The Detroit Autorama is one of the most anticipated events in the show car world, and the biggest prize is the Ridler Award. The Great 8 is a selection of eight cars and trucks chosen by the judges based on their creativity, engineering, and quality workmanship. This year’s contenders include some stunning vehicles that are making their first public appearance at the show.

1955 Chevy Convertible

The Snodgrass brothers and their friend Mike have been restoring Tri-Five Chevys for years, and their latest project is a stunning blue 1955 Chevy convertible. Their goal is to win the Ridler, and they’ve spared no expense in modifying the Roadster Shop chassis and exterior without compromising the car’s classic design. The LS3 engine is backed by a 4L60E transmission, and the interior features tan leather upholstery.

1969 Dodge Super Bee

It’s been 53 years since a Mopar took home the Ridler, but Kathy Cargill’s 1969 Super Bee stands a good chance. The car started as a stocker and underwent a five-year transformation into an aggressive modern muscle car with a Gen III Hemi engine and Heidt’s Pro G suspension parts modified for a Mopar. The paint job by Ron Gorrell complements the car’s performance upgrades, and the attention to detail is impressive.

1967 Chevy Nova

Derick Samson is a three-time Great 8 builder and is back in the winner’s circle with this Elegant Silver 1967 Chevy II Nova. Owner Shawn Nichoalds started the build with his dad, Mike, and teamed up with Samson Design to finish the car in his father’s honor. The 496 stroker Chevy big-block engine is polished like a jewel, and the TCI Mustang II style front suspension and four-link rear have been chromed to shine as bright. The custom leather-wrapped interior incorporates dozens of letter Rs, which stand for the car’s name, Rome.

1958 Chevy Cameo Pickup

Jim McDaniel’s unibody El Cameo pickup is the only one of its kind and was inspired by a Dave Kindig concept drawing. Dan Wickett at Hot Rod Construction worked with Jim to make the black and copper concept a reality, and the result is impressive. Riding on a modified Art Morrison chassis, El Cameo’s engine bay is packed with a Chevy 348 machined to 443 cubes, with Holley EFI. Interior touches include the 1960 Chevy truck dash with a Classic Instruments custom gauge panel and SCAT race seats.

1953 Chevy 3100 Pickup

Tim Hampel’s 1953 Chevy 3100 is a stunning example of what can be achieved with the right team of builders. Nick Ryan and Kevin Penhaker at Killer Hot Rods transformed the heavily modified factory chassis into a work of art, complete with a Dyers 6-71 blown 468ci Chevy big-block topped with dual Holley Sniper EFI. The iridium metallic silver paint, Schott custom wheels, and tilt bed tonneau add to the truck’s eye-catching appearance.

1965 Ford Mustang

The 1965 Ford Mustang, owned by Rejean Desjardins and built by Leon Boudreau, is a wild white and black fastback. Desjardins and Boudreau from New Brunswick, Canada, added INNOV8 eight-stack fuel injection to the 5.0L Ford Coyote, treated to nickel plating. Numerous carbon fiber components and low-key body modifications, Sabelt Viper race seats, flush glass, 2006 GTO dash and console, and countless other custom elements have turned a garage-built ponycar into a serious Ridler contender.


What is the Detroit Autorama?

The Detroit Autorama is an annual car show held in Detroit, Michigan that showcases hundreds of custom cars, hot rods, muscle cars, and trucks.

What is the Ridler Award?

The Ridler Award is the biggest prize at the Detroit Autorama and is one of the most coveted awards in the show car world. It is named after Don Ridler, the first professional promoter of the Detroit Autorama, and is awarded to the most creative, well-engineered, and high-quality vehicle at the show.

What are the criteria for the Great 8 competition?

The Great 8 competition is not restricted to any era or style of car or truck. The judging criteria is based on creativity, engineering, and quality workmanship. One of the main rules is that all contenders must be making their first public appearance at the Detroit Autorama.


The Detroit Autorama is a highly-anticipated event for car enthusiasts around the world, showcasing some of the most creative and well-crafted vehicles. The Great 8 competition, leading up to the coveted Ridler Award, highlights the best of the best and sets the standard for excellence in the show car world. From a stunning 1955 Chevy Convertible to a wild 1965 Mustang, this year’s contenders are sure to impress the judges and attendees alike. We can’t wait to see who takes home the top prize and becomes a part of the Detroit Autorama’s rich history.

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