Last month we gave you a first look at the action from the main floor of Cobo Center, where, amongst the usual Autorama fare, contention for the 50th Annual Ridler Award was hot and heavy. But, as we all know, the real attractions often happen below street level—downstairs at Detroit, as we here at R&C like to call it.

The Autorama Extreme, as it's officially been dubbed, is where the Average Joe feels right at home; a place where hot rodders from all necks of the woods converge—with or without a car, bike, what have you—and do more than just sit around. Downstairs is literally where the action's at, whether it's the pinup girl contest with upwards of 50 models or, our favorite attraction, witnessing Gene Winfield doing one of the things he's best known for: chopping a top in a full-size Custom Shop diorama (sponsored by Genuine Hot Rod Hardware). And sprinkled within the vehicles on display are vendors of all types, offering wares ranging from Gear Drive's latest driveshaft tube headers to Rolling Bones T-shirts.

All said, taking everything in that the basement has to offer is, to say the least, a bit time-consuming; the place is packed wall-to-wall all Saturday and Sunday, so we suggest to any and all newcomers with even the slightest bit of claustrophobia: show up Friday! Fortunately, even with having to set up our 60th anniversary booth upstairs, we had the opportunity to wander around the entire Autorama before things got too crazy. Along with the heated 2013 Ridler rivalry, the 50-year celebratory display of past Ridler winners, and more, this was undoubtedly a Detroit for the record books...and one that will surely be tough living up to come this time next year.