It happens every year as dozens upon dozens of contenders vie for the Detroit Autorama's most prestigious award-the Don Ridler Memorial Award.
Dozens try but only one can take home the coveted award. This year's 2013 Autorama event was even more special as it was the 50th anniversary of the Ridler award-truly an even more coveted year to win. Of course to even be considered for the Ridler you must first make the Pirelli Great 8; that in and of itself is an accomplishment of herculean proportions and something every car owner and builder should be very proud to achieve.
But only one owner is going home with the Ridler. This year Ron Cizek with his '40 Ford (Checkered Past; onetime race car) coupe built by Andy Leach and his staff at Cal Automotive Creations in Omaha, Nebraska took home the honors. As with any Ridler winner, to mention all of the work and modifications that were made would take an entire book. We will tell you that you can look for the "rest of the story" in a future issue of Street Rodder as it will be featured at length in an upcoming issue. But for now let us hit some highlights.
Charley Hutton's Color Studio. The color is named Checkered Past Red, which is the result of Charley noticing a Christmas tree bulb that his wife was placing on a tree at Christmas time.
Made from scratch but shortened 4 inches from stock and re-contoured to flow into the now 5-inch shorter grille.
GRILLE & HEADLIGHTS
The grille was made using 180-plus parts thereby creating a modern version of the iconic '40 grille. Billet headlight rings were made while the taillights were made to include the cars name 'Checkered Past'.
New doors were fabricated and blend into the massaged rear quarter panels.
Both the front and rear fenders were re-contoured while the wheel openings were swept back.
Hand formed running boards were made to compliment the work to the fenders.
English leathers were used to cover both the front and rear seating. Distressed leather inserts are surrounded in a smooth saddle leather for a two-tone design. Mercedes cognac wool carpeting and suede Aztec headliner finish off the interior. The dash panel houses the custom, one of a kind, Classic Instruments.
A Ford 9-inch centersection fitted with 3.70 gears and from here lower control arms and billet halfshafts were fabricated to finish off the IRS. Coilover shocks were also used.
Fabricated A-arms match the rears in design. Disc brakes and coilovers can also be found in front.
The Ford Flathead features Ross pistons, Eagle H-beam rods, an Isky 400 Jr. cam while heavily massaged Offy heads were used. A GMC 4-71 blower and electronic fuel injection top it off.
A Bowler 6-speed T56 tranny was used.
The-one-of-a-kind wheels are the result of looking at vintage photos of the likes of Halibrand, Radir and American Racing wheels and then designed with knock-off centers.