Just a few weeks after feasting our eyes on several hundred of the country's best rods and customs at the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, we get to repeat the experience-kind of-all over again, 2,300 miles away. The Detroit Autorama is like the GNRS' eastern cousin. There is a bit of a resemblance between these two elite level car shows, but there are also some differences we appreciate every time we go to Detroit.

Partly it's the weather. At the GNRS, the cars are scattered throughout numerous buildings and spill out into the sunny fairgrounds. In Detroit, stepping from the cold gray outdoors of Michigan winter into the excitement of Cobo Hall is like stepping from black-and-white Kansas into a living-color Land of Oz, where all senses are...