It’s the Great 8 – Ridler Award Contenders 2012
2012 Detroit Autorama Ridler Award Contenders
More fun than the republican primary! Vote for your favorite below.
Can’t get enough of the Autorama? Check out these other stories:
— Here’s the winner! Skip ahead and see the Ridler Winner
— Damn Great, but Not Great 8 – Detroit Autorama’s Best
— Going Down – Basement Best at 2012 Detroit Autorama
It’s about time. I’ve been grabbing photos from friends for long enough. It’s time for a personal account of the hot rods and custom cars that make up the Detroit Autorama, especially the best of the best, the Ridler cars. For the 60th Anniversary of the Detroit Autorama, the competition is extra tough… Fact is, I couldn’t figure out what cars were the “Great 8”!
Rules for the Ridler are pretty simple: The cars should show: Creativity, Engineering and Workmanship. (What they don’t mention is that the winner typically shows all three of these in a way, most likely, never seen before or done in a way that’ll cause mouths to hit the floor) Just a few other rules, the Ridler contenders must be showing for the very first time and must run, drive and stop in a basic way.
What’s not in the Rilder Rules? Body style, year or anything specifying what kind of car it is… Love that! So let’s mix it up here and see if we vote the same as the judges for the 2012 Ridler Award:
Enjoy the pictures and for any shot, click to see the full-size photo.
Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #1 ~ 1967 Shelby GT500
If you’ve ever seen me at a show, I’m runnin! Media gets in at 9AM so I’m shooting everything I can before the crowds pour in. My plan? Shoot the Ridler contenders first. No problem except the “openess” of the Ridler rules allow a bunch of cars to enter. With so many cars to review, the official Great 8 cars aren’t announced until noon. Still, I had my eye on a few and shot’m up right…
First up is the 1967 Shelby GT500 of Carol and Gordon Phillips rolling in from Quesnel, BC, Canada. I’m going on record now: This is my pick for the Ridler Award.
Built by JF Kustoms, this Mustang has every detail imaginable nailed. After JF Launier nailed it, he chromed it and polished it! The list of one-off details on this car starts with the wheels and the steering wheel, but dig that grille! “Kardiac 500” is custom machined in by Mike Curtis, designer and fabricator of the billet goodies. Why Kardiac? Part of it is how Gord’s gen-u-ine Shelby gives purists heart palpitations, but the rest? You’ll have to read my feature article coming soon…
Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #2 ~ 1955 Ford Thunderbird
Like the Shelby above, I was drawn to this 55 Thunderbird. Why not? The lines on 55-57 ‘bird are pure sex. I shot a few pics and nearly kept going until I saw the engine. Twin Turbos anyone? Listed only as a 1150 HP Gale Banks Engineering 6.0 liter, I gotta know what this thing sounds like… I’d also recommend some titanium “oh shit” handles since this car can’t weigh much more than it’s stock 3200 lbs. This is one of the few super-cars in Detroit I saw connected to an automatic trans.
Owned by Dwayne Peace and built and designed by Johnathan Peace, it sounds like a family affair. Greening Auto Company kicked in on the build too and handled the paint work and some machining duties. Execution on this car is fantastic. Check the bottom right shot for the way everything fits together. This 55 T’bird’s another winner.
Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #3 ~ 1933 Ford Roadster
The owners of this American Speed bodied 1933 Hot Rod Roadster are no strangers to the Detroit Autorama or the Ridler Award. The “A Bros” as listed on the license plate refers to Larry and Mike Alexander. In this Custom Rodder Article, they’re called “Custom Car Legends” and with good reason. They’ve won two previous Ridler Awards, one for the original 69’er and another for the Deora that we all know from Hot Wheels fame. (Where they allegedly got no credit.) They also built the “Silver Saphire” better known as the Beach Boys’ Little Deuce Coupe. This hot rod’s got a pedigree!
Looking at “Vision 33” the custom touches are everywhere and overall the Chip Foose penned concept flows one to the next. The rear end treatment shown and the custom, LED lit wheels centers are two of the best example of how this hot rod shows the Alexander Bros haven’t lost their custom touch.
Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #4 ~ 1932 Ford Coupe
Wicked stance. That and tons of “XS Cash” are what it takes to build a 1932 Ford Coupe to Ridler standards. This sinister stanced 1932 highboy is owned and built by Dave and Joyce Emery of Rochester Hills, MI. I flipped through the build book and found more custom details than imaginable. Try over 300 custom fasteners and covers to make even the spark plugs shine and dazzle! Then, four unique hundred dollar bills were used on the custom gauge faces by Classic Instrument. This deuce is definitely a contender!
Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #5 ~ 1932 Ford Coupe
This is Pete and Martha Datino’s “Retrospect Coupe” out of Valhalla, NY. Looks like hat’s off for this hot rod goes to Craig Naff of Woodstock VA for: Design, Chassis, fabrication and some of the machine work. I think he put gas in it for the first time too? From there we’d better mention Advanced Plating who seemed to have a piece of quite a few cars at the Autorama. Finally, the trick black in some light, changing to a deep, hearty blue in bright light paint was applied by Classic & Sport Auto Finishing in Edinburg, VA.
Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #6 ~ 1955 Chevy
As the third red Great 8 car, I know how my dad would vote. He’s never liked red… but on this “ZL-55” Chevy it’s working for me. Plus, pops has never tried to get a great indoor photo of a black car. It ain’t fun.
Owners Johnny and Frances Edmunson brought their 55 from Athens, TN along with, as the name suggests, an all aluminum ZL-1 427. The show card says it was raced by Gene Felton at some point, but Hinkle Machine Shop put the shine to it for the show circuit. Greening Auto Company kicked in on their second Rilder car for machining duties and I’m guessing Tracy over at Recovery Room fit the custom interior, including the fitted luggage. Since someone asked in a comment below, I’d better mention that the builders were Craig’s Hot Rod Shop in Knoxville, TN and Rongey’s Restoration in Ocoee, TN.
Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #7 ~ 1963 Chevy Nova SS Convertible
Superior Autoworks rolled in the “Atomic Bomb” 63 Nova SS Convertible, but luckily nobody panicked. Instead, like me folks stood back and took in the craftsmanship that put this Nova in the running for the Ridler. My favorite part was either the smoothed, custom taillights shown, or the grin on the face I saw pasting the “Great 8” sticker on the window. Most can only imagine the effort needed to bring a car like this from a drawing board to Cobo Center.
Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #8 ~ 1953 Chevy Pickup
Making their way from the great northwest in Prineville, OR, owners Robert and Nancy put some GO in their show truck: How about 1100 horsepower thumping out of a blown 540 cu. in Dart Motor? Hooked to a 4L80E, I can pretty much describe the rest of this slick green Chevy as, “Custom”. RK Restorations handled the build and paint comes from Charley Hutton. You remember his name from the Boyd show, but he’s been on his own forever now painting with PPG.
As the only pickup in the Great 8 pack, that’s a win right there!
Now’s the time… No more campaign promises or fiery debates (though you’re welcome to leave a comment) vote your favorite.