It’s Autorama weekend in Detroit, and that means hundreds of rods, customs and show machines are taking over Cobo Hall for three days of non-stop action. Now in its 66th year, the Autorama features a diverse mix of vehicles from across the United States and Canada. From cutting-edge show cars competing for the coveted Ridler Award to rough-and-tumble gow jobs, there’s no shortage of incredible cars on display.
Dave Gray’s champagne ’32 Ford has been the talk of the town at this year’s Autorama. Built in less than five months, the car screams ’60s from the nose-up stance and blue Plexi windows to the snarling, dual-carbed smallblock Chevy. Along with regular street driving, Dave plans to race the car at the Meltdown Drags this summer. Right behind it, you can see the Hemi-powered Dorman-Koopman AA/SR., which was restored by Rich Conklin of Radir Wheels. Photo by Dave Gray
We always look forward to the Autorama because we not only get to check out all the new builds, but also catch up with old friends. This year, we’re hard at work on the latest issue and we’re not able to make it to Detroit, but Thom Metz has been sending us photos from out on the show floor. We’ve already uploaded more than 75 images to our Autorama Facebook album here, and we will be posting coverage to our Instagram all weekend long.
In the meantime, here’s a small glimpse into what’s going down in the Motor City on this snowy March weekend.
The Detroit-based Alexander Brothers were well known for their futuristic customs, and Bill Whetstone’s 1960 Ford Starliner “Adonis” was no exception. Although the original is long gone, John Schleicher of South St. Paul, Minnesota, built this spot-on clone. The car looks right at home under the lights at Cobo Hall.
With a S.Co.T-blown Oldsmobile, magnesium Halibrands and heavy chop, the Hilton Hotrods Deuce five-window has plenty of attitude. Tony Lombardi of Ross Racing Engines built the high-horsepower powerplant.
It’s hard to beat a Model A phone booth pickup, and this freshly finished ’29 from Pennsylvania hits all the right notes. Highlights include a slammed stance, 3×2-fed smallblock Ford and satin light green paint.
How’s this for a survivor? Nick Hardie of Holland, Michigan, brought out his unbelievable ’37 Ford Cabriolet to Cobo for this year’s show. The car is loaded with period custom accessories, from the ribbed DeSoto bumpers and flipper wheelcovers to the “Tulip City Kustoms” car club plaque.
There are rumblings that 2018 is the Year of the Five-Window, and we like the sound of that looking at Tony Tierney’s Deuce coupe. Inspired by a Keith Weesner illustration, the chopped, all-steel ’32 has been Tony’s long-term project and features chassis work by Henry Richards and a hot smallblock Chevy underneath the hood.
You never know what you’ll find at the Autorama. The Leverich family has racing history dating back to the 1950s, and this year they brought out their early-’60s slingshot with a nitro-burning smallblock Chevy. Check out the Detroit Dragway signs and Single Finger Speed Shop service station façade in the background.
Kevin Anderson of Indianapolis, Indiana, debuted his immaculate ’47 Cadillac Series 62 at this year’s Autorama. Starting with a low-mileage four door pulled from a museum, he worked with Gas Axe Garage to create the “Crystal Cadillac.” It’s difficult to tell, but there is a whole lot of slicing and dicing beneath that mile-deep paint sprayed by Brown’s Metal Mods.