2017 Detroit Autorama Preview: All the Ridler Award Winners 1964–2016

It’s nearly here! The 2017 Detroit Autorama happens this coming weekend, February 24-26, at Cobo Center. Here’s a preview, including a gallery with all the Ridler Award winners from 1964 through 2016. 



The Detroit Autorama is regarded by many as the biggest and most important indoor hot rod show in America—sharing that honor, many will also say, with California’s Grand National Roadster Show. Autorama is the home of the Ridler Award, which is selected from a group of finalists known as the Pirelli Great 8. Earning a slot in the Great 8 is quite an honor in itself, while the Ridler is pretty much the top of the heap in the world of high-end show rods.

Cars built to this level of near-perfection can represent an investment in the millions of dollars. Pictured above is the 2005 Ridler Award winner, a stylized ’30s Ford roadster named Impression, owned by Ken Reister and designed and built by Chip Foose. The professional car designer and TV personality has taken the award four times.

Other Autorama attractions include the alternative rodding show in the Cobo Center basement, Autorama Extreme, the big main-floor display with hundreds of world-class rods and customs, and manufacturer displays from Chevrolet Performance, Ford Performance, Chrysler, and Mopar. We’ll see you there. In the meantime, here’s a gallery of all the Ridler Award winners from 1964 to present. Click on any image below to start a slide show.

65th Annual Meguiar’s Detroit Autorama; Cobo Center, 1 Washington Blvd., Detroit, MI; Fri 12 PM-10 PM, Sat 9 AM-10 PM, Sun 10 AM-7 PM. 


2 thoughts on “2017 Detroit Autorama Preview: All the Ridler Award Winners 1964–2016

  1. Don Vargo won a Riddler award for his car built by the Alexander bros candy red ford 30 s roadster, Don also got a Ford 406 Tri-power motor in a “crate”Bob Sweatt passed away, a few years back, he painted my 67 AMC American race car,plus I went to the track with him to help with “El Toro”, Don Vargo was friends with George Barris,I was working for Ramchargers Store san we were there at Autorama, one year, Don Vargo was talking to George Barris, Chris Titus, an Chip Foose, Foose was talking about coming here to win the Riddler Award,,the following year, I was in the group talking to Don when I heard all this,,,,ive known Don for years..

  2. Quite some character in the cars of years past, some years it went to the “baddest” car there, such as the drag cars, not always a show car.
    There was the “billet” era, most of which look horrendous. The 1984 winner looks like a precursor to the current generation of show specials, in some cases Ridler specials.
    I know all the cars in contention are impeccably engineered and constructed but most all leave me cold, and I’ve seen some in person. Do the builders not know of finish’s other than shiny?

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