2014 Don Ridler Memorial Award Winner

It was toward the end of January where I found myself in the presence of a number of East Coast and Midwest folk, telling them how I'd easily trade places with them amidst SoCal's crazy winter heat wave. Well, lo and behold, just over a month later, I found myself boarding a plane bound for Detroit. My wish was about to come true!

For the cooler-than-cool weather alone I was pretty much looking forward to attending the Detroit Autorama—but also because it's a chance to see a number of people (and their cars) from east of the Mississippi that I don't normally have the opportunity to, if at all, throughout the rest of the year. And despite my limited exposure to the area's elements (which were on a rising upscale, topping out in the forties during my stay) due to my hotel's close proximity to Cobo Center, it was nice to finally don more than a sweatshirt for once this year!

As for the show itself, while it didn't manage to better last year's Ridler 50th anniversary (how can you top five decades of actual Ridler recipients on display, not to mention R&C's 60th display?!), it was what I've come to expect from the modern Detroit Autorama: a fine selection of top-honor contenders (slimmed down to the Great 8 by Friday evening), a great variety of automotive/racing-related attractions (including my childhood hero, Richard Petty), and of course, the goings on downstairs, aka Autorama Extreme.

When all was said and done, the judges' tallied votes determined that the 2014 Don Ridler Memorial Award was bestowed upon the J.F. Launier–built 1964 Riviera, "Rivision." Much the talk of social media the week immediately following, the much modified, much labored over Buick is the combination of pretty much any tag you can throw at it—concept, road racer, and so on. While personally, my pick was Don Smith's immaculate more-door Deuce (based on Tex Smith's old Fordor body no less), the extra effort put forth by JF Kustoms and their over-the-top Rivi was indeed stiff competition. Congrats to all the Great 8 finalists, as well as the entire list of Ridler contenders.