Images and Story John McCartney

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, come inside come inside was a line from a classic 70’s rock song down by Emerson Lake and Palmer. That line from that song can best describe the 71st Meguiars Autorama presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts held at the Huntington Place/Cobo hall located in Detroit, Michigan. For three days fans in record numbers pour into the hall to check out the two floors of all sorts of cool cars. From race cars, customs, hot rods, muscle cars from classic to the newer modern muscle. No matter what you are into you can find it on display during the run of Autorama. Through the hard work of Peter Toundas president of Championship Auto Shows along with his staff and Butch Patrico president of the Michigan Hot Rod Association and all of their members the show is the must to attend each and every year.

For you see from one year to the next the show is completely different for all the cars on both floors are new for folks to check out and see. This year John Sbrigato of TV Show Cars fame continued his Five Generations of Gotham City tour with his collection of Batmobiles. Fans were able to check out Batmobiles from the tv show through all the movies winding up with the Batmobile from the Justice League. Sbrigato also had on hand some Bat cycles in the from of the Bat cycle with the real deal Robin go-kart on display along with a recreation of the famed Batgirl cycle. When you have all of these Batman history on display it comes as no surprise that Batman and Batgirl look alike were on hand to take some photos. In fact even Cat Woman showed up to try and steal the show as well to take photos as well. One day a newer version of Batman showed up to team up with the classic Batman and Batgirl as well. Sbrigato’s had his dad Joe Sbrigato’s famous Mailman Special on display this is the very car that was featured on the Ed Sullivan TV show back in 1964 when the Beach Boys performed live on the show doing some of their hits such as I get around, the car a 1931 Chevy Roadster was on display with a cool back drop of the car on the Sullivan show stage with The Beach Boys playing, to complete the package a video from the show of The Beach Boys playing along side of the car.

Another feature which makes each and every year of the Detroit Autorama special is the annual presentation of the Ridler Award which is given in the honor of Don Ridler  Folks work all year on building creations to try and take home the award. From all over the country cars are selected to attend the show from this group of cars it is then paired down the Elite Eight and from that eight one car is selected as the overall winner of the Ridler Award. This year the 1953 Corvette Custom Coupe owned by David and Tracey Maxwell took home the big prize. The car was built by Dave Kindig and his team from Kindig-It Designs the stars of tv show Bitchin Rides.

The fine folks at Steele Rubber Products once again gave out their Preservation Award this year it was awarded to the Tignanelli Family. The Tignanelli received the award for their father’s 1947 Ford Convertible. The family had the car on display along with a number of the trophies that their father won back in the days at many of the iconic big car shows.A piece of custom car history was on display for the first time in many years at Detroit Autorama in the form of the Uncertain T. This part of custom car show past was found by Galpin Automotive Beau Boeckmann and David Shuten and was on display just as it was found recently. A Tribute To Evel Knievel featured many of the bikes and stunt vehicles used by Evel over the years this display was put together by Motor Mania Media. One of those being the famous Sky Cycle used by Evel to try make his jump over Snake River. When you see this creation up close you have to scratch your head and say what was Evel thinking when he came up with this idea, many other vehicles used by Evel could also be seen in this interactive display.


Once again Motor City Auto Art Mavens and the Leader Dog for the Blind came together to raise money for the Leader Dog for the Blind in the form of the annual Pinstriping Panel Jam. Artists from all over the country come together to spend time together creating one of kind pieces of artwork. Once these special creations are done at various times during the run of Detroit Autorama live auctions are held where folks are able to bid on these pieces of artwork. With all the money raised donated to the fine folks at Leader Dog for the Blind to help with all the great work they that they do. At the back of the show each and every year Toy Rama takes place which is a giant flea market with all sorts of cool items from toys, magazines, photos, all sorts of great automobile memorabilia just waiting to be purchased and taken home.

Once you were done checking out all of the cars on the first floor it was time to take a ride down stairs to what is know as Autorama Extreme. For here the car show scene is taken to another level. Here fans can check out all sorts of hot rods, rat rods, customs, race cars you name it is all here for folks to enjoy. This year the folks that run this part of the show built a giant used car lot which was another unique backdrop to the Autorama Extreme vibe. In addition to all of the cars there are vendors, bands, pin up girl contests, famous artists much to the enjoyment of all.

As you walk the rows and rows of cool cars you never know who might see. From Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame who was on hand to sign autographs and talk rock and roll with fans. Robbie Wolfe from the tv show American Pickers was spotted checking out some of the cars on display in the Batmobile display. Current Top Fuel owner Smax Smith was seen roaming around checking out the cars and spent time getting his photo with Batgirl and the iconic 60’s Batmobile. Chip Foose was on hand debuting a special Evel Knievel bike in the Evel Knievel booth. Most of the cast from the tv show Bitchin Rides could be found by their car that they built for Maxwell family and would eventually win the 2024 Ridler award. There was once again even a Jack Nicholson and Abraham Lincoln spotted at the shows but turned out later  to be a pair of Michigan residents.

So when you have a chance check out the Detroit Autorama you will agree that this is one show that never ends, come inside come inside and enjoy you will not be sorry.

For More of John’s great images from the show, go to: