuned to this page for the announcement.
As usual, we’ll get some of the best video at the Detroit Autorama also. Here is a video by Bob Boberg of eClasicAutos.com.
Watch for our posts all weekend. You’ll find the most recent posts on Twitter.
Although the Ridler Award is the signature award of the Detroit Autorama, there are far more cars here at the show that deserve mention. They say there were over 800 cars on display. Below is a slider of some of the top customs and hot rods we found in the displays here at the TCF Center.