If Reno, Nevada, is known to hot rodders for one thing, it’s the Hot August Nights event that ends during the first week of August. For the second year now, automotive auction company Barrett-Jackson has taken their show to Hot August Nights, not only for the hundreds of incredible cars that will roll across the auction block, but also for one very special award: The Barrett-Jackson Cup.
The cup award is presented on stage after the automotive auction ends, but the winner isn’t up on stage alone. The top four finalists joined the winner to receive their trophies and cash awards for having one of the best five cars at Hot August Nights, as selected by a panel of three judges.
The Barrett-Jackson Cup sat in the middle of the intersection for everyone to see, with last year’s winner, George Poteet, proudly displayed – and awaiting the next name on the plaque. The blank plaques left plenty of room for decades of future winners to be displayed amongst the best of the best from Hot August Nights.
During the three-day auction held at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, the three judges headed out to downtown Reno to pick their choice for the top 25 from the “Show-n-Shine” car show held on North Virginia Street. Those three judges are very well-known in the automotive industry: Bobby Alloway, Pete Chapouris, and Bob Millard.
Alloway, a renowned car builder and fabricator, has been on the receiving end of many awards from his builds. Chapouris, President of SO-CAL Speed Shop, has been building and cruising hot rods since the mid 1950s. Millard, General Manager of the International Show Car Association (ISCA), has dedicated himself to judging vehicles sanctioned in ISCA events, including shows like the Detroit Autorama.
North Virginia Street is closed down to traffic for the entire Hot August Nights event, with the exception of those cars that are on display and heading out to cruise, or coming back in after cruising. Cruising goes on all week long, and downtown Reno isn’t the only spot you’ll find these incredible machines.
However, downtown Reno on North Virginia Street is the host site for the Barrett-Jackson Show-n-Shine competition where the three judges selected the top 25 cars from all of the participants.
Judging is no simple task, and is only open to registered participants of Hot August Nights Show-n-Shine events. The streets filled up fast, and included everything from a work in progress to this year’s Ridler Award winner, the Street Machine of the Year at Goodguys PPG Nats, Street Rod of the Year, Great 8 vehicles, and other top honors.
The Top 25
It’s one thing to be a part of the top five finalists, but to be a part of the top 25 means that your vehicle is amongst some of the most elite hot rods, street rods, and musclecars in the country. Participants come from all over the US, and have been traveling all over the US for the past year or more.
The three judges headed out into the hot temperatures and walked up and down every aisle of participants and made their decisions based on several factors, show and build quality, uniqueness, and for creativity. The 25 vehicles chosen included trucks and cars of all shapes and sizes.
After the top 25 vehicles were selected on August 1st, they were rolled into the ballroom in downtown Reno where everyone could get an up-close and personal look at what makes these cars the best of the best. The crowd inside the ballroom made taking photographs rather difficult, there were so many people marveling at the sheer awesomeness of the vehicles before them. But they were great sports and stepped back for us, allowing us to get these photos to share.
We were the last ones to tell others to step away from getting the closest look they’d get at many of these cars, so we remained patient and snapped all of our pictures as best as we could. The cars and trucks were perfect examples of the craftsmanship that only the best of the best are capable of.
We spoke to Lois, the one lone non-American made car owner that was selected. She still had soft tears in her eyes as she described what an honor it was to have her Jaguar XKE in the ballroom with 24 American Made musclecars and trucks, hot rods and street rods, and even a huge classic motorhome.
The 25 cars stayed in the carpeted ballroom, out of the heat that gives Hot August Nights its name. After about a day of showing these top 25 cars, only five of them were brought back to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center where each vehicle was covered up and parked under a tent in the back lot, hidden away from everyone inside the auction area.
The Five Finalists
The cars weren’t revealed to anyone until after the last and final car was sold at auction. After a short commercial break from the live telecast, the celebration of the Barrett-Jackson Cup began to a huge crowd that stayed past 8:00 PM on Saturday evening.
The stage background was changed slightly to display event-specific show boards and to get everyone into place – including camera people, announcers, and television hosts. Photographers were all over the place, each of us vying for position to get the best shot possible. The event was telecast live, so you could imagine how insane it was on and around the stage.
We had a great few days leading up to this final event for Barrett-Jackson, and made some great friends along the way. It was time for business, and the five finalists were staged and ready to be presented to a packed house.
Would we see another Street Machine of the Year winner take the top spot, like last year’s Cup winner George Poteet’s beautiful 1969 Ford Torino? Or would we see Lois’ Jaguar set everything on edge? With this year’s Ridler Award winner and the Street Machine of the Year award winner in the top 25, it was anyone’s guess. Then the announcement came and the Fourth Runner Up was revealed on the big screen as it was driven in the back door and up onto the stage.
4th Runner Up
Driving up the ramp onto the stage was a very familiar car to us: it was Steve Tornari with his wild 1967 Chevrolet Nova. The car is powered by a twin turbocharged NASCAR SB2 Chevrolet small block, and the paint theme is shared throughout the entire vehicle. The paint was applied by none other than Charlie Hutton.
Tornari’s Miranda Built Nova sports a RideTech pro-touring suspension that is controlled by an iPad in the center of the dash. Unique Dakota Digital gauges display the readings and the special Budnik Gasser D wheels were also painted to match the body and engine.
Owner: Steve Tornari
Builder: Jeremy Miranda, Miranda Built
Car Description: 1967 Chevrolet Nova
4th Runner Up Prize Package: $5,000 cash, Adam’s Polish Products ($1,000 Value), and a Hot August Nights Barrett-Jackson Cup Jacket ($250 Value).
3rd Runner Up
Driving up the ramp in the 3rd Runner up spot was another familiar car that has been making the rounds. It was J.F. Launier’s beautiful custom-built 1964 Buick Riviera. This ride has the distinct honor of being the 2014 Ridler Award Winner from the Detroit Autorama.
Rivision is a hand-built car that began its life as a parts car – rusted and barely worth more than about $300. Launier built the car himself, grafting in the rear window and rear deck area from a later model Riviera. The custom-built chassis gives the car a wider stance and rides on Curtis Speed billet wheels.
If the 6.2 liter LS with twin rear-mounted turbochargers don’t impress you, then the interior of the car definitely will. There’s a huge intake tube running through the interior to feed the forced air into the Chevrolet mill. The two front seats for occupants have been moved rearward giving this car a true sports car feel.
Owner and Builder: J.F.Launier
Car Description: 1964 Buick Riviera
3rd Runner Up Prize Package: $7,000 cash, Adam’s Polish Products ($1,000 Value), and a Hot August Nights Barrett-Jackson Cup Jacket ($250 Value)
2nd Runner Up
While a 1935 Chevrolet Phaeton may seem more like a car for a concours show, this 2nd Runner Up was much more than the eyes could see. Designed by Chip Foose and built by Troy Trepanier of Rad Rides by Troy, “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster” from the 2014 Grand National Roadster Show was just as stunning as you could imagine.
On the outside, we saw a classic car from the mid-1930s, but under that brilliant paint and side-lift hood was a GM Performance 383 Ram Jet engine. Delivering the fuel was done by a modified EFI system that was fabricated to look like an old Rochester unit from 1957.
The CNC wheels were machined by Curtis Speed, and the car rides on a modified Roadster Shop chassis with Heidts’ independent suspension at all four corners.
Owner: Wes Rydell
Builder: Rad Rides by Troy
Car Description: 1935 Chevrolet Phaeton
2nd Runner Up Prize Package: $10,000 cash, Bed Wood and Parts bed liner ($3,000 Value), Adam’s Polish Products ($1,000 Value), and and a Hot August Nights Barrett-Jackson Cup Jacket ($250 Value).
1st Runner Up
Don Smith brought the 1st Runner up onto the stage and, like the Phaeton, it was a slightly different rod than we’re used to seeing. Instead of wide steamrollers at the rear with deep-dish wheels like many street rods we’ve seen, this 1932 Ford 4-door bore an early 1950s race car theme.
Under the hood, however, lies a bored and stroked Thunderbird Y-block with a vintage Hilborn intake that has been converted to EFI. Backing up that powerplant is a 5-speed manual transmission spinning gears in a quick-change rearend.
This 2014 Goodguys Street Rod of the Year winner was also selected as a 2014 Great 8 car at the Detroit Autorama, and is a cover car for this month’s Street Rodder magazine. The body and frame were handmade, and taking a closer look at the suicide doors you’ll notice the lack of a b-pillar.
Owner: Don Smith
Builder: Jeff Kinsey – Hot Rods by JSK
Car Description: 1932 Ford 4 Door
1st Runner Up Prize Package: $18,000 cash, Miller Motorsports Package ($5,000 Value), Craftsman Tools ($3,000 Value), Adam’s Polish Products ($1,000 Value), and a Hot August Nights Barrett-Jackson Cup Jacket ($250 Value)
Ultimate Best in Show Winner
The Ultimate Best in Show and Barrett-Jackson Cup Award winner was this gorgeous 1957 Chevrolet pickup built by Hot Rod Garage’s Jason Smith. Not only was Alan Beers’ silver truck a Great 8 Truck at the 2013 Detroit Autorama, but it took home the 2014 Goodguys Truck of the Year award, too.
Under the 3-inch chopped top is an interior by CAR upholstery, Inc., with Classic Instruments gauges feeding the vitals to the driver. Under the hood sits a 540 cube big block with a Crower “Stack” fuel injection system to get the one off billet wheels turning. Bringing this hunk of beauty to a stop is a set of Baer Brakes.
Owner: Alan Beers
Builder: Hot Rod Garage – Jason Smith
Car Description: 1957 Chevrolet Pickup
Ultimate Best in Show Winner Package: $30,000 cash, individualized Barrett-Jackson Cup Trophy for owner and builder, General Motors Crate Engine and Transmission ($15,000 Value), Waterloo Tool Chest and Craftsman Tools ($6,000 Value), Reliable Transportation Credit for 1 year ($5000 Value), Adam’s Polish Products ($1,000 Value), and a Hot August Nights Barrett-Jackson Cup Jacket ($250 Value)
As you can imagine, the crowd and the celebration were off the charts, and the winner of this year’s Barrett-Jackson Cup was escorted into the building by four of Reno’s finest on police motorcycles, with full reds and blues – only this time it was a good thing, a VERY good thing.
After the winning vehicle was shown, the stage filled with people almost immediately, and everyone involved in the event was on stage to share in the excitement.
We congratulate all five finalists, as well as the other top 25 vehicles – we wouldn’t have been able to choose for ourselves, and knew by the scene at the ballroom that the three judges had their hands full.
Below, you’ll find our gallery from the event. Be sure to check out Barrett-Jackson’s website for information on upcoming events and auctions.