Damn Great, but Not Great 8 – Detroit Autorama’s Best

2012 Detroit Autorama Not Ridler Contenders?


I took alota pictures at the Detroit Autorama. I had too…  at first, as I mentioned in the Great 8 Ridler Contender story, I didn’t know which of the MANY fine rides at the show were actually in the running for the big award, the Ridler. So… I snapped away. No harm done cause that gives me a great reason to highlight the Autorama’s “Not Great 8” hot rods and customs and let you decide if they shoulda been included. That’d mean one of the chosen Great 8 cars would have to go, so you decide… Did the judges pick the right cars? Leave a comment if you have an opinion.


Keep in mind, if any of these cars have been shown before, they’re automatically out of the Ridler competition. If anyone knows specifically why one of the following weren’t included, please let me know. (I’ll speculate too)


As always, click to see the full-size photo.


Not Great 8 – 2012 Detroit Autorama’s Best

1933 hot rod, 2012 Detroit Autorama, 1933 Ford Coupe, hot rod
2012 Detroit Autorama, 1933 Ford Hot Rod2012 Detroit Autorama, 1933 Ford Coupe


This 1933 Hot Rod Ford coupe owned by Gregg and Jodi Blackford was built, coincidentally, by Hot Rods by Greg (one g). I’m pretty sure this car was intended to be a Ridler contender from Greg’s website that says, “Caliber” is “Going for the Ridler Award in 2012.” No idea why it wasn’t a finalist, really… the only thing I could say is that the engine compartment wasn’t as mind-blowing as other contenders and maybe the judges were tired of this display. You’ll see it in three other cars featured in this story.


2012 Detroit Autorama, 1971 Chevy Camaro

2012 Detroit Autorama, 1971 Camaro, pro touring1971 Chevy Camaro, Pro Touring, 2012 Detroit Autorama


Dave Leisinger’s 1971 Chevy Camaro may be my favorite of the show. That’s strange for me cause I’m not a huge 2nd gen Camaro fan… But this pro-touring style, massive tire tucking bad-ass is too cool! Why didn’t it get picked? In another wave of total speculation, check out the engine compartment. I’m wondering if the judges take points/look down on a massive engine cover? I’m also submitting this tire/wheel combo to my “Top Wheels and Tires” story coming soon.


2012 Detroit Autorama, custom car show, 1964 Chevy Impala

Custom 64 Impala, 2012 Detroit Autorama, custom interiorCustom 1964 Chevy Impala, 2012 Detroit Autorama


This trick 1962 Chevy Impala is called, “Last Date”. No idea why… where do the car’s names come from? Dig all the custom billet parts on this. I can hear the billet-haters now, but folks… no matter what’s your first love, don’tcha have to at least tip the cap to craftsmanship and innovation? Check out the interior and grille area parts. They’re all custom! Add to that a blown 502 with a push button 400 trans riding on air and what looks like one-off 17’s. Ridler?


george poteet, 2012 Detroit Autorama, 1956 Chevy

Custom 1956 chevy, 2012 Detroit Autorama, george poteet2012 Detroit Autorama, 1956 Chevy custom


Check out hot rod and custom car rockstar, George Poteet’s 1956 Chevy. I just featured his 57 Chevy from GNRS, then he rolls out this? Design, fabrication and paint was handled by Kemp’s Rod & Restoration and the fine interior comes from my buddies at Rad Rides by Troy. The only reason this car wasn’t a Ridler contender is George didn’t want it. He’s already won the Ridler in 1996 with his 1937 Roadster, so this car was on display in Pomona at the 2012 Grand National Roadster Show.


2012 Detroit Autorama, hot rods and custom cars, 1934 Hupmobile


When’s the last time you saw a customized 1934 Hupmobile Cabriolet? According to the show card, “As of 2007, this is the only remaining Model K421. There were 1,066 of this model manufactured at the original price of $995. Far from it’s origins now, owner/builders Butch and Donna Downs of Colona, IL stuffed a 5.7L Hemi hooked to a 5-speed automatic to motivate the old Hup-ster. Congrats on taking an ultra rare car and turning it into a hot rod! Why no Ridler? Maybe a lack of trick display? Got me…


2012 Detroit Autorama, custom 1955 Chevy


Ron Hall’s Z “O” 55 sat proudly in the front row of the Detroit Autorama. The trick dash and custom grille treatment were outstanding and the colors worked perfectly together. You barely notice the shaved handles and extended fender flange trying to take the whole car in. Why no Ridler? The engine’s covered on this one, and it’s a fairly common LS-1. Compare that to the ZL-1 big block riding in the 55 Chevy the judges did select for the Ridler. Points from me though for hammering gears through a 6-speed Tremec. Hot Rods gotta row gears!


1932 hot rod, 2012 Detroit Autorama, custom 1932 ford coupe


I don’t know much about Gary Zaborowski’s 1932 Hot Rod Ford Coupe. Score points for insane paint and color. I also thumbs up for the name: “Boogie Man’s Candy Coupe”. Why no Ridler nod?


1934 hot rod, 2012 Detroit Autorama, 1934 Ford Hot Rod Coupe, turbo flathead


By now, I’m jamming my own, hot rod focused, opinion into the cars I’m showing here. It was a toss up between a 1932 Ford Phaeton and this, somewhat simple looking, 1934 Hot Rod Ford Coupe with a little old 1942 Flathead V8. I’m also saving this engine for my “Best Engine” story cause if I hadn’t read the show card, I wouldn’t have known this is a twin turbo flathead making 300+ horsepower while looking only slightly warmed-over. The turbos are completely outa-sight, but push air into the bottom air cleaner just as tidy as could be.  Jack Stirnemann calls this three window black-beauty “Flat Earth”. Even without the crazy detail of the Ridler cars, this coupe does have a super unique engine setup and makes my list… where as the phaeton had a SBC or maybe an Olds motor…


2012 Detroit Autorama, custom 1955 Chevy truck


For those of you scoring at home, this is #9. Since it’s 2AM and I’m running this site, I say show Gary and Flo Garman’s 1955 Chevy pickup. The pale green paint coupled with the bright red interior does kinda bring a watermelon flavor to the palette, but under the hood is where the true treat is…


2012 Detroit Autorama, 1955 Chevy pickup


Now you know why Flo’s smiling in the shot above and why every other man, woman and child did the same as they caught a glimpse of the sweetened small block. Except for not being seedless, this shoulda been a Ridler contender!


Agree, disagree… your opinion counts! You don’t have to be a member to comment, so let me hear it! Downstairs is next… Best of 2012 Detroit Autorama Basement

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