America’s love affair with the automobile is legendary. In fact, for nearly 60 years, custom car shows have paid tribute to the innovative workmanship that continuously reinvents and improves the vehicles of yesterday and today. Championship Auto Shows Inc. (CASI), the undisputed leader in indoor custom car show production, puts on the largest show series in the business — better known under the monikers of Autorama or World of Wheels.
Close to 20 events are held annually across the United States and Canada. Championship Auto Shows, Lowrider Magazine, and local lowrider car clubs have joined forces to support and showcase vehicles for some of their exclusive shows in Houston, Texas, Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Kansas City Convention Center in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, which we covered specifically for you to enjoy!
Hot rods are always at the heart of each show, but in recent years the composition has expanded to include manufacturer displays, automobile auctions, indoor swap meets, and expanded categories for lowrider awards. As a result, today’s shows appeal equally to those who own competition cars, specialty and concept vehicles, and those who dream about owning them. The Lowrider Rig and a few special show cars were on display as well as famous Lowrider Model, Bunny Barreras. This fantastic Friday, Saturday, and Sunday shows venue was about three football fields in length and its space was filled to the max by show vehicles and enthusiasts.
If you are a custom car enthusiast, then you have to be very familiar with the award known as the Ridler Award. This top-of-the-line and greatest car competition award is presented to the best vehicle in all the land at the Detroit Autorama each year. The history behind the award is dedicated to Don Ridler who was the first professional promoter hired by the Michigan Hot Rod Association to assist them with the fledgling Autorama car shows in the ’50s. With Don’s creativity and professional approach to promoting, Autorama was able to grow tremendously.
In 1963, Autorama decided to honor Don Ridler, who had prematurely passed away, with an award given in his name. The award has evolved to better conform to new ideas, changing designs, and concepts. What also has evolved is the caliber of lowriders too, especially the ones displayed and representing Kansas City. There were some state-of-the-art paintjobs, as well as chop tops, and suicide door modifications on display as well. As usual, the lowriders drew a huge crowd as many fans were attracted to the styling and detail that is a common commomdity in lowrider builds today.
Autorama and especially Lowrider Magazine would like to thank all the local car clubs who came out in zero-degree weather to represent not only Missouri, but also the lowrider nation. When the show came to a close on Sunday evening and the big roll-up doors opened, I saw about 50 show car traditionals, bombs, trucks, and classic convertibles cruise out into the snow? When we sometimes talk about being committed to lowriding as a way of life, most of us who feel this way also wear jackets in 60-degree weather! After witnessing what I saw leave on 5.20s into that environment, it gave me a new meaning to what being a die-hard lowrider really is. Kansas City lowriders are another breed.