Photos and story by John McCartney

Detroit Autorama turned 70 years old this year and once again all of the hot rod and custom car world came together in Detroit, Michigan. The name outside of the hall might have changed last year Cobo Hall this year it was called Huntington Place/Cobo outside the name is different inside the show is still it is another great outstanding turnout. Folks start to come into town on Wednesday to start loading into show. This show takes will over two days to fill up the two floors that make up the event.

This year’s show featured several great displays two of which paid tribute to two of the iconic folks from the early car show days. George Barris was featured in a great display that showcased three of his most famous tv cars. The real deal Dragula the very one used on the tv show and in the Munster’s movie was on hand. The number three Munster’s Koach was also there as well as Batmobile which George Barris himself signed off on as he was so impressed with the build. All three of these George Barris famed cars are owned by John Sbrigato.

Big Daddy Ed Roth was honored in a very special Rat Fink tribute display which had a number of his creations on hand. The Surf Fink which was built by Mark Glaz which is a full size surfboard with a giant Rat Fink was front and centered in the display as well.

One of the many things that makes each and every running of the Detroit Autorama so special is the annual Riddler Award which is presented by Meguiars Car Wax.Many great car builders spend all year trying to take home this unique award.  From all of the cars that enter the show comes the Great 8. The Great 8 is the eight best of the best that are entered in the show. Once these are picked the judges go to work and pick the overall winner. This winner is awarded the Riddler Award presented by Meguiars, this year it went to the outstanding 1950 Mercury 2-Door of Luigi Deriggi of Toms River, New Jersey.

The judging was so tight that the word on the street is that the Mercury took home the big trophy by just a few judging points what a close contest.

Tony Bartone’s recreation of Connie Kalitta’s Bounty Hunter classic front motored top fuel dragster was selected by Steele Rubber Products as the Detroit Autorama Preservation Award.

There was a great selection of vintage drag racing machines on display throughout the show. Milan Dragway once again had a big display and it was headlined by two of the stars from the Street Outlaws.

Two of Team Detroit’s biggest names Brian “Chucky” Davis and Johnny Quick spent time talking about the show and their cars which were on display.

Once again the fine folks at Motor City Mavens came together to put on another great way to raise money for the folks at Leader Dog For The Blind. Motor City Mavens Auto bring together some of the best artists from around the world to spend the run of the show creating one of a kind pieces of artwork. Then throughout each day of the show there is auction where folks can bid on these one of a kind creations and the winners get some really nice artwork. All of the money going to help the folks at Leader Dog for The Blind continue to do all the great work that they do with their group.

There are two great floors of cars to be checked out with the second floor which is known as Detroit Autorama Extreme. While downstairs on this second level is another whole wild world. Some of the crazy car creations can be on display in the Detroit Autorama Extreme. Noted car builder Gene Winfield who is 90 plus years young talking to fans and even had his famed Reactor sixties creation on display as well.

In addition, there are some vendors selling all sorts of crazy art work, t-shirts, and lots of other cool stuff. Special one of a kind trophies are created each and every year which each and every car owner that has a car in the show wants to take home and add to their collection. There are bands playing great music each and every day.

Miss Autorama Extreme Pin Up girl contest entertains the crowd on Saturday afternoon as everyone waits to see who will take home the crown.

Detroit Autorama is a show that is new and different each and every year. As you walk to two floors of the show it is very hard to find a car that you saw the year before.

All of this comes from the hard work of Peter Toundas the president of Championship Auto Shows and his staff. A very great feat when you consider the amount of cars that is takes to fill every square inch of the Huntington Place/Cobo Hall. So whether it is cool hot rods, crazy customs, vintage race cars, muscle cars you name it you can find each and every year at the Detroit Autorama it is has taken place for 70 years and will no doubt for another 70 years for sure. Take time and check it out.

For more of John’s images from the Detroit Autorama, go to