STREET RODDER Top 100 celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2011 and the program, sponsored by Painless Performance Products, seems to grow larger every year. When it first started in 1995, it was called STREET RODDER’s Top 10, and we highlighted 70 cars—10 each from 7 Goodguys shows around the country. No overall winner was picked in that first year. There was an overall winner picked in 1996, but it wasn’t called Street Rod of the Year (that title didn’t come into existence until 1998).

In more recent years, the magazine began picking 100 cars (10 each from 10 different events around the country), highlighting each of them in the magazine, plus running information and pictures of them on www.streetrodder.com. For 2011, all 100 winners received an embroidered jacket, and one of those 100 is picked by the staff of the magazine as STREET RODDER’s Street Rod of the Year. That winner gets a special one-off embroidered jacket plus a one-of-a-kind trophy.

STREET RODDER editors (Brian Brennan, Eric Geisert, and Tim Bernsau) and contributors (Chris Shelton and Chuck Vranas) picked the 100 contestants for this year’s award and, as always, they are chosen not by where they park at an event or who built it, but rather how they look to the observer. It has to have a major “wow” factor and, in all likelihood, each one is a car the staffers would really like to have in their own garage and take out on the weekend. Some are low-buck while others run well into the six-digit category, but that’s where the hobby is nowadays.

This year the range of cars picked ran from those whose interiors had not yet been installed (but we know they will be), to all-out showstoppers (one was even the 2011 Ridler award winner). After all the cars were picked, staffers Brennan, Geisert, and Bernsau sorted through photos of all of the contenders to determine a winner. We liked the fact some cars pushed the envelope while others were traditional and true to the hobby. From the 100, the magazine narrowed it down to a list of 10 cars from which the winner would be named. The final nine contenders are presented here (in no particular order) while following this story is the article featuring the 2011 STREET RODDER Street Rod of the Year, presented by Painless Performance Products.

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