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Michigan’s Biggest Hot Rod Show
Great 8 Ridler Award Contenders
Feb. 25-27, 2011
Detroit, Michigan
Pictures By Jack Lawford & Al Liebmann


Hotrodhotline is on the scene at the Detroit Autorama and having a great time. The tension mounts as the "Great 8" have been selected and the crowning of the Ridler Award is now narrowed down to these 8 cars. The variety of cars in contention this year is huge.... from Corvette to Riviera to 50 Chevy... all great cars and very excited entrants.....Take a look at the winner & the other beautiful contenders.

Jack, Maryann & Al Liebmann

About Don Ridler

Don Ridler was a man with a very competitive spirit excelling in athletics in high school and later at Michigan State University. His achievements landed him in the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. After college, Don coached Lawrence Tech’s basketball team and served as Athletic Director in the 40’s. After games, Don would contract entertainment such as Tommy Dorsey and Glen Miller for dances. During this period, Don also produced the Michigan State Fair Grandstand shows and handled public relations for horse tracks in the Detroit area.

In the 1950’s, the producers of Autorama decided they needed promotional help to take the event to the next level and turned to Don Ridler. With the help of Don’s creativity and professionalism, car enthusiasts flocked to the Coliseum at the Michigan State Fairgrounds to see some of the wildest hot rods that cruised the streets of the Motor City and were entertained by acts such as Little Anthony and the Imperials and the Big Bopper.

Don Ridler passed away in 1963 at the age of 54. It was immediately decided to create an award to honor his memory. Don’s forté had always been his creativity. Therefore, it was decided the award would honor individuals who are equally creative in building cars. The award, geared to honor new creations, is only eligible to cars shown for the first time.

Click on Photos to Enlarge

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The Ridler Award

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Past Winners


Announcing the winner

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The winner also gets a $10, 000 Check

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And the winner is....Bruce Ricks from Sapulta, OK with with his outstanding 56 Ford Convertible

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Jack and Bruce holding the Ridler Award...From the minute we first laid eyes on this car we knew it was a serious contender for the Ridler. A big CONGRATULATIONS to Bruce and the crew that put this masterpiece together




The Judges...It was a hard decision

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The great 8 finalists from last year

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Here are the other contenders...Kenneth Tallent from McKinney, TX with a 1940 Ford “Copper Head”

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Derrick Samson from Marshall, MO with a 1951 Chevrolet Business Coupe

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Bruce & Toni Milyard from Grand Junction, CO with 1962 Corvette “Elegance”

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Jack with Bruce



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Tim Gunsalus from West Alexandria, OH with a 1947 Chevrolet PU

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Mike Lethert from Roseville, MN with a 1939 Ford Convertible


Without Top

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Kenny Frederick from Geismer, LA with a 1957 Chevrolet “Assassin”








Jim Marciniak from Andover, MN with a 1963 Buick Rivera

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