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Another year and another great Detroit Autorama in the books. Here is a video of the show cars as they exit, do you see yourself in there?
This years Great 8 Ridler award contenders were outstanding but only one entry could claim Hot Rodding’s top prize. Mickey and the “All Over The Place” crew went behind the scenes to capture everything it takes to win $10,000 and the most prestigious trophy in the show car world!
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The 20th Century was truly the century of the Hot Rod. In celebration, Championship Auto Shows, Inc. has assembled a grouping of the world’s most iconic hot rods for its “Most Significant Hot Rods of the 20th Century” showcase display, which will be featured at the 2020 Detroit Autorama.
This grouping is comprised of Ed Roth’s Beatnik Bandit and Outlaw, Bobby McGee’s 1932 Ford Roadster, Norm Grabowski’s Kookie T, and Tommy Ivo’s 1925 T Bucket. These legendary hots rods will be brought in from the West Coast for this special showcase.
The Beatnik Bandit was created by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth in 1961. It features a clear bubble canopy, a shortened Oldsmobile chassis from the 1950’s, and a 303c.i. (5.0L) Oldsmobile V8 engine with a supercharger. Instead of a conventional steering wheel and floor pedals, The Bandit has a central joystick which controls speed, direction and braking. The Bandit graced the cover of the May 1961 edition of Car Craft magazine, and was featured in the article “Bandit at Large” in the July 1961 issue of Rod & Custom magazine, and in retrospectives that appeared in the Rod & Custom in 1991 and in the March 2002 issue of Custom Rodder. Roth’s The Outlaw was designed and built in 1957. It was Roth’s first experience building in fiberglass, a revolutionary material at that time. The Outlaw was based on a Ford Model A frame with a 1925 Model T front cross member and a 1958 Chevrolet Impala steering wheel and Stewart-Warner gauges. It appeared on the cover of Car Craft Magazine in January 1960, and it became one of the Revell Model Company’s best-selling model kits, which is still in production today.
Bob McGee’s 1932 Ford Roadster appeared on the cover of Hot Rod magazine in October 1948, just a month after being chosen as the signature car at the Southern California Timing Association’s (SCTA) meeting stressing hot rod safety. The roadster earned its Green Cross safety sticker and was featured in the Los Angeles Times.
McGee created his ideal of a hot rod after returning from serving in the Pacific during WWII. His changes included lowering the suspension, changing wheels, smoothing the grille shell and removing the radiator cap. The hood was made into a three-piece unit with louvers, and fenders and door handles were removed. Custom paint and upholstery plus a ‘34 Ford V-8 and a Burns dual carburetor intake manifold also added to the many modifications. The McGee Roadster was just one of two 1932 Fords chosen to become U.S. Postal stamps in 2014.
Norm Grabowski’s “Kookie T” is known as the car that kickstarted the T-bucket movement, and one of the world’s most famous hot rods. Appearances in LIFE magazine in April 1957, on an episode of The Ford Television Theatre anthology series, and featured as the car of character Gerald Lloyd “Kookie” Kookson III in television’s “77 Sunset Strip,” the Kookie T received wide exposure and earned many fans.
Grabowski originally called the T-bucket Lightnin’ Bug. Grabowski combined a 1931 Model A Roadster and part of a 1922 Model T. He shortened the touring body and added a shortened Model A pickup bed to the back, and did a lot of work on the chassis to make it match the nose-down, tail-up look he had in mind. Additional modifications included a GMC 3-71 supercharged Cadillac 331c.i. V8, 1941 Ford rear axles, and a leaned-back windshield.
Tommy Ivo based his 1925 T-Bucket on Grabowski’s ‘Kookie T.’ At just 19, he began his build by locating a Model T body in the desert. The body had a yucca tree growing out of the middle of the cab, so he cut it down. After retrieving it, he went to work on the body and then added a 322c.i. Buick Nailhead V8, three induction systems (a dual-quad manifold, a six pack of Stromberg 97’s and Hilborn fuel injection). Ivo raced the car and earned several Top Eliminator awards at drag ways with dependable 11-second elapsed times and a top speed of 119 mph. Ivo was also a child actor in the 1950’s, and when hot rod movies became the rage, his T became a prop. It became the hero’s car in 1956’s “Dragstrip Girl” and Ivo played a heavy who stole the car in the film. Ivo’s T-Bucket also appeared in the Disney-made television mini-serial “Spin and Marty.” It also made the cover of the August 1957 edition of Hot Rod Magazine.
Make it a point to stop and see these world renowned icons at the 68th Detroit Autorama February 28 – March 1st, 2020.
All you need to know for this year’s Detroit Autorama!
General Admission – $21.00
Discount Tickets at O’Reilly Auto Parts – $19.00
Children 6-12 – $8.00
Children 5 and Under – Free
Friday, February 28th – 12pm-10pm
Saturday, February 29th – 9am-10pm
Sunday, March 1st – 10am-7pm
Features and Entertainment
The 2020 Detroit Autorama will include Meguiar’s Car Care Tips, Summit Racing Equipment’s “Chop Shop” featuring Gene Winfield, And Summit’s Pedal Car Challenge. The Calvacade of Customs will be back with a 10 car exhibit. Competition Specialists is this year’s MHRA Feature Club. This year’s Preservation Award Recipient is “El Toro” altered fuel race car, ‘76 Ridler Award winner presented by Steele Rubber Products. The show also includes the 28th Annual Toy-A Rama, Master Builder Award and CASI Cup. The Mavens Pinstripe Auctions benefitting Leader Dogs for the Blind Live Auctions will be held Friday 4pm-5pm, Saturday 12pm-1:30pm, 3pm-4:30pm, 6pm-7:30pm, Sunday 12pm-1:30pm, 3pm-4:30pm.
Celebrities will again decend to the Greatest Show. UAW Ford Celebrity Stage Guest Appearances include
WWE Legend Ric Flair, Friday 6pm-8pm
Keynote speaker of honor Rutledge Wood, NASCAR & auto racing analyst, Friday 4pm-7pm.
Also, host of ‘Hot Rod Garage-Road Kill,’ and ‘Faster with Finnegan,’ Mike Finnegan joins the show Saturday 12pm-3pm.
Cody Walker, the late Paul Walker’s brother, and from the movie ‘Fast & Furious Family,’ is a must-see Saturday 4pm-7pm.
Plus, Spiderman Marvel Comics Superhero drops in Sunday 11am-5pm, and Aaron Kaufman from the Discovery Channel entertains us Sunday 1pm-4pm.
Racing Legend Lyn St. James will appear at Autorama alongside the iconic 1969 University of Pittsburgh Camaro that she will race in the 2020 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear Historic Trans-Am Series racesSt. James will appear in the Grand Prix display on:Friday, Feb. 28 at 1 pm ETSaturday, Feb. 29 at 12 pm ETGet autographs and take pictures with a racing pioneer!
Autorama Extreme Features
The Extreme customs on Level B is an unique experience featuring customs, traditional rods & bobber bikes, patina rods, Pinup Girls, live bands, and more. Some of the coolest creations of unique rods on the planet will be there.
Also downstairs, the Vinsetta Garage Miss Autorama Pinup Girl Contest Saturday 5pm.
Call Dennis Scott to register at 248-651-4155. Traditional Rod Pick Awards presented Saturday 8pm.
And, along with cool stuff for sale downstairs, there will be live music with the Rockabilly Bands. ‘Blues Brothers Tribute’ Friday 3pm & 6pm, and Sunday 1pm, ‘Tosha Owens & The Stable Dudes’ Friday 5pm & 8pm, ‘Fast Eddie Band’ Saturday 1pm, 3pm, 6pm and Sunday 2pm, 4pm. ‘Twisted Tarantulas’ rock out Saturday 2pm, 4pm, 7pm, Sunday 2pm, 5pm.
2020 Detroit Autorama Feature Club
The Mill Winders Car Club was formed in August of 1955 as a result of friendships developed at the M.H.R.A. owned drag strip. Original membership started at 40 members and today stands at 29. Through the mid-sixties, the clubs major activity revolved around drag racing with the distinction of having two of the nation’s top racers, Don Garlits and Art Malone, as members.
From the mid-sixties to early seventies, the club turned their attention to the Detroit Autorama working, judging and competing in their hometown show, as well as others on the fledgling ISCA Show Car Circuit. Today the club has one former chairman and three former co-chairmen as members. It also supplies at least 30% of the current judging staff and has members in key management positions as well.
Currently the club is focusing on building and enjoying their cars, which range from restored classics to street rods and street machines. We are a charter club of the Michigan Hot Rod Association and are very proud of our rich history in racing, show cars and street rodding.
Celebrating our 64th Anniversary at Autorama 2020.
Meeting Times and Location: 6pm Oct. thru April, 7pm May thru September, Sunday before MHRA Meeting The Double D – 240 N. River Rd. Mt. Clemens 48043 (586) 231-0134.
Preservation Award Presented by Steele Rubber Products
The Detroit Autorama presents this Preservation Award each year to a vehicle chosen as the most outstanding car with significant importance in original condition.
The 2020 award recipient is “El Toro,” an AA/FA dragster. Built by Robert “Bob” Sweatt in the early ‘70s, “El Toro” set a world speed record for its class on September 1, 1973. In 1976, Sweatt entered “El Toro” in the Detroit Autorama and drove away with the prestigious Ridler Award, Autorama’s top prize.
Dave Harrington, the current owner of “El Toro,” has undertaken a complete restoration of the vehicle with builder Shawn Dill. Harrington and Dill will be presented with the Detroit Autorama Preservation Awards at the Ridler’s Ball celebration on Friday, February 28, 2020. “El Toro” will be on display during the show.
This is the greatest annual opportunity to view your “next new car!”
Car manufacturers from around the world will bring their finest traveling displays with new vehicles – including sedans, vans, SUV’s, trucks, hybrids and sports cars to the Michigan International Auto Show coming to DeVos Place January 30 – February 2, 2020. Not only is the Auto Show the BEST place to shop and compare options for every day vehicles, it is also the first opportunity for West Michigan residents to see many of the most recently released or “soon to be released” models! Presented by the Grand Rapids New Car Dealers Association.
Show Dates & Hours:
Thursday, January 30 11AM – 9:30PM
Friday, January 31 11AM – 9:30PM
Saturday, February 1 10AM – 9:30PM
Sunday, February 2 10AM – 5PM
Children 6 – 14 $5
Now that SEMA’s lawsuit has prompted the feds to finally issue regulations stemming from the 2015 Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act, it’s back to the future for DeLorean… again. James Espey, vice president of DeLorean Motor Company, confirmed to Hagerty that plans are underway to prepare for limited production of a new, much-upgraded version of the classic stainless steel, gullwing coupe.
If this sounds like déjà vu all over again, it’s because the new DeLoreans were originally planned for 2016, a year after the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act was signed into law. Obviously, that did not happen according to the expected timeframe.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was charged with implementing the Act, but any work toward implementing the regulations stalled after the 2016 presidential election. DeLorean’s plans, and those of other low-volume makers, screeched to a halt. One problem, Espey explains, was that NHTSA hasn’t had a permanent administrator since the previous presidential election, and the acting administrator would not sign off on the regulations. In addition, old cars became a low priority for an agency dealing with the rise of autonomous driving tech and the Takata airbag recall.
Espey credits the SEMA lawsuit with prodding NHTSA to release the Low Volume Manufacturer regulations. He suggests that the 120-page document had probably been close to release for some time.
The new DeLoreans should be worth the wait. Built from a mix of new-old-stock (NOS) and brand-new parts, the cars could get a 350-horsepower engine and an upgraded interior with modern audio and connectivity. Espey says the bodies will conform closely to the 1981–83 originals, albeit with modern headlights.
Although the Low Volume Manufacturer law allows a company to make 325 cars per year, Espey says that this upcoming run of DeLoreans will be lower-volume than that—perhaps one or two per week. However, DMC is not taking orders yet, and production will ultimately depend on several factors.
“There will be no cars produced under this legislation for at least a year, and that’s presuming the feds do their job this time and don’t drag it out for four more years,” says Espey.
He has reviewed the NHTSA documentation and says he does not see any “big surprises.” A 30-day public comment period comes next. Following that, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will need to review the document and calculate the time and effort needed for applicants to complete it. That, Espey says, could take six months.
“SEMA is not asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit until NHTSA carries through,” Espey says.
There are still some question marks, he adds, such as whether NHTSA will get an administrator before the next election, whether that person will keep this project moving, and what will happen after the 2020 election.
In addition to DeLorean, low-volume companies including Superformance, Revology, and Icon could benefit from a positive outcome.
DMC, based in Humble, Texas, was started by Stephen Wynne in 1995 to service and restore DeLoreans. Born in Liverpool, England and a mechanic by trade, Wynne eventually acquired the DeLorean trademarks and vast stocks of parts left over from the factory and dealers. Using those parts, DMC offers refurbished and upgraded DeLoreans from its four locations in Texas, Florida, California, and Illinois.
“It’s crazy how many DeLoreans are used as daily drivers in California,” says Espey, who has been with DMC for 20 years.
The company has about 3.5 million parts in stock and Espey says an inventory survey shows 96.7-percent parts availability. That means DMC already has 96.7 percent of what’s needed to build complete cars. The missing parts don’t much affect DMC’s restoration business but would need to be procured to build whole cars.
Cars produced under the new regulations must use an engine already certified for the EPA and CARB. The engine that DMC had lined up in 2015 is due to go out of production within a couple of years. A different one will be sourced, though Espey did not identify it. The manufacturer of the previously-planned engine is still in the picture, however.
“They’re working on some other things that will fill in some gaps for us,” he says.
Along with a modern powertrain, the new DeLorean could offer modern tech like ABS and traction control. Though the original DeLorean did not have power steering and cruise control, the new one will. Other luxuries could extend to heated and cooled seats, Bluetooth, navigation, and smartphone integration. Espey expects that customers for the upcoming DeLoreans will use the cars as daily drivers, not just weekend toys, and will want modern amenities.
“You’ll have a lot more performance, plus reliability, and it will pass emissions everywhere,” he says.
The original DeLorean’s Peugeot-Renault-Volvo 2.9-liter V-6 made a meager 130 horsepower. With a projected 350 horsepower, the newly built DeLorean would need major wheel and brake upgrades over the original car. The good news? Those parts are readily available from suppliers.
Espey anticipates strong demand for these newly built, more powerful DeLoreans. The original company built around 9000 cars, and almost all came to the U.S. He believes there are still 6000–6500 on the road.
The enormous popularity of the “Back to the Future” movie franchise turned what would otherwise have been another cult car into a pop-culture icon instead.
“The DeLorean appeals to ages eight to 80, thanks to those movies,” Espey says. “Someplace in the world right now, one of those movies is on. Somebody’s seeing it for the first time. They’ll go to the internet and look up DeLorean and see it’s a real car they can buy, not a movie prop.”
Espey hinted that DeLorean is also open to working with other manufacturers to license the brand for different kinds of vehicles and that an electric powertrain is something DMC would consider.
“If the right technology partner knocked on our door, we’d be interested in speaking,” he says.
Anyone with plans for a flux capacitor should get in touch.
Article courtest of Hagerty