It is car show season !
Detroit Autorama vs. Grand National Roadster Show – East vs. West In the show car world this is the time of year when car builders debut their newest creations. If a builder wants to launch his/her career into the stratosphere, he/she will enter their masterpiece in either the Detroit Autorama or the Grand National Roadster Show. Over the years, these two shows have become the super bowls of the show car world only selecting the best of the best and the competition is staggering.
The Detroit Autorama, also known as America’s Greatest Hot Rod Show, is a showcase of custom cars and hot rods held each year in Detroit, Michigan. Each February since 1964, participants have been competing for Autorama’s “best in show” award called the Don Ridler Memorial Award, named after Don Ridler, Autorama’s first promoter from 1956–1963. The Ridler Award recipient has been selected out of a pre-determined group of cars, known as “The Great 8. From the eligible contenders, the judging staff narrows the field to eight which outweigh the rest. The criteria to win the Ridler is to be the “most outstanding from among the cars being shown for the first time”. It must also have “limited media exposure” prior to the event, and must be “minimally operable”, which requires it to “start, stop, move forward and backward under its own power. The winner is instantly propelled into a flurry of media attention and a long list of appearances throughout the upcoming year.
It might be hard to imagine heading to Detroit in the waning days of winter, but it’s always worth the trip.
Over two thousand miles away from Detroit, contenders flock to Pomona, California to compete in the Grand National Roadster Show. Rolling for 73 years and once known as the Oakland Roadster Show, it is now the longest-running indoor car show in the world. While show vehicles compete for coveted awards on the inside, another 800 – 1,000 vehicles will join the event Saturday and Sunday in the parking lot.
Since its debut in 1950, the show’s top-tier award has always been America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR). Open to 1937 and older U.S. Production based roadsters; cars cannot have roll up windows. Much like the Ridler, the vehicle must be making its debut in finished form at the Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS). No photos or video may be published of the vehicle in its finished form until after the car has been unveiled at the GNRS. In addition, the vehicle must prove to be functional. It must start, stop, move forward and backward, under its own power before judging begins. No matter what show you favor, to be a considered for either one of these
prestigious awards means that you are already a winner. Creativity and craftsmanship are alive and well in these arenas.