Fifty years is quite a long time. With the exception of personal age maybe (50 is anything but old, right?!), amassing 50 years is grounds for celebration, to say the least. Even that much time spent behind bars is worth having any extra bologna sandwich in honor of. When it comes to indoor car shows, a golden anniversary is indeed a time in which to devote special attention, and the latest Detroit Autorama is our most recent venue where celebrating was the name of the game.

Five decades of Ridler madness came to a head this past weekend (that being March 8-10) at Detroit's Cobo Center. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the annual presenting of the Don Ridler Memorial Award was given a hefty shot in the arm with the added presence of past Ridler recipients—over 25 in all—displayed amongst the dozens of potential Pirelli Great 8/Ridler contenders. To say the least, the motor city was "riddled" with some of the most amazing hot rods, customs, and muscle cars ever built.

Despite Cobo Center's in-process renovation, not to mention the various states of the surrounding city itself, the interior of Detroit's spacious hall was beyond festive. From the contention of vehicles, both vying for awards and just on display—upstairs and down—to the various celebrities and attractions, this was without a doubt an Autorama on steroids.

Along with the aforementioned Ridler's Row display of past honorees, another newcomer to the show was the Ridler's Ball held Friday evening, where not only was the 50th anniversary of the award official celebrated, but also the announcement of the Pirelli Great 8 recipients and the Circle of Champions inductees awarded.

Last, but by no means least, there was one more unique attraction at this year's Detroit Autorama. In honor of our 60th, R&C was, well, honored to have Coleman Castelaw's 1932 Ford cabriolet—the Quincy Automotive/1961 R&C feature vehicle—on display in a special 60th anniversary booth, created specifically for the show.

Enjoy the photos of the action that took place "upstairs"—next month we'll devote some pages to the happenings that went on downstairs at the Autorama Extreme.

The Great Contender: Beau Boeckmann's "Iron Orchid"

For reasons beyond our contemplation, Beau Boeckmann's Galpin Auto Sports/Dave Shuten–built 1934 five-window did not even make it into the Pirelli Great 8 final selection for the Ridler. But that's not going to stop us from giving "Iron Orchid" some of the attention it deserves here.

Painted lavishly by Darryl Hollenbeck (Vintage Color Studio) with chrome plating to the hilt (courtesy of Advanced Plating), the coupe was "built to emulate the extreme show cars of the 1960s using only one-off and pre-1965 parts." And as Robert Williams declared, "Critical Mass Excellence!" Agreed.

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