Renaissance Roadster Wins the 2017 Ridler Award

This year’s Ridler Award at the Detroit Autorama goes to the owner/builder team of Nancy and Buddy Jordan and Steve Frisbie with a reimagined 1933 Ford they call the Renaissance Roadster. Here’s a closer look. 



Renassiance Roadster, owned by Nancy and Buddy Jordan of Portland Oregon, was created by noted builder Steve Frisbie and his staff at Steve’s Auto Restorations, also of Portland. Working from a complete design theme developed by Steve and co-designer Chris Ito, the SAR team built the car virtually from scratch: Except for the engine, transmission, and a few other mechanical components, nearly every component is hand-built and unique to this car. The painstaking construction and obsessive attention to detail were rewarded with the 2017 Ridler Award, one of the top honors in the custom car world. Below are just a few of the Renassiance Roadster’s noteworthy features.


A 1933 Ford in inspiration only, the Renassiance Roadster wears a completely hand-formed body in .063-inch 3003 aluminum alloy. The grille shell, bumpers, hinges, metal trim, glass frames, and wheels—essentially, everything you can see here and lots of things you can’t—are scratchbuilt as well. That includes the unique headlamp buckets, which were fabricated to house modified 1934 Chrysler lenses and contemporary HID halo lighting. The chassis, fabricated in .1875-in. steel plate and 1.5-in. round tubing, carries split-beam independent suspension in front and Mustang-based independent suspension in the rear.


Tucked away in the sleek, tight engine room is an all-aluminum 427 CID Chevy big-block V8 that has been sanded and polished until virtually flawless. The oil pan, valve covers, air cleaner assembly, and beltless water pump are all custom CNC billet pieces by SAR, and the GM 4L60 automatic transmission has also been given the smoothing and detailing treatment.


The entire cabin is handcrafted, from the CNC-machined pedals and steering column to the unique instrument dials. The custom-built seats and interior door panels were covered in red and black leather by Dan’s Auto Upholstery of Portland, Oregon.


The rear suspension is loosely based on a Ford Mustang IRS setup with CNC-sculpted control arms and halfshafts and a styled differential cover. Disc brakes are Wilwood on all four corners with custom mounts and backing plates.


Among the many .distinctive design features are these hood cutouts, which are ornamented on each side with a bold slash of bright metal trim. Plating and polishing were performed by Advanced Plating and Sherm’s Custom Plating. The two-tone red and dark cherry metallic paint is a special brew of GM and Tesla colors.


12 thoughts on “Renaissance Roadster Wins the 2017 Ridler Award

  1. Jeeze, I don’t know Bill….I’m sure it’s top notch in build quality, but IMO, it’s too busy and those WHEELS! The engine air cleaner assemblies always seem to dissapoint me.

    I would seriously like a more stock looking ’33 with perfect fit and finish and less circus like wheels….but I guess that’s not what this year’s Riddler is about.

    • I don’t care for the wheels, either. I’m a traditionalist, especially for cars of this vintage. But the designers love them. They can’t make the wheels large enough.

  2. I agree, the circus wheels are ugly. And way too big.
    And another (sudo) Ford with a Chevy motor in it. How generic.
    Although I don’t care for black and red, the fit, finish and attention to detail is very evident even in the pictures.
    Are any of the Riddler nominees drivable?

  3. I, too, thought “Prowler” at first glance. Certainly well done, but not my cup of tea.
    Lots of money and labor for something which doesn’t appear that different. DO like the gold finish on the engine, though! That’s different! The wheels, though nothing I would choose, are again “different”. I hope the owner gets sufficient enjoyment from his ride to justify the investment. I guess that’s all that matters in the end.

  4. The Ridler award criteria are deliberately designed to minimize matters of subjective taste and emphasize build quality, integration, execution, creativity, etc. The most beautiful car is not the most original nor the most demanding in construction, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. McG

  5. I would like to see it in daylight without the thousand pinpoints of light shining down on all surfaces and breaking up the lines. I like the look of it but wonder how many of the front panels are easily removable. It’s just an expensive piece of art if you can’t service the engine.

    The variety of Ridler contenders is a bit like living in Sweden. Sure, you’re surrounded by a bevy of beautiful blondes, but you hunger for a brunette Spaniard. If you’re that creative, build me something post-1970.

  6. Well, when the style heads off in a completely different direction in a few years, this one will be a great chronicle of what people are doing today. Kind of like so many of the Ridler winners of the past, which are terrific examples of what people don’t do to cars any more.

  7. The car itself looks ok. But clearly it is a piece of art, not a driver. ad yes I too deplore the stupid wheels.
    But to me a car that is not a driver is not a car. And all the chrome will never be practical [or safe] on a car that is driven.

  8. Sly Stone said it best, “Diffrent strokes for diffrent folks.” Just not my stroke.

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