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.