2011 Don Ridler Memorial Award Winner Announced!
At the 59th Detroit Autorama this year's winner of the Ridler goes to Bruce Ricks for his '56 Ford Sunliner.

The highpoint of any Detroit Autorama is the awarding of the Ridler award from the Pirelli Great 8. As is the case the competition is close enough you are never quite sure who will win until the judges "open the envelope." It is befitting that on the day the Oscars are handed out that the 2011 Ridler winner would be announced. Bruce Ricks of Sapulpa, Oklahoma took home the honors for the incredible effort put forth on behalf of his '56 Ford Sunliner (convertible). The car features numerous modifications, to be expected at this level of competition. For instance the body is wedged (becoming narrower as you move forward) and channeled, hood and front fenders drooped with the fenders re-peaked, A-pillars leaned, custom bumpers and grille, side reveals softened, "spine" added to the trunk, full-belly pan, custom side trim, and the soft top was chopped. Speaking of the top it was stitched by Gabe's Street Rods Custom Upholstery and they also got the nod for the interior. Applied over the sheetmetal is a DuPont Hot Hues custom mix in charcoal.

The car was built at the shop of Steve Cook Creations utilizing RideTech RidePro e3air suspension on a stretched wheelbase coupled with a Tiger quick-change, a Tremec TKO-500 five-speed gearbox, and a full complement of Baer brakes featuring six-piston calipers with 14-inch rotors in front and 16-inch rotors in back. Schott Performance supplied the wheels measuring 18x7 and 20x10's with Pirelli 225/40ZR18 and 295/40ZR20's rubber.

The key to any hot rod, and Ridler winner, is the powerplant. Bruce's Suncammer is no different with the use of an original Ford Single Overhead Cam 427-inch V-8. The motor sports a unique one-of-a-kind cast aluminum intake manifold with a pair of Autolite inline four-barrels. Firing the fuel is a Ford Flathead distributor mounted on the driver-side cam. How's that for a step back into vintage rodding.

Congratulations to Bruce and the crew at Steve Cook Creations and all the others who supplied the teamwork to make this Suncammer the 2011 Detroit Autorama Don Ridler Memorial Award winner.

Pirelli Great 8
The 59th Annual Detroit Autorama has plenty of variety within this year's Ridler contenders

The Ridler contenders is always an exciting competition and this year is no different but the first thing we did notice was the variety of cars (and truck) in competition. Unlike recent past where there were a number of pre'49 cars in competition this year there is only one. Is there a change on the horizon? Only time will tell.

The Pirelli Great 8 that will make up the contenders for the Don Ridler Memorial Award, one of the most prestigious in the hobby, and comes Sunday night we will know who takes home the prize.

The contenders are Jim Marciniak of Andover, Minnesota with his '63 Buick, Mike Lethert from Roseville, Minnesota with his '39 Ford convertible, Tim Gunsalus from West Alexandria, Ohio with his open-cab '47 Chevy pickup, Bruce and Toni Milyard of Grand Junction, Colorado with their '62 Corvette, Bruce Ricks from Sapulta, Oklahoma with his '56 Ford convertible, Kenny Frederick from Greismer, Louisiana with his '57 Chevrolet, Kenneth Tallent of McKinney, Texas with his '40 Ford coupe, and Derrick Samson from Marshall, Missouri with his '51 Chevrolet.

We wish the Pirelli Great 8 the best of luck with the Ridler competition.

As is always the case the Detroit Autorama, this year is the 59th edition, always has some highly unusual and spectacular new hot rods. This year is no different and to prove our point here is our first sampling from this year's show.

Steve Grimes of Westerville, Ohio brought out his latest and possibly his wildest creation in this '27 Ford roadster that is in competition in the Altered T-Roadster class. He built the body performing all the modifications and also the fabricated the unique chassis. Where do we start, well how about the rear since that's where we find the '48 Buick straight-eight engine that is mated to a TH350 automatic. In back with the straight-eight is the rear-wheel steering via a VW rack and pinion. In front you will find a Winters quickie that is used to give this roadster four-wheel drive.

Propping up this unique roadster are four 1927 Chevrolet wheels painted in an Apple green and mounted with the vintage correct rubber.

Steve tells us that the top is more of a tonneau cover as he must take it off in order to drive the car, which he does. What an incredible ride and addition to this year's Detroit Autorama. (Editor's note: Steve built the car in honor of the memory of his very good friend Dave Gale. Well done!)

The First of the Pirelli Great 8
Bruce Ricks and his Suncammer one of the Pirelli Great 8

Bruce Ricks of Sapulpa, Oklahoma brought out his incredible 1956 Ford convertible. Named the Suncammer for its blending of the venerable Sunliner line of the early Fords and the infusion of the 427 (SOHC) cammer motor. The car is competing in the Radical Custom Convertible class.

Clearly the focal point of this hot rod is the engine, even though the body has numerous major and minor modifications, but having an original SOHC motor will get any hot rodders blood to a boiling point. The one-of-a-kind cast aluminum intake manifold supports a pair of Autolite inline four-barrels. Note the Ford Flathead (yep the first Ford V-8) distributor mounted on the driver-side.

Getting the power to the Tiger quick-change is a Tremec TKO-500 five-speed gearbox. Braking is housed around Baer six-piston calipers with 14-inch rotors in front and 16-inch rotors up back.

The RideTech suspension works with the Pirelli rubber and Schott wheels at the corners. The rubber measures 225/40ZR18 in front and 295/40ZR20 in back wrapped around 18x7's in front and 20x10's in back.

The charcoal tinted paint comes by way of DuPont Hues custom mix.