By on March 15, 2014
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2014 Ridler Award Winner: “Rivision” – 1964 Buick Riviera. Full gallery here.

Please consider this post to be an exercise in automotive ecumenism. Sometimes car enthusiasts like to separate into tribes, Fords vs Chevys, road racers vs drag racers, customs vs concours. About a year ago I wrote a piece for Hemmings about the competition at the Detroit Autorama for the Ridler Award, that show’s top prize. Apparently some people are rather orthodox and fussy about their view of the car hobby. A few of the comments complained that Hemmings, a publication often devoted to 100 point concours or historically significant collectors’ cars, had deigned to slum among the customs at the Autorama. Before I had a chance to respond and point out that the same family that was showing Chip Foose’s Eldorod at the 2013 Autorama had won “best of show” with a prewar Mercedes at the 2012 Pebble Beach concours, a couple of other readers pointed out that the build quality on a Ridler level custom is at least the equal of a top shelf concours winner. We provide detailed coverage of the big corporate auto shows here at TTAC, but we  haven’t covered the custom car scene much. That’s a shame because the Detroit Autorama is probably a better expression of enthusiasts’ car culture than the big NAIAS held a couple months earlier in the same Cobo Hall.

There are car guys that do attend both shows, which redounds to the benefit of enthusiasts. Some of the people who attend the Detroit Autorama are part of the automotive design community in the Motor City. That community includes staff designers at the Big 3, as well as Toyota and Hyundai/Kia who have design centers in the region, along with freelance designers and students at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies. It’s an undeniable fact that features and trends first seen in the custom and hot rod world end up on production cars. Since the event is large and content-rich, I hope to be putting up a few posts on this year’s Autorama.

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Getting back to that tribal thing, some in the hot rod and custom world look down on the Ridler competitors that are displayed in the front part of Cobo Hall. Downstairs at Cobo where the Autorama organizers put rat rods, works in progress, and other “Extreme” customs, you may hear a remark or two about the basement crowd being “real Detroit car culture” as opposed to the detailed to a fare thee well “checkbook hot rods” that come in from around the country to compete for the Ridler. Still, when tribal bone fides are put aside, nearly everyone that attends the Autorama admires the skill and talent that goes into the cars vying for that award. 

Over the years the Ridler, named for Detroit area promoter and PR maven, the late Don Ridler, has developed into the most prestigious award in the world of custom cars. Only the top award at Pomona, California’s Grand National Roadster Show comes close and that’s restricted to more traditional style hot rod roadsters. A persuasive argument can be made that the Detroit Autorama is the best custom car show in the world.  Participating in the build of a Ridler winner, or even doing the paint, bodywork or interior of one of the Great 8 finalists, can be a huge break in a fabricator’s career.

All manner of custom cars can compete for the Ridler and the Detroit custom show has become the place where high dollar hot rods and customs get revealed. One of the rules is that to be eligible for the Ridler Award, a car must not have been shown to the public (including publications of the build process) prior to that year’s Autorama.

It’s probably appropriate that a custom show in Detroit has a more diverse selection of competing cars than one in California. Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s when Detroit’s great Alexander Brothers (who made the Dodge Deora, Little Deuce Coupe and other award winning customs) were trying to get the attention of hot rod magazines based on the west coast, their ideas were regarded as being a bit outside the envelope. The California tribe had a different concept of the hot rod than the Detroit tribe. Much of hot rod and custom culture started in Southern California, but there’s a reason why they gravitated to fairly traditional looking vehicles based mostly on Fords from the 1920s and 1930s: rust, or rather a lack of it. In the late ’50s, those old Fords may not have been worth much, but in sunny California, they didn’t rust into nothingness, like cars around Detroit did, subjected to winter weather and salted roads. So Detroit customizers were more likely to be basing their projects on more recent cars than the trad rods of SoCal. Their projects were also more radical, also because of rust problems with donor cars. When the lower edges of doors, front and rear pans, and even complete rocker panels, were no longer there, the victim of the tinworm, that gave customizers in the midwest more freedom to create new and radical shapes, sometimes so radical that it was hard to tell just what the donor vehicle was to begin with.

Most years the majority of Ridler competitors seem to be pre war Fords and tri-five Chevys. This year was no exception with 7 of the 8 finalists wearing either the blue oval or a bow-tie. The winner, though, was neither a classic Ford, nor a 1950s Chevrolet, it was J.F. Launier’s 1964 Buick Riviera appropriately named “Revision”. Launier owns the car and his shop, J F Kustoms, did the job updating Bill Mitchell’s masterpiece with more than a few modern touches. Launier has built three Ridler finalists for other people and with Rivision he was specifically aiming to win the Ridler for himself, putting in approximately 20,000 hours of labor and over $300.000 in parts and materials.

Many of those 20,000 hours were devoted to creating what Launier considers to be more of a concept car than a custom. In back, the 3rd generation Riv’s boattail was grafted on and below the front bumper is a very contemporary looking and rather aggressive aero splitter. Body mods include that fastback roofline and rear window from a ’71 Riviera, hand formed fenders, hood and quarter panels as well as a completely fabricated rear section. The body is mounted on a one off custom perimeter frame that lets the body sit close tot he ground. All four wheels are unique to their corners. The interior is full leather, though those the interior’s most prominent feature is a huge intake duct that runs from the back of the car to the engine compartment. The reason for that duct is that the Rivision’s two turbochargers and related waste gates are mounted under glass in the rear of the car. With the hood down, all that plumbing and the car’s radical looks tricked more than a couple of observers into thinking that the the bright yellow Riviera is a midengine car but the 850 hp 6.2 liter GM LS family V8 sits about where the Riviera’s original Nailhead sat. Now that the subject has been brought up, though, I expect to see a midengined boattail Buick at a future Autorama. Use a first gen Toronado “unitized power package” transaxle and keep it in the E Body family.

The Autorama runs from Friday through Sunday and the Ridler Award winner is named late on Sunday, at the awards banquet. Prior to that announcement, eight finalists, today known as the Pirelli Great 8, are identified. I don’t envy the judges’ their task. To begin with, picking out 8 cars from the two dozen or so cars conceived and built to a level that puts them under Ridler consideration is hard enough. To my eyes, they all look amazing, with superlative build quality and clever design touches. Choosing one winner from eight worthy competitors is a job best reserved for experts.

Here are the remaining Great 8 finalists:

Dan Duffy's 1956 Chevy 210. Full gallery here.

Dan Duffy’s 1956 Chevy 210. Full gallery here.

In 1956, the Chevy 210 was the brand’s middle trim level, in between the base 150 and the more luxurious Bel Air. I guess the supply of Bel Air hardtops must be running low because Dan Duffy of Marietta, GA started with a pillared two-door 210 and proudly named the bright metallic orange result “two ten” (if he makes a replica, perhaps he can sell the pair to a medical marijuana dispensary to use as promotional vehicles since 210 x 2=420). Tom Manner was responsible for the design and fabrication, while Thunder Valley Customs, of White, GA did the final body prep and paint. M&M Hot Rods, of Holly Pond, AL provided the interior. A 450 HP LS3 provides the motive force.

John ad x Sadler's "Cross Hair" 1957 Chevy. Full gallery here.

John and Phyliss Sadler’s “Cross Hair” 1957 Chevy. Full gallery here.

John and Phyllis Sadler of Little Rock, Arkansas own this ’57 Chevy hardtop that they call “Cross Hair”. At first glance it may appear to be just another tri-five Chevy but that’s only because the alterations, including a chopped top, are so subtly done. Unlike many top shelf customs these days, which often have custom frames made by someone like Art Morrison, Cross Hair retains its original frame, albeit with more than two dozen alterations. Heidts supplied the independent rear suspension, Colin Kimmens of Lake Havesau, AZ did the metal fabrication, D&D Specialty Cars of Van Buren, Arkansas did the body and paint work, and Chuck Rowland Upholstery, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma did the full-leather (including the floor) interior. It’s not unusual for cars competing for the Ridler to have been shuttled around the country as their builds progress. Another LS engine, this one a LS6, powers Cross Hair.

Steve Tornari's 1967 Chevy Nova. Full gallery here.

Steve Tornari’s 1967 Chevy Nova. Full gallery here.

Steve Tornari’s 1967 Chevy Nova, done up as a pro touring style resto mod, was finished just three days before it had to be on the stand at the Autorama. It’s my personal favorite among the Great 8 finalists and is the definition of clean. Miranda Built, the shop that built the car, was just barely able to get it on a trailer in Florida, headed north for Detroit. Charley Hutton, who gained notice spraying paint for Boyd Coddington and who has painted a number of Ridler winning cars before, did the color. Eric Borckmeyer designed a very contemporary looking interior, which was fabricated by Extreme Performance. Instead of a ubiquitous first gen SBC or LS engine, it uses a different kind of small block Chevy, a 355 cubic inch Chevy SB2 NASCAR engine out of Rick Hendrick’s engine shop. With the twin turbos spooled up it can produce 850 hp at the rear wheels. The Ride Tech air suspension as well as all of the car’s electronics are controlled by an iPad embedded in the dash running through an ISIS Intelligent Multiplex System.

Brian Ganos' 1969 Camaro "ZRS". Full gallery here.

Brian Ganos’ 1969 Camaro “ZRS”. Full gallery here.

One of my “rules” when deciding what to photograph at a car show is “no ’57 Chevys and no ’69 Camaros” (and I’m thinking of adding perfectly restored Isetta microcars to the list). Why take pictures of cars you can see at just about any car show? Of course rules are meant to be broken and when I come across a real ZL1 or Yenko Camaro, you can be sure that I take lots of photographs. This year’s Ridler finalists included both a ’57 Chevy 210 and this 1969 Camaro RS/SS and to be honest, I probably would have shot this pro touring Camaro despite my rule, even if it wasn’t a Great 8 car because it is so nicely done.  That two of the Great 8 finalists were pro touring resto mods says to me that show organizers and judges are starting to appreciate cars that can handle and stop in addition to having straight line speed and custom styling. Having been founded by the Michigan Hot Rod Association the Autorama has always been as much about go as it’s been about show.

Brian Ganos, of Fond du Lac, WI, calls his car a Camaro ZRS. Larry Williams rendered the design and Jim Hubbel did the build. As with at least one other Great 8 car, Charley Hutton prepped the body and painted it. Advanced Plating, another frequent choice of Ridler competitors, did the chrome and powder coating. M&M Hot Rods, yet another name that shows up in the build sheet of another competitor, did the interior.

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Opting for a Gen I small block Chevy V8 that’s been bored and stroked to 427 cubic inches, rather than a LS, Ganos specified a Tremec T56 six speed manual transmission to transmit power and torque to the independently suspended rear end, courtesy of a C4 Corvette which also donated the front suspension as well. Baer six pot brake calipers are at the corners. It’s all wrapped up in a very cleanly executed body painted in cerulean blue.

ed Seese's 1933 Ford Sedan Delivery is based on Corvette mechanicals. Full gallery here.

Al Seese’s 1933 Ford Sedan Delivery is based on Corvette mechanicals. Full gallery here.

Another blue car, this 1933 Ford Sedan Delivery, didn’t start out as a panel truck. Before Albert Seese of Lee’s Summit, MO, made over 200 body modifications it was a regular ’33 Ford sedan. I’m rather partial to panel trucks so I spent some time shooting this one. Seese’s team was standing nearby and I happened to mention to them the vital role the Dodge brothers had in supplying Henry Ford in FoMoCo’s early days. One of them reacted in mock horror that I was talking about the Dodges to Ford fans. Then I pointed out that with a C6 Corvette transaxle in back, front and rear suspensions out of an ’05 ‘Vette, and a LS2 engine, most likely from the same C6 donor as those other components, their “Ford” could be described as a 2005 Corvette with a custom body.

Rocky Roler's 1933 Ford 5 Window Coupe. Full gallery here.

Rocky Roler’s 1933 Ford 5 Window Coupe. Full gallery here.

The Brown Car Appreciation Society should take note, not only was one of the Ridler Award finalists painted in that earthy tone, quite a few of the other high quality customs and hot rods in the front section of Cobo Hall were painted, brown, beige, copper or brownish shades of red. Because of brown’s renewed popularity Rocky Roler of Creative Rod & Kustom in Southampton, New York was able to choose a current factory Chrysler 300 color to paint his restyled Ford five window coupe. That restyling is supposed to, according to Roler, combine European styling with a classic American hot rod look. Roler is an artist whose medium happens to be sheet metal. Per classic rods, his ’33 has been chopped 4 inches and channeled 3 inches to get a real low look. The grille shell and integrated radiator cover was scratch built from steel. The entire back section of the car, including the trunk lid, was also newly fabricated. Lest you think that it’s only supposed to look good and go fast in a straight line, check out the IRS with coilovers in the back and unequal length control arms with pushrod actuated inboard coilover shock absorbers in front. Customs at this level are very sophisticated machines.

Don Smith of Mansfield, Texas told Hot Rods by JSK that he wanted a late ’50s, early ’60s period hot rod, a traditional rod with an old school look. JSK succeeded. This “Fordor” just looks right, particular from the back. It states “hot rod” unequivocally,  I used quotation marks around Fordor because they didn’t really start with a deuce four door. The entire car has been fabricated, taking three years to complete the build.

It has a custom frame that’s closer to that of a ’33 or ’34 Ford than a ’32 and a completely new body was built on that frame to reproduce the look of a Ford sedan that had been chopped and channeled. The car’s name, Y’d Open, comes from the fact that there is apparently no B pillar between the doors. The doors open to reveal a wide open interior. That look was achieved by integrating the B pillar structure into the leading edge of the rear suicide doors.

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The period theme is consistent, with a bored and stroked 312 cubic inch real Y block Thunderbird V8, with chromed Laker style headers flowing into straight pipes on each side of the car. Induction is via a hard to find Hilborne fuel injection unit, though it’s been modernized with digital controls so the car isn’t exactly a period build. Another modern concession to driveability is the 5-speed Chevy gearbox.

Y’d Open is so well executed that its picture should be next to the dictionary listing for “hot rod”.

The judges liked the custom Riv, and it’s hard to fault their decision. Though it wasn’t my personal aesthetic favorite, engineering is one of the judging criteria, and Rivision’s induction system may look roundabout but the car is indeed well engineered. On the other hand, the underlying concepts and build quality of the Great 8 finalists would make any of them worthy winners, even the ’57 Chevy or the ’69 Camaro.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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38 Comments on “2014 Autorama: Ridler Award Winner & Great 8 Finalists...”


  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    So much first rate fab work . . . !

    I’m getting hard.

    It’s been around a decade since I read about remote mount turbocharger kits; it’s good to see what was created as a practical solution to a modern engine packaging problem used in a wild custom application.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I can’t stop looking at that Riviera/Stingray. Two of the best designed automobiles of the 2nd half of the 20th century get together and produce a bizarre bastard child car. If it didn’t actually happen in 1971 (boat tail Riviera) It would really be out there

  • avatar
    skor

    I’d like to see more interior pics. Over the years I’ve seen too many customs with perfect body work and engine bays, only to have the entire effect ruined by a J.C Whitney quality interior.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Name me one car at this show that could get a up a driveway, one!

    I like the low-key look of that Orange rod in the shots, the rest just look like typical oversized hot wheels, big rims and zero ground clearance.

    • 0 avatar

      The ’67 Nova can be driven at full drop, according to the builders, there’s still some suspension travel. With the air suspension they can give it another 5″ of ground clearance if they need it. The front view is with it slammed, the rear view is at normal ride height.

      Aesthetically I’m not a fan of slammed cars. It screws up the visual relationship between the wheel, the tire and the wheel arch, which is one of the first things that a car designer establishes. If you want to hide the wheels and tires, get fender skirts.

      I’m guessing that any of the cars at the show with ‘bagged’ suspensions can safely navigate driveway aprons and speed bumps.

      The Lotus Elan I drove in college came from the factory with only 4.5″ of ground clearance. I pulled apart the exhaust system when a low hanging u-bolt clipped the pavement as I traversed a residential intersection with minor elevation changes at 25 mph. Low ground clearance cars are not unique to the custom world.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Be it “slammed” or “stanced” as the kids say, mods like that are better suited for the circuit or weekend drivers, same for dem big rimz, fo’ sho.

        I would think that it varies, some customizers put the extra money into air bag suspension, some just use tighter lower springs, and others take the lazy way and cut them up.

        You’re right there, I knew someone who had a stock Pontiac Grand Prix GT2 that loved to bottom out whenever it could. Then theres the Nissan 300ZX which as much as I like it, I’d hate dealing with it scraping the ground whenever I’d get home.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    The Revision concept is pure genius. Unfortunately, I think the splitter ruins the front view. Unnecessary and tacked-on-looking.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    What always gets my attention at these shows is the creative engineering solutions these hot rodders come up with. That suspension on the ’33 is something Adrian Newey would be proud of. The way these come together and the unique vision of the builder is art by anybody’s definition.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Ay, the Award Winner hurts me. I love the two donors but that combo frightens me.

    The Fordor is pretty freaking sweet though.

  • avatar
    omer333

    Looks like that was a fun show to be at.

    The Yokohama show in Japan has a lot of first-rate cars too. And it looks likevits open to all makes and models.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Like taking glitter paint to Rembrandts and Monets.

    May this donk culture craze die in a vat of darkest orange diabetic urine with a frothy head.

  • avatar
    LeBaron

    Sorry, but that’s a waste of a good 1964 Riviera. One of the classics, it would be hard to improve on that design anyway and grafting a fast back and splitter doesn’t do it.

    • 0 avatar
      alsorl

      Destroying art work and resale value is so misunderstood.

      • 0 avatar

        I think it would be hard to find any low mileage original ’64 Riviera that would be worth more money than a Ridler winning car, so in this particular case, no value has been destroyed.

        My guess is that the only Riviera that would fetch more money at auction than this one would be Bill Mitchell’s Silver Arrow I show car, which itself could be considered a custom since he took one of the first production Rivieras off of the assembly line and sent it to Creative Industries, where they chopped the top and did other mods.

        I prefer the Silver Arrow to Rivision, but I get what Launier was trying to do.

        carsindepth.com/?p=13037

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @Ronne Schrieber
    Great piece.

    Can TTAC cover the SummerNats in Canberra in Australia in 2015? The SummerNats is Australia premier ‘Show and Shine’ event on the calender.

    Australia as a V8 loving nation has some fantastic cars as well.

    Rods, Muscle cars, utes and girls. It’s a great show.

    http://www.summernats.com.au/

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    The Winner could deifinitely have some potential as a cool idea had they stopped at around 5000 hours of work…The Boattail roof on a lowered 64 is at least a nice idea. The rest…well, lets just say there is probably a lot more craftmanship than there is design and planning in it.
    The 57 looks like it was built by Boyd at least 10 years ago.
    The 56 , even if a bit boring, is more to my taste,
    but the ‘Y’d Open’ is just awesome. Even more so for using a Y-block.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Cars built for old fat guys with more money than sense. This is a well written and photographed article; as always. These cars are just as much unobtanium as Ferrari’s.

  • avatar
    mikey

    These cars are not my cup of tea. However you can’t help but to admire the energy, work and creativity, thats needed to get them to the shows standards. I feel the same way about the “Donk’s”. Last summer I saw an 82 4dr Impala “Donked”. The work that had gone into it was incredible..The result?..Not for me. But still, pretty cool.

    For me? I prefer a “survivor” or well thought out, and nicely done, “Rat Rod”..

    To each, his own.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Then you would have enjoyed the basement section of the show. It’s all traditional hot rods and rat rods. That’s where the real party is at this show.

      I’m thinking Ronnie must have gotten pics of some of the cars down there as there was some pretty wild stuff.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m working on posts about the V12 Allison powered ’39 Chevy and the bassackwards midengine thing based on a Ford F-1. I was going to put them together in one post but each is so amazing it deserves special attention.

        It’s easy to say that the basement at the Autorama is “real Detroit car culture”, I’ve said it myself, and it does have a much more grass roots, homey, feel, but I think the show as a whole covers the spectrum of car folks around here. A number of the Ridler level cars in the front of the hall upstairs had local shops on their lists of contributors, and then you have the bulk of the main floor which is devoted to local clubs and mostly local car owners.

        There’s really something for everybody, even a smattering of foreign cars like the pristine (well, probably better than Hethel built it) 1986 Lotus Turbo Esprit right off of the front aisle.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “the bassackwards midengine thing based on a Ford F-1″

          I admired that car last year and again this year. Some really interesting engineering with all thos sahfts and chains. It looked like the engine had a marine manifold and carburetor on it too, like it was pulled directly from a boat.

          Also, I wasn’t being exclusive about the Detroit hot rod cutlure being confined to the basement, just noting that the partying going on in the basement is harder than upstairs, that’s all.

    • 0 avatar
      ktm

      +1,000,000

      I do not get excited about cars like these. Did the owner build it himself? No. Does it drive it? Maybe on and off the car carrier. Is it a car? Not any more.

      Hell, Pebble Beach is shifting its focus from cars that are show room queens and putting an emphasis on “drivers”. I have a lot more respect for someone who is vintage racing a Ferrari 250 GT than the owners of these cars.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        I’m with you as well. I attended car shows back in the 1980s and early 90s and now basically don’t go to them any longer because it doesn’t do anything for me to see these kinds of cars. Anything jacked up with mirrors on the floor I walk away from. Pinstriped frame rails and gold-plated brake calipers? Really???

        The survivor cars and those rods that are actually driven to the show (as well as the oddball stuff, commercial trucks, never-heard-of tractor brands, and the like) are what really interest me these days.

        Now believe me, I certainly can appreciate the amount of effort that goes into these vehicles, as I got halfway through my 1941 Chevrolet street rod project while in high school (holy moly is it darn near impossible to get lead just to that butter-like temperature so you can spread it onto the steel) and then mothballed it while in college. I had a 283SBC, Turbo 400 trans, Firebird posi rear end, Riviera split power seats, Caddy tilt/tele column, Corvair front suspension (Mustang II setups were only just getting popular back in the early 1980s), and aftermarket underdash AC all sitting in the basement ready to put in. I was going to daily drive mine (was going to fully undercoat it as well), but in the end I never finished it and parted everything out. It’s an incalculable amount of work, especially to do it well (and I didn’t have a garage either, but did live in a desert climate where I had friends who actually painted cars outdoors).

        To each his/her own, and I’m glad to see full coverage of everything automotive here even if it’s not my quart of oil.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    While they are all perfectly gleaming, that matte paint area around the ’67 Nova’s engine area is outstanding.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    It was a pretty good show this year. I made a point to check out the Ridler contenders and that Riv is pretty radical. I spent most of the time in the basement with the traditional hot rods, hanging out with a few friends and family who had entries. Always a good time.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    I spent over thirty years associated with a 1964 Riviera, when it was my father’s, and later when it was my own, and that, my friend, is no improvement upon the original.

    I have spent many hours considering just what tweaks I would make to improve upon that design. I would keep the vertical outboard parking lights, and hide the headlights behind the horizontal grille [as opposed to the \'65 which hid them behind the outboard vertical grilles]. The taillights probably should have been integrated into the body just above the bumper – the ’65 integrated them below the bumper, which I think made the car appear a bit heavy.

    But of course, everyone has different tastes, so to each their own. Anything which brings more publicity to this vehicle is a good thing, I would say.

  • avatar
    Keimig

    I find it amazing that people want to critique these cars, when they obviously know nothing about the owner, builder, or the car itself. I did the body, paint, interior, and assembly on Al Seese’ 33′ Delivery. The owner built the frame and did the machine work himself. From the day this project was started, it was intended to drive and handle as nice as a new corvette. It wasn’t until the build was nearly complete that it was decided to take a shot at the great eight. Yes the car is pretty, but it was built to drive. Although it was driven only once before the show, it has been out cruising three evenings this week.
    The owner is not a millionaire, or just a check writer. He owns a machine shop, works long hard days, and gets his hands dirty every day, 7 days a week. With the help of a few friends, Al and I built this car between the two of us. It took a lot more hard work and attention to detail than cash to build this car. Obviously it does take some money to build any type of car, but this one is proof that common guys can compete for the Ridler. My congratulations to JF and the other finalist. To the critics, these cars and their owners are probably far different than you realize. Will Keimig, Keimig’s Rod Shop.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Thanks for commenting, Will! Great car.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Critique: “evaluate (a theory or practice) in a detailed and analytical way.” I think you got all butt-hurt at anyone who dared criticize and said these things are uselss at best or a fat old man’s act of vehicle mastubation at worst. Using weak verbage will not make the critizers go “Aha! I was wrong in so many ways; see how wise these men are and I’ve totally misunderstood their sense of mission and their overall noblesse oblige.” Nope, still vehicle masturbation for old fat guys. BTW, did you get PAID for doing the “body, paint, interior, and assembly on Al Seese’ 33′ Delivery”? If so, that says so much about your reply.

      • 0 avatar
        Keimig

        I suppose I should have known better than even post something on here. We could easily trade jabs at one another, but I doubt either of us will change our opinion. Claiming I use “weak verbage”, and then calling me “butt-hurt” in the same paragraph….SERIOUSLY???
        Yes, I was paid for the work I did on the car, but I am not sure that erases 5 years of hard work, regardless of who paid for it. I make my living from customers who pay me to work on their cars, and I appreciate that I get to make a living doing what I enjoy. The majority of cars I build are truly driver quality. I appreciate cars of all build levels. I enjoy the cars downstairs at Cobo as much as the Ridler contenders. I try and draw inspiration from them all.
        Just another thought, do you live in a house that you didn’t build? Do you eat in restaurants to eat exceptional food? Buy music that you cannot preform? The list goes on. We all purchase things we enjoy that perhaps we cannot do for ourselves. I suppose the bottom line here is that if you cannot appreciate a show car, then why bother looking at them? Better yet, why pass judgement about another person when you obviously don’t understand their intent to begin with. Cars are fun, and we should all enjoy them in the way we choose.

        • 0 avatar

          Will, I second Jack’s comments. Your perspective is valued and I hope you stick around here.

          I understand the “built not bought” and “this patina didn’t come from a can” ethos, but if I need a suit altered, I go to a tailor, not learn how to sew. I know that the builders upstairs at Cobo have a lot of respect for the creative projects in the basement and vice versa. Unfortunately, like I said, people get tribal.

          Being an old fat guy myself, I’ve got nothing against old fat guys. If they want to spend their money building cool customs and hot rods, fine. If they want to go racing spec Miatas, fine.

          If I can ever afford it, I hope to pay some shop like yours to put a 1950ish Dodge panel truck body on a modern Ram Hemi powered chassis. I dig the postwar panel truck look but like how those Dodges still have a prewar style center hinged hood.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    That Nova was my favorite car there as well.

    The Revision certainly had hours upon hours of handcrafted amazingness, but I felt the overall impact of the aesthetic was a bit abrasive. The splitter tacked on, etc. Amazing car regardless, the packaging and engineering were top notch.

    If you know enough about the original models of these cars you could spend hours looking at any given one of these and keep finding more minor tricks tweaks and mods in variations from how they rolled off the line.

    Thanks TTAC for giving some press here. I know “customs” aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but this event certainly houses the full spectrum of the genre.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    These cars do nothing for me. The whole Foose/Monster Garage/ZZ Top thing is uninteresting and played out. Just ruining old classics.

    I’d rather look at a pristine example of a 1990 Geo Metro or an 86 Hyundai. Actual cars that people bought and left alone and kept clean. That is something that would excite me more than what looks like cars picked from a child’s overgrown Hot Wheels collection.

    Why did they ruin that Riviera? I admire the amount of work these guys put in, but when its all said and done, where do these cars go? What happens to them? Who will care about them other than the old rich men who will drive them and feel nostalgic (even though 3 quarters of the car is ugly, bastardized modern replica nonsense). I’m glad there are no interior shots…


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