Upstairs at Autorama: The top 20

Crowds of bright-eyed automotive enthusiasts poured through the Cobo Center’s doors in Detroit, Mich. for the annual Autorama, recently. Upon entering the expansive hall filled with shimmering paint and chrome, one of the first displays encountered is devoted to the Great 8, Autorama’s annual selection of the top eight cars eligible for Ridler Award judging. Obviously, these cars are the best of the best, and accordingly receive the most attention. But aside from the cost-no-object builds what other sweet rides called for attention? In no particular order, here are 20 of my favorites. And, yes, there were many, many more.

  1. An extensively modified 1960 Chevrolet Corvette, the Revenant, features an earth-shaking LS7 engine.

    1960 Chevrolet Corvette

  2. This 1951 Chevrolet 3100 five-window is shaved and has a custom fabricated tilt-bed. Paired with it are a matching painted helmet, toolbox, jack and oil, gas and water cans.

    1951 Chevrolet 3100 five-window

  3. This nosed, decked and shaved 1953 Cadillac gives a new meaning to heavy metal with a GM 427-cid. LS7 engine.

    1953 Cadillac

  4. The Venturian is a 1966 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 and a noteworthy tribute to the glory days of 1960s customizing.

    1966 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88

    1966 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88

  5. This super-low 1968 Chevrolet Camaro carries and LS-based 427-ci Stroker engine.

    1968 Chevrolet Camaro

  6. Loose Change is an all-steel, chopped ‘32 Ford Roadster painted like a pretty penny.

    ‘32 Ford Roadster

  7. This is yet another amazing Speed 33 with an LS3 engine, all built by the American Speed Company.

    Speed 33 with an LS3 engine

  8. This 1932 Ford Street Coupe rides in class with light lavender and pink interior accents.

    1932 Ford Street Coupe

  9. The Brass Monkey is an eye-catching 1939 Chevrolet custom pickup.

    1939 Chevrolet custom pickup

    The Brass Monkey a 1939 Chevrolet custom pickup

  10. Rotary power in front of a huge turbo makes this 1972 Datsun 1200 a mean street machine.

    1972 Datsun 1200

  11. This ‘49 Ford Coupe Gasser takes on a bomber plane theme. “Thunder Belle” rips and roars with a 327-ci engine.

    ‘49 Ford Coupe Gasser

  12. This wild Willys Coupe put paint skills and innovation to the test. This is one that is hard to miss.

    Willys Coupe

  13. This 1931 Ford is a unique, altered, pickup hot rod. What came first, the model or the car?

    1931 Ford

  14. It’s not just a gasser, it’s a 1940 Willys Gasser barn find with a 392-ci Chrysler HEMI.

    1940 Willys Gasser barn find

  15. This 1956 Chevrolet Nomad built by Boltnotts Custom, Inc. is otherwise known as The Wanderer, and it carries a 429-ci LS3 engine.

    1956 Chevrolet Nomad built by Boltnotts Custom, Inc.

  16. The rarely seen 1962 Kellison J5 Drop Nose Coupe is propelled by a 327-ci V-8 with ram-air intake. Maximizing the horsepower’s benefit is a low curb weight of only 2,150-lbs.

    1962 Kellison J5 Drop Nose Coupe

  17. This sweet little ‘55 Ford Thunderbird Gasser packs a big punch with a Stroker 427-cid Ford engine.

    ‘55 Ford Thunderbird Gasser

  18. A gasp-worthy paint job, this 1940 Mercury Coupe is covered in beautiful, sparkly yellow paint with lighter highlights accentuating its seductive curves.

    1940 Mercury Coupe

  19. This crazy red roadster, a 1933 Ford, can catch show-goers’ eyes several aisles away, even through huge crowds.

    1933 Ford

  20. The 1955 Dodge La Femme was a marketing flop, but that means they are rarely seen today. This custom features a clear bubble top that puts further emphasis on the luxurious interior.

    1955 Dodge La Femme

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