One of the most fascinating facets of the 62nd Detroit Autorama is that once you were finished exploring the brightly lit confines of the main floor, there was still a notable surprise waiting to be found. Taking an escalator ride down to the basement, you were brought face to face with the past where Autorama Extreme 1953 resides. A true show within a show, it transported visitors back to a simpler time where hot rods and customs were displayed in an organic environment devoid of any bright lights and glamour. Instead subdued lighting and weathered concrete floors set the tone, making you feel like you had just entered a local armory show in the early '50s. With 100,000 square feet of floor space, it featured over 200 traditional hot rods and customs laid out in classic row-style with barely any obstructions.

With this unique vibe, you could feel the excitement as you walked the floor. You could talk with car owners and builders as you passed numerous chopped coupes, mixing it up with post-war styled roadsters, classic customs, tail-draggers, and motorcycles. While nitro-fueled music filled the air, plenty of club displays caught your eye, as well as countless vendors offering everything from vintage memorabilia to swap meet speed parts for your latest build. Once again this year there was a wicked grouping of artists showcasing their latest offerings, including Keith Weesner, Unkl Ian, Larry Gardinier, Ed Tillrock, Jones Design, and Stinson, to name but a few. There was also an old-time pin-up contest, a chance to see what new offerings a number of builders were featuring, and even get a haircut in a vintage barber's chair. But if that wasn't enough Gene Winfield had his Chop Shop set up where he lowered the lid on a Starliner in three short days. To cap off the experience, Saturday evening's awards presentation featured custom handcrafted awards being presented by some of the hot rod world's most respected members. Steeped in culture and tradition, the basement show is truly a must-see experience.