Never mind the Great 8 for a moment. Here at Mac’s Motor City Garage, we’ve got the Noteworthy Nine. In our book, these nine vehicles at the 2014 Detroit Autorama were worth a special look.
First, MCG has no beef with the Detroit Autorama judges or their choices for this year’s Great 8 and Ridler Award. We looked carefully at all the Ridler-eligible cars, putting aside personal preferences. In our humble and objective opinion, the judges made the right calls. Good work on a very tough job, guys. Well done.
No, our Noteworthy Nine is a totally different sort of group. These are simply nine vehicles that we think are especially exceptional and interesting—worth checking out and talking about. Detroit Autorama is much more than a hot rod show: There are great vehicles here of almost every classification, and some that defy any classification. Here are nine that caught our eye this past weekend.
Larry and Patty Hill’s 1961 Ford Starliner is as clean and straight as you will ever find, but there’s a bonus feature installed under the hood: an exotic 427 CID SOHC V8. A fantasy for Ford fanatics, the rare hardtop has won a slew of show awards.
Brian McCool is a highly creative builder whose cars have been featured in Hot Rod magazine and at his own blog, Cool McCool’s Garage. One recent project is a rare 1948 Diamond T Model 201 pickup that Brian has updated for highway touring with late model suspension and drivetrain. He and wife Kim McCool are also into vintage camping trailers, so they set up this neat display in the Autorama Extreme basement show. In case you were wondering: Yes, they really go camping in those tiny trailers.
This magnificent monster commands your attention. Owner-designer C.J. Cumar and builder Steve Lemiere stretched a 1937 Hudson Terraplane more than a foot in every direction to make it fit a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 diesel chassis. The cabin’s interior is larger than some studio apartments. Behold the ultimate movie villain car.
This circa-1937 big car from the golden era of dirt track racing sports an Essex frame, Ford running gear, and a Ford Model B banger with Miller OHV conversion. Owner Doug DeVine believes the trim little racer was originally constructed by Fremont, OH builder Karl Behlmer.
Dan Coleman’s ’56 Fairlane Club Sedan abounds in fine custom touches such as flipped and shaved bumpers and sculptured taillamps. These elements strike a nice balance with the stock pieces, including the Fairlane checkmark side trim and fender badges. The paint is a deep, rich black cherry.
Built in 1967-68 by Charles Duffield of Ravenna, OH, Duffy’s Toy is a real-deal Ohio gasser. And it’s a high-end example at that, sporting pearl paint, top-grade interior and tin work, and an injected big-block Chevy with Clutch-Flite transmission. Ron Malmsten of Belleville, MI owns the period-perfect racer today.
In 1938, Minneapolis-Moline introduced the Model UDLX Comfortractor, an early attempt at an enclosed-cab farm tractor. With its long hood and chopped-top proportions, the Comfortractor manages to pull off a rural GT look. This beautifully restored example, one of 40 believed to exist, belongs to the Schneider Tractor Collection in Lapeer, MI.
Built on a navy base, Slick Patterson’s ’39 Ford convertible was highly advanced for its time in both construction methods and build quality, and was featured in Motor Trend in 1951 and Speed Age in 1952. Totally restored by Roddy and Sally Moore, the historic Virginia custom is the 2014 recipient of the Detroit Autorama’s Steele Products Preservation Award. The striking paint? A 1951 Kaiser-Frazer color called Caribbean Coral.
Bob Mandell, Jr. of Bob’s Pro-Fab Chassis displayed this brand-new 1955 Chevy Top Sportsman racer. A 792 CID big-block Chevy powers the all-fiberglass drag car, which features tasty air-brushed details including the grille, headlamps, and side trim.