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  • Writer's pictureNick Cavanaugh @Car_Sick_Nick

The Best of The Best: Meet The Great 8

There Can Only Be One Winner, But First Comes The Great 8 Finalists in Competition for the Ridler

After what felt like an eternity, the ‘69th Annual Meguiar’s Autorama is back and in full swing again, and all that’s on our minds is – which one of these radical, custom rolling pieces of art will take home the coveted Ridler award? Although we’ll have to wait until Sunday night to answer that question, what we do know is who the finalists are. Meet The Great 8.

1931 Chevrolet Independence “Sho Bird”

Call it anything but subtle, this first time competing, twin-turbo’d ’31 Chevy came in swinging. Without question one of, if not the most unique, jaw dropping rides at Autorama this year. Clearly an astonishing build, every inch, in and out is stunning.

  • 509ci Chevrolet V8

  • Twin 72-mm Nelson Racing Turbochargers

  • Custom 5-inch chop

  • 18-inch/20-inch Front and Rear Wheels and Tires

1933 Ford Roadster

This roadster is based on an America Speed built body with a frame by Roadster Shop. Although not a true Ford, she is definitely Rilder worthy. Cloaked in flawless, unforgiving black paint, this roadster underwent extensive and rigorous customization to get the astonishing look and stance you see here. Just to shoehorn that monstrous big block powerplant in required the hood stretched and the firewall set back 3 inches.

  • 780hp 520ci V8

  • Tremec T56 6-Speed Trans

  • Winners Quick Change 4.11:1 Rear End

1936 Pontiac Two-door Sedan “Prohibition”

From the deep green paint with contrasting bronze accents, to the sprawling hardwood floor interior, over 6000 hours of blood, sweat, and tears went into this appropriately named Ridler finalist out of Tennessee. “Prohibition” is a spectacular example of how to impeccably bring together 1930’s bootlegger throwback aesthetics with modern fit and finishes.

  • 1100hp Borowski LS V8

  • 76-mm Bullseye Turbocharger

  • Hooker Wraparound Headers

  • BRE custom Hughes Performance GM 4L80e Trans

1950 Oldsmobile 88

The maroon burgundy color on this Olds is so deep you feel like you could just dive right in. If you look hard enough, you’ll find bits of Corvette DNA sprinkled in here and there specifically with the side body cove and ’58 Corvette taillights. Unlike the competition, this ride was not built by a pro shop, but, in the backyard body shop of it owner over the course of 15 years.

  • NA 350ci Chevrolet V8

  • GM700 Aeries Automatic Trans

  • Mustang II Front End

1951 Studebaker Pickup

With a 20 year undertaking, this pickup left nothing untouched. The top chopped, fenders widened, bed shortened, the body channeled, a fully customized interior, with a grille donated from a ’49 Ford to top it off.

  • 6.2L LS V8

  • Tremec 6-Speed Trans

1970 Plymouth Barracuda “Hyper Cuda”

They say ‘sometimes less is more’, and “Hyper Cuda” is a picture-perfect example of exactly that with its subtle, tight and super clean modifications. She looks almost too good to be true. She’s another great example of how the green, almost black, exterior and matte bronze wheels can complement each other very well. Inside you’ll find a custom chocolate brown leather interior that looks good enough to take a bite of.

  • 1300hp Gen I 6.1 Hemi

  • Bored/Stroked to 400ci

  • 2.9L Whipple Supercharger

  • Custom one-off 18-inch/20-inch Front and Rear Wheels and Tires Budnik Wheels

1970 Dodge Challenger “Kryptonite”

I’ll take Superman-like strength to overlook this eye-catching Ridler nominee with its Sub Lime-esque suggestive paint scheme. Unlike the other nominees, this Challenger takes more of a drag racing perspective inside and out; packing a supercharged Hemi, a large, diving board sized front splitter, molded-in duckbill rear spoiler, slotted and drilled brakes, complete with beefy roll cage.

  • 426ci Gen III Hemi

  • Whipple Supercharger

  • Baer Brakes

  • 6-Speed T-56 Trans

2021 Devin Z

A modern interpretation of the Corvette-based Devin built sports cars, this contender’s body started off as a 1957 Devin S that was stretched, massaged, and literally carved from body foam filler until perfection was achieved, then was used to create this one-of-kind body shell made completely of carbon-fiber weighing only 161 pounds.

  • 697-hp Bill Thompson LS7 V8 engine

  • Sidedraft Harrop Intake

  • Getrag 6-Speed Corvette transaxle

  • 14” six-piston Willwood Brakes

  • Billet Specialties custom B-Forge simulated knockoffs wheels


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