2018 Detroit AutoRama, Fuel Curve

2018 Detroit AutoRama First Look! The Ridler Great 8 Finalists

See who the Ridler Great 8 Finalists are inside Cobo Hall at the 2018 Detroit Autorama. Named after the Detroit Autorama’s first promoter, Don Ridler. The Don Ridler Memorial Award has been handed out annually since its inception in 1964. But it’s only recently there has been a name for those eight finalists who qualify to win the award: The Pirelli Great 8.

Rule number one is the vehicle cannot have been shown anywhere else—it has to make its debut at the Autorama. Sometimes as many as 50 car owners feel they have a qualified car, but that number gets cut down quickly by judges when the cars roll through Cobo Center’s doors.

By the time the show’s doors open on Friday afternoon, the Great 8 have been finalized and the owners told of their standing, but they have to wait until Sunday evening to see whose name gets engraved on the perpetual trophy and take home both the honor and a check for $10,000.

Here they are – The 2018 Ridler Great 8 Finalists

Harold and Rhea Schrader, Franklin Lakes, NJ – Red 1939 Ford Sedan Delivery.
Dan Wickett and the crew at Hot Rod Construction built this delivery for Harold and Rhea, a couple who have shown cars on this level for years. Suicide doors, narrowed running boards, and shaved drip rails were added before the Axalta paint went on. Zebra wood was used as the flooring out back, built on a carbon fiber and Kevlar base. A 5.7 liter Chrysler hemi is under the hood.2018 ridler great 8 finalists, Fuel Curve

2018 ridler great 8 finalists, Fuel Curve

K. Reid Hotaling, Mooresville, NC – 1940 Ford coupe
Built by Farrell Creations & Restorations, this ’40 Ford is Reid’s first car. He bought it for $500 in 1965, and it took only 2 years before he started customizing it. Tom Farrell picked up the build in 2010, and pie-cut the hood 4.5 inches, widened the rear fenders by 2 inches, and set the body on a Morrison chassis outfitted with a ZL1 big-block.2018 ridler great 8 finalists, Fuel Curve

2018 ridler great 8 finalists, Fuel Curve


Robert Anderson, Savannah, GA – White 1936 Pontiac sedan
Built at Steve Legens’ shop in Tennessee, the body of Anderson’s ’36 Poncho was pie-cut (two inches in front to zero inches in back) and the wheelbase extended four inches up front. A supercharged LT4 is used for power, and the car utilizes 18 and 20” EVOD wheels. There is also a brass and Lucite skylight that is inset into the roof!2018 ridler great 8 finalists, Fuel Curve

2018 Detroit AutoRama, Fuel Curve

Danielle Lutz, Hamlin, PA – blue 1934 Ford pickup
Builder Jason Graham mentioned that his customer Danielle Lutz, 31, has owned this pickup for years, but it had been rodded back in the 80s. She wanted it redone and turned it over to Graham but had not seen most of its construction, including its color, until she saw it for the first time when she found out she was a Ridler Great 8 finalist. There’s a 347c.i. stroker motor under the hood backed to a World Class 5-spd trans. The wheels are 18”and 20”, and the roof chopped 4.5 inches, cab stretched 1.5 inches, and the A-pillars leaned back.2018 Detroit AutoRama, Fuel Curve

2018 ridler great 8 finalists, Fuel Curve

Stuart Adams, Mooresville, SC – black 1969 Camaro
The “TUX” is what Adams calls his black Camaro, and it’s been “In the works” for some 13 years. Detroit Speed did the build, including the hand-fabricated floor pan, shaved drip rails, and six-point roll cage. An LS2 is topped with a Harrop supercharger, and the car’s overall height is only 47 inches!2018 ridler great 8 finalists, Fuel Curve

2018 ridler great 8 finalists, Fuel Curve

Chris Ryan, Ninety Six, SC – red metalflake 1956 Lincoln
Chris has built a number of vehicles at his shop for customers in the past few years, but this one is his personal car. A 2” chop, tucked bumpers, and the hump in the Continental’s trunk being shaved are only some of the body mods in play here. It’s painted with PPG Vibrance candy paint, is powered by a Ford Coyote V8, and rolls on 20” Curtis Speed wheels.2018 ridler great 8 finalists, Fuel Curve

2018 ridler great 8 finalists, Fuel Curve

Chris & Greg Allen, Shelbyville, AR – gold 1967 Camaro
“Nickelback” is what Chris & Greg Allen call their first gen Camaro, which features a hood stretched several inches, radiused corners all around, machined hood hinges, CNC-machined trim, and the wheel wells have been stretched. The motor is an LT1 355c.i. topped with a Magnuson supercharger. Every bolt on the car was custom machined.2018 ridler great 8 finalists, Fuel Curve

2018 ridler great 8 finalists, Fuel Curve

Greg & Judy Hrehovsik, & Johnny Martin, Alamosa, CO – silver 1957 Chevy hardtop
Johnny and Ryan Martin of Johnny’s trim & rod shop in Colorado have been part of the Ridler Great 8 finalists group before with a ’62 Corvette in 2011. For the Hrehovsik’s tri-five, they reconfigured the hardtop hood and chopped it 3 inches–the same amount the body has been channeled. The body is also wedge-sectioned one inch in front and three inches in the rear. Under the hood is a 515c.i. twin-turbocharged big-block Chevy.2018 ridler great 8 finalists, Fuel Curve

2018 ridler great 8 finalists, Fuel Curve

Check back tomorrow for a giant 2018 Detroit AutoRama photo 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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