Established in 1963, the Ridler Award—the most prestigious and respected honor in the custom car world—is the highlight of the Detroit Autorama, presented to the most outstanding custom car or truck making its debut appearance at the show.
The talented crew at Steve’s Auto Restoration used aluminum and steel shaped from flat metal stock to give the roadster its winning look. Power was provided courtesy of a modified aluminum big-block V-8 engine from Chevrolet Performance. The original design for the Renaissance Roadster came from a sketch by team member and designer Chris Ito, with additional inspiration from Frisbie and another team member, designer David Brost. Painter Jay Spencer gave the Ford its dazzling candy-apple red and black appearance, spraying an array of PPG refinish products. These included DELTRON 2000 DBC9700 Basecoat Black, DCU 2021 CONCEPT Urethane Clear, DMD1696 Coarse Silver Dollar Aluminum along with VIBRANCE COLLECTION RADIANCE II DMX214 Red Violet and DMX213 Red (Blue Shade) Dye and CRYSTALLANCE VM4501 silver glass flake.
The Ridler winner is selected from a field of eight finalists collectively known as the Great Eight. Just qualifying for this elite group is a significant achievement, and PPG-painted vehicles were well represented. “After Thought,” a 1930 Ford Model A Coupe owned by Ted and Colleen Hubbard and built by Andy Leach and his team at CAL Automotive Creations in Omaha, Nebraska, was among the finalists. It has an old-school look created by Charley Hutton at Charley Hutton Color Studio in Nampa, Idaho. He gave the car body its “Paleozoic Sea Blue” finish using ENVIROBASE High Performance waterborne basecoat. Accent colors include Pepper Grey on the engine and chassis, “After Thought Gold” on the wheels and Titanium on the blower. GLOBAL REFINISH SYSTEM D8152 Performance + Glamour Clearcoat was used on the body and D8115 Matte Clearcoat on the satin colors.
“Split Ray,” a 1966 Corvette owned by Dennis Johnson and built by Scott Roth and Brian Hartwell at The Auto Shoppe in South Burlington, Vermont, also made the cut. The car, painted by several of the shop’s crew members, owes its custom Shark Skin Grey Metallic finish to a combination of PPG products including AQUABASE® Plus waterborne basecoat, NEXA AUTOCOLOR P565-3125 Wet on Wet Sealer Grey, and Deltron DC4000 Velocity Premium Clearcoat.
Ed Sears’ “Gold Standard,” a gleaming 1941 Ford pickup built by Gary Corkell and the team at One Off Rod & Custom in Middletown, Delaware, caught the Great Eight judges’ eyes. Corkell, along with Kevin Bluzzard, used Envirobase High Performance basecoat, ECP15 A-Chromatic Surfacer – Gray, and a custom-color mix “Brown Sugar” with Vibrance Collection Crystallance VM4505 topaz glass flake for the glowing finish.
Also in the Great Eight and sporting a stunning PPG finish was George Poteet’s 1932 Ford, “The GPT,” from Johnson’s Hot Road Shop in Gadsden, Alabama, a PPG shop since 1995.
An additional Autorama honor, the Lokar/STREET RODDER Driven Award, went to a 1949 Cadillac convertible owned by Tracy Chapman and built by her husband, Harold, and his crew at Customs & Hot Rods of Andice in Georgetown, Texas. Shop foreman Michael Kaiser had expert painter Lance Nelson give the Caddy its lustrous white-and-blue satin finish with Deltron 2000 DBC Basecoat, a special blend of tints and toners and Global Refinish System D8152 Performance + Glamour Clearcoat. All that Cadillac sheet metal was finished in PPG custom white paint, contrasted by a dark blue cloth top. Customs & Hot Rods of Andice also won the PPG Outstanding Paint award with a 1932 Ford finished in Envirobase High Performance basecoat and Global Refinish System D8152 Performance + Glamour Clearcoat and D8117 Semi-Gloss Clearcoat. The car features Vibrance Collection Crystallance colors “Smoking Gun” on the body and “Brown Sugar” on the wheels.
The Don Ridler Memorial Award, commonly called the Ridler Award, is named for the man who made the Detroit Autorama the nation’s premier custom car show. The owner of the winning car receives a cash award and a special embroidered jacket along with the greater prize of the coveted Ridler Award trophy, which represents the ultimate in custom design brilliance.