Ridler Award 2013 – Great 8 Contenders in 32 Pictures

2013 Detroit Autorama – Ridler Award Contenders

It’s Time! Detroit’s here and we’ve got all the “Great 8” shots up and ready for you to pick a favorite. This year, they let us know a little earlier who the greats were, a rough job since I heard there were upwards of 50 cars in contention. Look for a great post coming soon of, “Shoulda-been’s” or just bad-to-the-bone rides that somehow weren’t selected as Ridler finalists.


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2014 -Ridler Award “Great 8” Contenders?


No use arguing over that now, the Great 8 contenders choices have been made, so now it’s time to pick a winner. This is gonna be a TOUGH one! What’s your choice? Pick your favorite and let us know in a comment at the end. If you need pictures to decide, go to Taller than you! More Great 8


Devil in the Details: For each owner or builder, I asked: “What trick detail are you especially proud of that somebody might walk right by?” Hear what they said and enjoy the pictures to go with.


As usual, click on any pictures, even the thumbnails, to see them full size. Special thanks to Chris Voyles for his photo-help with all of MyRideisMe.com’s shot’s from Detroit Autorama. Also, thanks to our friends at Auto Meter, our sponsor for this show.


Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #1 ~ 1940 Ford Coupe

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Gotta kick things off with a hot rod! Owned by Ron and Deb Cizek from Bennington, NE, I say, this 40 Ford will be tough to beat! Charlie Hutton threw down the Envirobase colors set off by gold accents. A laundry list of thank you’s covered the show card…


Trick Detail: Owner Ron says, “It’s a shame this car isn’t displayed upside down!” Custom feature abound underneath. Custom oil pan, trans pan, heck, even a custom bellhousing. The blown flathead’s mated to a Tremec 6 speed using what used to be a giant block of aluminum CNC’d to fit. Also underneath, they used a two-tone paint job of flat and gloss that’s pinstriped where they meet. The mirrors just don’t do it justice.

Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #2 ~ 1956 Buick 2 Door Post

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Next up is a 1956 Buick from Rad Rides by Troy that’s redefining TRICK! But, who knew? You, me and the huge crowd at the show are all missing the trick details Troy, his crew and owner Mark and Ellen Willman of Blue Grass, IA put together. Here’s a clue: It’s in the Pro-Touring category.


Trick Detail: This one’s easy, but it was hard to pick only one detail. Troy Trepanier told me without hesitation, it’s the engine. In the engine picture above, can you see the twin turbos? I didn’t think so! And yes, that’s a real 401 Buick Nailhead, but now it’s a twin turbo’d, dry sump, electronic fuel injected bad-boy that’s every bit as trick as the engines running in the Bonneville cars Troy’s made. You could argue more so since nobody makes go-fast parts like these for a 401 Buick.


One more thing? The Advanced Plating guys did triple duty on this car. There’s polished black nickel, brushed black nickel and straight nickel plating found throughout the car. Sometimes the shiny finish butts right up to the brushed. It’s subtle details like this that make this Buick an easy choice for “Great 8”

Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #3 ~1934 Ford Sedan

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Up next is a pair of 1934 Ford hot rods and guess what? This one’s from the great state of Arizona, like me! Owned by Kenny and Lynn Seresun of Sedona, AZ and built by Bobby Anderson. When I say built, I mean, Bobby did everything!


Trick Detail: I spoke with Bobby and he pointed out something I totally missed: The headlights. You can see the oval shape of the headlights, but they started as original 1934 headlights. From there, Bobby handcrafted everything except the cut then polished Target-bought stainless steel bowl hidden inside! The fluted glass for the lens is hand cut, which Bobby laughingly admits wasn’t easy (“I broke a few”) and the bezel is one, hand made piece. Not CNC’d… Bobby cut it, shaped it, then polished it all by hand.


Bobby built everything, which may be the most amazing thing about this car. He said, “Well, I bought the blower…” Everything else Bobby did, including the paint, upholstery and engine building. That’s truly rare!

Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #4 ~ 1934 Ford Coupe

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This hot rod’s made in New York City! Owner and designer Christian Harker’s from NY, NY where his 427 Ford powered coupe might stand out a little among the yellow cabs?


Trick Detail: I talked to builder Brian Mosbek. His job? He builds whatever Christian wants in  Blaine, MN. Lucky! Brian wanted me to see how the independent front suspension uses struts. Most hot rods get a straight axle, or at least double A-arms. Brian went a different route and threw down 150 miles (and abused a set of tires) making sure this coupe moves and stops the way it should before tearing it apart for paint and chrome. Brian’s not one for waiting til the last minute either. The car’s been done for a few months just waiting for it’s debut in Detroit. That musta been a hard secret to keep (in the garage)!

Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #5 ~ 1972 Chevy Pickup

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Can a truck win the Ridler Award?

Owned by Buddy and Kim Schulz of Washington, TX – I guess we’ll find out! Buddy also told me a black car’s never one the Ridler either! (Is that right??)


As a fifteen year drag boat racer and former Pro-mod driver, Buddy likes power, so his pickup’s got 468 cubic inches of 8-71 blown, 800 horsepower Chevy under the hood… Then he called on his custom bike building days to go over the top with his Chevy truck.


Trick Detail: The entire front! When I first asked Buddy what’s the coolest trick on the truck, he pointed out how the cab meets the bed. Yea, that’s neat buddy, I wouldn’t have seen that, but then he goes on to tell me how the fenders, cowl, core support, grille and bumper are all one piece! Sprayed in unforgiving black, the bumper was cut into more than 20 pieces then painstakingly fit back together to mold perfectly into the rest of the front end. Only the one-of-a-kind polished grille inserts are separate. This is one bad truck!

Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #6 ~ 1965 Corvette

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With a one-two punch of black Ridler cars, here’s Alan and Loretta Woodall’s 1965 Corvette. In chatting with Alan, he chuckled saying, “They put us in the ‘Mild Sports’ class. That’s for cars with less than 10 modifications.” In his eyes, that was the ultimate compliment (and a huge mistake!)


Trick Detail: How about 10 billion modifications (give or take)? Alan says the only part of the original Corvette not changed is the roof panel. In his eyes, their trick was to build an “Understated and elegant car.” The Mild Sports classification was a nod to the understated, don’t-cha think?


Alan tried, and succeeded in integrating a mid-year Corvette with European sports car styling. The front end’s his favorite with Ferrari-like sleekness. Could you argue their C2/SS is a Corvette like never before? If so, give him the Ridler.

Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #7 ~ 1957 Chevy Pickup

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And then there were two trucks competing for the Ridler Award. Alan Beers of Owasso, OK brought his Jason Smith built 1957 Chevy and he’s a serious contender.


Trick Detail: Jason and Alan both helped point out the subtle trick you might miss if you didn’t spend some time checking out the truck. Or maybe the Crower – converted to electronic – injection making 650 HP from a 540 cubic inch big block Chevy distracted you?


Check out the flush mounted windshield. Luckily the owner was pleased because Jason spent 3-4 months making the custom made glass fit just right. They both added the bed was trick too. Everything inside the fenders is all custom and hand made to fit the one-off 22’s tucked in.

Great 8 Ridler Award Contender #8 ~ 1935 Ford Phaeton

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Rounding out the “Great 8” is John Mayer of Berwyn, IL with his 1935 Ford Phaeton. Funny thing is, in talking with John, he never mentioned 1935. As designer and fabricator of tons of parts on the car, especially the interior, John told me the tricks.


Trick Details: Just about everything on the car’s one-off. The body was formed starting up front with a 1932 Ford cowl then he used multiple other body parts to make a shell, or working body to make a mold. After, they pulled one glass body from the mold, the one you see here. If that trick isn’t enough, hiding under the custom removable hardtop is a working convertible top. John plans to lift off the top and show the convertible tomorrow and I’ll have to grab a few more pictures.

Well that’s it! Which one’s your choice?


Just as a reminder…


Rules for the Ridler Award 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 Ridler Rules? Body style, year or anything specifying what kind of car it is…


Looking for 2012 Ridler Award Coverage? Check these out:

Toughest field of custom cars I’ve seen: Rilder’s Great 8 Contenders
Damn Great, but Not Great 8 – Detroit Autorama’s Best
Going Down – Basement Best at 2012 Detroit Autorama