Before you can be crowned with the Don Ridler Memorial Award you have to weave your way through the gauntlet (the select judging panel) and be recognized with a Pirelli Great 8.
As the name would imply there are only eight hot rods that are selected from a field of over 30 entries. Again, as the name implies there can only be eight cars to make it to the "finalist" status and go through the extensive judging to see which one will take home the Ridler award. The Ridler is recognized as the "most coveted" award throughout the entire indoor car show season—and to be crowned you need to be recognized as a Pirelli Great 8. Follow along as we present the eight cars in finalist competition.
John and Phyllis Sadler of North Little Rock, Arkansas are on hand with their Pirelli Great 8 '57 Chevy Bel Air. Painted in brilliant red from the color library of PPG; the Vermillion Red is sprayed over a 1-1/2-inch top chop and an extensive list of other modifications. Power for the '57 comes by way of a LS6 with a 4L60E that ushers the power back to the Heidth's IRS while up front Heidth's 2-inch dropped spindles locate the Wilwood disc brakes—also found in back. At the corners you will find Stalgia Malibu 5 wheels.
Up next is the '69 Chevy Camaro belonging to Brian and Gianna Ganos of Muskego, Wisconsin. It is a Rally Sport / Super Sport car making it highly desirable before all of the fantastic mods. The car design came from the pen of Larry Williams while the build came through the shop of Jim Hubbeli. Charlie Hutton handled the body- and paintwork. The PPG paint color is reminiscent of Gran Sport Corvette. The exotic brake package comes from Baer that includes calipers, drilled and slotted rotors. The engine LS6 is a World Gen coupled to a Bowler Tremec T56 6-speed. A great deal of the custom machine work was handled by Greening Auto Company. M&M Hot Rod Interiors handled the fancy stitch work while the custom dash is outfitted with Classic Instruments with one-off faces.
Next in the "short line" of Great 8 finalists for the Ridler is Dan Duffy of Marietta, Georgia with his '56 Chevy 210 post car. The body- and paintwork comes from Thunder Valley Customs while the design and metal fabrication was aptly handled by Tom Manner. Another M&M Hot Rod Interiors effort can be seen in this '56 Chevy.
Another Pirelli Great 8 is the '67 Chevy Nova done in a Pro Touring style. Car belongs to Steve Tornari of Parkland, Florida. The Chevy Nova is sprayed in a subtle monochromatic paint scheme.
Another Pirelli Great 8 is the '32 Ford Fordor sedan belonging to Don and Carolynn Smith of Mansfield, Texas. The brilliant orange sedan was built at the shop of Hot Rods by JSK. The V-8 power comes from a 312 Ford with a marine Hilborn injection system—very rare.
The '64 Buick Riviera belonging to JF Launier and built by JF Kustoms is another Pirelli Great 8 finalist. The Riv shows off a two-seater sports concept custom with a great deal of Corvette influence. Look closely at the hood, sides, and rear deck area and you will see the sports car Corvette influence. The rear deck-light comes from a '71 Buick Riviera along with numerous other handformed sheetmetal panels from front to rear bumpers. The 6.2L LS pumps out 850 hp through the Tremec six-speed.
The 4-inch chopped '33 Ford 5-window is also channeled 3 inches over the frame and is another Great 8 finalist and it belongs to Rocky Boler of Southhampton New York. The chocolate brown coupe features a list of body mods that's too extensive to talk about now but we are sure this car will be seen elsewhere.
The last of the Pirelli Great 8 is the '33 Ford sedan delivery belonging to Albert Seese of Lees Summit, Missouri. We should point out that the sedan delivery body started life as a passenger car sedan body. To the myriad of custom bodywork and paint was handled by Keimig's Rod Shop using House of Kolor paint and a Dan Fink grille. The drivetrain is '05 Corvette based on a LS2 engine with a Corvette transaxle. Seese designed and built the custom chassis and it is suspended by four Budnik wheels with custom centers.
That wraps up the Pirelli Great 8 finalists for the Ridler award. Now time will tell which one of these outstanding cars goes home with the big prize.