The 2001 Detroit Autorama will go down in history as one of the best Autoramas ever. The crowd was great. The entries were outstanding and the displays lit up Cobo Hall with all the color and glitter any hot rod enthusiast could handle. The 49th Autorama was listed as "The World's Greatest Hot Rod Show," and it certainly lived up to the billing.
There were over five hundred vehicles in the show with over four hundred and fifty being listed in competition. Gary Moore and Butch Patrico supervised the judging and definitely had their hands full with the great Ridler contingent that was on hand plus all the other great entries. Jerry Dotson, Will Staab, Al Maynard and Lamont Woolen handled the judging duties on the ISCA side, and 26 MHRA members represented the club.
This year's entries came from as far away as Escondido, CA; Rimbey, Alberta, Canada; Deerfield Beach, FL and Columbia, SC. Not only did they come from everywhere, the variety was amazing.
Skully Webb brought his "Air Rage," absolutely red '57 Chevy from Columbus, OR and won three Outstanding awards in the Custom Category. The Ridler winner, Chris Williams, from Escondido, CA, with his wild' 49 Chevy took home the top honors in the Custom Category.
Ross Varacelli thrilled everyone with his awesome' 83 Ranger pickup. The workmanship, bodywork and detail brought him the Best Street Machine award, plus much consideration for the Ridler Award. Joe Nichols from Galesburg, IL, showed us his beautiful' 41 red and black Willy's and won a couple of Outstanding awards for his labors in the Street Machine category.
The Rod category was full of outrageous street rods such as Paul Trussell's , 32 full-fendered Ford roadster that was built and finished by Don's Hot Rods. Paul won the Best Rod award and was a strong contender for the Ridler award also.
Denis Vernier from St. Norbert, Manitoba, Canada, showed everyone
a very detailed '35 Chevy 3-window coupe that had been changed to an altered
roadster. Denis took the Outstanding Altered Rod Award back to Canada with
him for his efforts.
The Stuban family had three generations of hot rodders on hand. Joe Stuban showed a very slick purple' 33 Ford coupe. His son, Dale, had his '33 wild Ford Roadster and his son, Austin, showed his mini' 33 Ford. What a great display this family had, not to mention the cars.
Rex Beasaw from New Haven, MI, brought us two very nice entries. They included a '56 Nomad and an outstanding' 31 Ford Coupe. There was a million dollar collection of four first-generation Camaros that was put together by Al Maynard and Jim Stubbings that proved to be a crowd favorite.
We chose to list just a few of the different entries to show the contrast in vehicles from one end of Cobo Hall to the other. Bob Larivee, Jr. from Championship Auto Shows and his staff did an outstanding job of putting this year's show together with some excellent displays from GM Performance Parts, GM Restorations, Eagle One's America's Greatest Cover Cars, the Murray Auto Parts display plus many more. Michigan Hot Rod Association and all of their members deserve a giant pat on the back for their efforts in this year's Autorama.
If this is any sign of things to come, I can hardly wait for the 50th Detroit Autorama in 2002.