Celebrating 65 Years Of Detroit Style At The 2017 Detroit Autorama

For sixty-five years the Meguiar’s Detroit Autorama has been proudly hosted by the thriving Detroit car community. A sixty-five year anniversary of any sort is worth celebrating, and Autorama rang in this milestone event with one of their best shows in recent memory.

Detroit Autorama 2017

The 65th Annual Detroit Autorama was one to remember!

Knowing that Autorama is one of the best shows in the country, the Rod Authority staff walked the Cobo center with our heads on a swivel, looking for the coolest vehicles to share. Detroit isn’t called the Motor City without reason. Detroit residents, joined by those from neighboring states, as well as Canadians from across the border, helped the show organizers celebrate this momentous year.

Truth be told, it was hard to take two steps toward any one vehicle without being distracted by another. This isn’t an over exaggeration in the slightest, but the reality of attending an event like this when you’re into hot rods and custom cars as much as we here. A blower here, a chopped roof there, and we’re at the steps of automotive heaven.

Celebrities And More

Festivities marking the show’s blue sapphire anniversary included celebrity appearances from WWE superstars, reality TV stars like Luke Duke (Tom Wopat) and Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach). There was even a Dukes of Hazard stunt team performing a jump in a battle worn Charger outside.

Inside, there was a collection of previous Ridler winners in the main hall, showcasing just what it took to win the award over the years gone by.


Diversity makes or breaks a show of this size, and Autorama 2017, had plenty of diversity, both of the two and four wheel variety. There were even a few boats peppered throughout the venue.

Front and center, near the main entrance of the show, was the ‘Mariani Roadster’ a Rad Rides By Troy build that debuted at last year’s SEMA show.


Troy doesn’t do run of the mill, and this chopped, dropped, and over all modified bare metal 1930 Ford Model A sedan played the part of a door man well, letting show goers know that this year’s event was something special.


1966 Chevy C10 “Tiffany”

Also fresh off the SEMA show floor was ‘Tiffany’ Classic Car Studio’s 346ci LS1 Twin Turbo powered ’66 C10.

Underneath all that patina is an air ride equipped Porterbuilt chassis, and between the fenders and bed sides were bead rolls, dimple dies, and evidence of hours upon hours of raw metal shaping that created drool worthy wheel tubs and associated garnishments.


‘Tiffany’ was joined by a second Classic Car Studio flagship build; ‘Gone Mad’, a very custom ’55 Chevrolet Nomad.

Gone Mad

‘Gone Mad’ is, in almost every way, the opposite of Tiffany. Any sign of the car’s previous life has been massaged away and covered in two unique shades of BASF paint.

The bold colors might take a moment to grow on the faint of heart, but we really liked the color choices for being something different than the red/white, teal/white, or black/white combinations these cars are usually painted.

Custom Car Studios can also take some comfort in the fact that this color combination won’t be replicated anytime soon.


Under the hood within a very smooth and detailed engine bay, sits a Shafiroff Racing aluminum 509ci W engine painted to match the grill and wheels.

Fittingly, the interior has been trimmed to match the bronze in Relicate Leather, a product that could be found in many of the builds at Autorama 2017.

1954 Kaiser Manhattan “Voodoo Sahara”

When it comes to kustom cars “VooDoo” Larry Grobe is a legend, and his present to Autorama for it’s 65th birthday was bringing ‘Vodoo Sahara’, his extremely custom ’54 Kaiser Manhattan, to Detroit. Nintey percent of the body on this car is hand made, which is impressive because it was easily one of the longest cars at the show.

According to the signboard of the Cadillac below, ‘Gouster’ describes a style of dress that was a throwback to the gangster look of the ’40s. Proponents of this style dressed in a casual manner, but retained a bit of edge and were to be cautiously avoided.

The above description perfectly describes the ’48 Sedanette below.


The looks of the car are without a doubt classic, but the worked over Cadillac V8 under the hood suggests that the car might move a bit quicker than one might expect from such a heavy car.

The Chapman’s Convertible Caddy

The ‘Gouster’ was certainly not the only Cadillac at the show. Customs & Hot rods Of Andice proudly displayed Harold & Tracy Chapman’s Model 62 Convertible.


Powered by a Magnuson-supercharged 454ci LSX engine, this car has 6,137 miles on the clock and CHRA assures us that is an ‘and counting’ number, as the owners love to cruise this Caddy whenever the opportunity arises.


Car owners with a sense of humor are some of our favorite kinds of people, and anyone willing to call their custom gasser, “Past Gas”, is someone we’d get along with. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to formally introduce ourselves to the owner of the gasser below, but that didn’t stop us from taking a few pictures.

If you’re the type that thinks cars can come in any color as long as it’s black, then you didn’t have to look too far away from ‘Past Gas’ for the perfect pair.

Rick and Deb Start, a Grand Rapids, based couple, brought their ’32 and ’33 Fords and parked them in the same display. Both of these cars are traditionally-styled hot rods built by Gas Axe Garage.

Traditional hot rods could actually be found all over the venue, and the ‘Blue Bayuo’ is an all steel, channeled ’32 Ford, powered by a highly detailed ’54 Hemi painted to match, and was one of the best in the building.

Mopar-Powered 1946 Chevy And A Cool 1970 Charger

Considerably less traditional but also Hemi powered, was this ’46 Chevrolet pick up.


Chevy fans could hardly find time to be upset about the Mopar motor used in this car, because the styling choices were so radical.


No, your eyes are not deceiving you, those are dually-style white walls sticking out from underneath a custom fabricated tilt bed.


Another one of the more radical builds in attendance was the Pro Comp Custom-built 1970 Dodge known as “Solo.” This car is a successor to their previous car, a ’68 Camaro known as “My Kind Of Crazy.” This Charger was heavily modified to sit as menacingly as it does.


The Pro Comp Customs team chopped the roof three inches, then sectioned the car another three inches to bring it even lower to the ground.

Naturally, this car is riding on air with Ridetech ShockWaves at all four corners of the custom tube chassis. Under the hood is a 730 horsepower Dodge R5 NASCAR engine matched to a TKO 600 five speed transmission and Dana 60 rearend.


Opinions of the car were somewhat mixed, which is to be expected, given how far from the norm this Charger is, but we’re huge fans. There are no rules to hot rodding, remember?

With such an expansive show field, we’ve done our very best to try and capture the variety of the 65th Annual Motorama, while giving you a glimpse into what made some of the more noteworthy builds tick. This is one show that any true gear head should have on their bucket list!

About the author

Dave Thomas

Currently living near Toronto, Dave spends much of his free time behind a camera at car events, and likes just about anything with wheels, but usually the lower the better. When not taking photos, writing articles, or going upside down on his bike he can be found in the shop wrenching on his 1951 GMC pickup.
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