2018 Ridler Winner, Detroit Autorama, Fuel Curve

2018 Ridler Winner! Silver 57 Chevy Scores Signature Win

2018 Ridler Winner, Detroit Autorama, Fuel Curve

Johnny Martin and Greg & Judy Hrehovcsik’s 1957 Chevy was named 2018 Ridler Winner last evening in Detroit. But it was not a smooth road on the way to revealing the winner.

2018 Ridler Winner, Detroit Autorama, Fuel Curve

The event has one major rule to qualify to win the award: the vehicle must not have been shown in any completed form at any indoor/outdoor event before its debut at the show. Another stipulation allows photos of unfinished aspects of the build published in magazines, but not of completed, finished parts (such as the interior as it’ll be shown, or a completed, installed engine), or as a finished, painted body.

2018 Ridler Winner, Detroit Autorama, Fuel Curve

But in today’s digital society, with internet posts happening in a Nano-second by anyone with a cell phone, where do you draw the line as to what constitutes a vehicle being “previously shown?”

2018 Ridler Winner, Detroit Autorama, Fuel Curve

Is the line drawn at before or after paint has been applied? If someone posts a photo of the front suspension being mocked up or a door panel design being revealed on a website enough of a reason to disqualify a car from being considered a Ridler winner? Where is that line specifically drawn?

2018 Ridler Winner, Detroit Autorama, Fuel Curve


2018 Ridler Winner, Detroit Autorama, Fuel Curve

At this event there were reportedly three of the Great 8 vehicles that, over the course of Saturday (the day before the award is handed out) were disqualified one by one from contention for the award because some aspect of their build process had been found on the internet, only to have all three be reinstated hours later to full competition mode.

2018 Ridler Winner, Detroit Autorama, Fuel Curve

By Sunday the turmoil had something of a Band-Aid applied and the show would go on, but the fallout of this fiasco coupled with a similar uproar over last year’s Ridler winner (who was accused of having shown the complete vehicle in steel before its debut) certainly hasn’t helped the reputation of one of the oldest customized car show events in the world.

2018 Ridler Winner, Detroit Autorama, Fuel Curve

2018 Ridler Winner, Detroit Autorama, Fuel Curve

With the drama out of the way the spectacular silver 1957 Chevy hardtop from co-owners Johnny Martin & Greg and Judy Hrehovcsik from Alamosa, Colorado drove off with hot rodding’s most coveted prize.

2018 Ridler Winner, Detroit Autorama, Fuel Curve

Built by Johnny and Ryan Martin of Johnny’s Trim & Rod Shop (winners of a Great 8 award in 2011 for a ’62 Corvette), they reconfigured the hardtop roof (that was once modified for gull-wing doors for an unfinished previous build!), which is chopped 3″ (the same amount the body has been channeled) and also wedge-sectioned one inch in front and 3 inches in the rear.

2018 Ridler Winner, Detroit Autorama, Fuel Curve

Under the hood is a Nelson Racing 515 twin-turbo big-block Chevy (1034hp on pump gas, 1800hp on fuel) that features an “encapsulated & enclosed” design theme that continues throughout the car (you can’t see any engine pulleys, half-shaft joints, steering rack boot, etc.).

2018 Ridler Winner, Detroit Autorama, Fuel Curve

The IRS rear end was a joint effort between Andy Leach and Bob Thrash while it rolls of exquisite EVOD wheels and trim. No doubt you will see it somewhere this coming show season.

Congratulations to the team!

Check out our other 2018 Detroit AutoRama coverage below

2018 Ridler Great 8 Finalists

2018 Detroit AutoRama Mega Gallery

A self-taught photojournalist, Eric Geisert worked for 3 years at VW Trends magazine before joining Street Rodder magazine in 1991. In 2002 he was named one of The 50 Who Made A Difference at the 50th Detroit Autorama and, in 2004, was named editor of Kit Car magazine, a 30-year-old title. By 2006 a move back to Street Rodder came with a Senior Editor position and, in 2007, Eric was inducted into the Circle of Champions, the Detroit Autorama's Hall of Fame. In 2013, at 52 years old, Eric became a freelance writer supplying articles and photography to publications around the world, which allows him to work on his collection of 12 or so cars that includes a ’34 five-window Ford coupe, a '32 Ford roadster, a reproduction '59 Lotus 11, a 356 Porsche speedster, a '55 Chevy 210, and a '59 Karmann Ghia. Over his career, Eric's photographic images have graced 300 magazine covers and he’s written literally thousands of automotive-related articles.

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