More than 400 hot rods and customs will roll into the Duke Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, for the 56th annual Cavalcade of Customs from Friday, January 8th until Sunday, January 10th. Along with the glitz, glamour, impeccable detailing and intricate displays, 74 barn finds and nostalgic hot rods will take over Survivor’s Alley—a show within the show.
Originally put on by the Squires car club of northern Kentucky, the Cavalcade of Customs has been a Midwestern staple since 1960. Nowadays, it’s an ISCA event drawing some of the country’s top show rods to southwestern Ohio.
Those who love barn finds, old-time hot rods and long-lost racecars need not look any further than Survivor’s Alley. It’s similar to the Detroit Autorama Extreme because it focuses on traditional and historic cars. From Sprint Cars to slingshots, Survivor’s Alley organizer Joshua Shaw tries to bring in something for everyone.
Survivor’s Alley started as a four-car gathering in 2003, and it soon turned into one of the Cavalcade’s biggest attractions. Shaw and his father, Dan, hand pick each entry and pack them into a space originally designated for 40 cars. This year, there will be everything from factory-built pre-war specials to flip-top Funny Cars parked among the smattering of hot rods and street machines.
Not all entries are displayed in as-found condition, but Shaw encourages owners to keep their cars looking as original as possible. He says people have been excited about the survivors because they give us an accurate idea of how cars were built during our hobby’s Golden Era.
Along with the barn finds and hot rods, Shaw strives to dig cars out of museums for the public to see. For the 2016 show, he has reunited a trio of racecars (two Sprint Cars and a Midget) driven by A.J. Foyt, which he says was no easy task.
But perhaps the biggest draw for Shaw is convincing owners to bring local cars out of hiding for the masses to enjoy once again. Many owners are self-conscious about their car’s checked lacquer and pitted chrome before the show, but by the end of the weekend they see peoples’ reactions and realize they’ll never change a thing.