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Hot Rod Hall of Fame

Hot Rod Magazine

Ridler Award

Ridler Award

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.

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.

Ridler Award Winners

2009 Doug Cooper - Oyster Bay Cove, NY - '32 Ford B-400    
2008 Mike Warn - Wilsonville, OR - '60 Nash Rambler "Ferrambo"
2007 Ross & Beth Myers - Boyertown, PA '36 Ford "First Love"    
2006 Kevin & Karen Alstott - Fort Dodge, IA '35 Ford    
2005 Ken Reister Littleton, CO ’36 Ford Hardtop Convertible “Impression”    
2004 Al Brockly Lansing, IL ’37 Willys Coupe    
2003 Ron Whiteside Scottsdale, AZ ’34 Mercury “The Stallion”    
2002 Wesley & Bob Rydell Grand Forks, ND ’35 Chevy “Grand Master”    
2001 Chris Williams Escondido, CA ’49 Chevy Coupe “M-80”    
2000 Paul Atkins Cullman, AL ’33 Ford Speedster Coupe    
1999 Bob Young Memphis, TN ’32 Ford 3-Window Coupe    
1998 Eric Peratt Pine, CO Ken Reister Littleton, CO ’33 Ford Roadster “21st Century Comet”    
1997 Dave Emery Rochester Hills, MI ’32 Ford Roadster    
1996 George Poteet Memphis, TN ’37 Ford Roadster    
1995 Bob Rizzoli Gaithersburg, MD ’92 Mercedes 560 SEC    
1994 Fred Warren Warren, OH ’37 Ford Coupe “Aero Coupe”    
1993 Dave Stitzer Greenwood, IN ’40 Ford Coupe    
1992 Jimmy Stewart Phoenix, AZ ’32 Ford Sedan    
1991 Tony Carlini Newport Beach, CA ’33 Ford Altered Street Roadster    
1990 Dan Webb Burton, MI ’32 Ford Altered Street Roadster    
1989 Mike Baliestiero Carlisle, MA ’34 Ford Cabriolet Altered Street Roadster    
1988 Mal Kieswetter Kitchener, Ontario ’32 Ford 3-Window Coupe “The Gambler”    
1987 John Kolbusz Dearborn, MI ’34 Ford Altered Street Roadster    
1986 Dale Hunt Westland, MI ’86 Pontiac Grand Am Pro Stock    
1985 Bobby Alloway Louisville, TN “33 Ford Victoria Altered Street Sedan    
1984 Bob Reed Poteau, OK ’34 Ford Altered Street Coupe "The Khrome Shoppe Special"    
1983 Ron Barnum Dearborn, MI ’29 Ford 3-Door Sedan Delivery “Renaissance Delivery”    
1982 John Pappert Kitchener, Ontario ’34 Model Y English Ford    
1981 Bob Tiano Livonia, MI ’34 3-Window 350 Dual Turbo Ford Coupe    
1980 Everett Rezendes Livonia, MI ’28 Ford Sedan Delivery “The Cranberry Delivery”    
1979Frank Morabito Jasper, GA ’23 T Touring “Garagefather”    
1978 Bob Anzalone Manchester, MI ’23 T Ford Roadster Pickup “Black Diamond”    
1977 Frank Camden Waterford, MI ’26 T Ford Sedan “Frigid T”    
1976 Robert Sweatt Romulus, MI ’23 Ford AA Fuel Altered Comp Roadster "El Toro"    
1975 Bob Gutzke Deltona, FL ’27 Model T Altered Rod Coupe    
1974 Don Campbell W. Mauma, FL ’27 Ford T Sedan “Tartan T”    
1973 Jerry Pennington Rochester Hills, MI Hand Built Street Rod “Devilfish”    
1972 Jerry Pennington Rochester Hills, MI Rear Engine Corvette “Scorpion”    
1971 John Greer Detroit, MI Hand Built “C” Cab Truck “Brinks Express”    
1970 Jan Bergel Westland, MI ’66 Dodge Hemi Charger “Electro Charger”    
1969 Larry Alexander Westland, MI Ford T Roadster “Top Banana”    
1968 Chuck Miller New Boston, MI Hand Built “Fire Truck”    
1967 Mike Alexander Grosse Ile, MI ’66 Dodge Pickup “Deora”    
1966 Maynard Rupp Grosse Pointe Woods, MI ‘66 Chevy Malibu SS 396 Funny Car “Chevoom”    
1965 Bob Massaron Northville, Michigan ’56 Chevrolet Custom “Venturian”    
1964 Al Bergler Shelby Township, MI AA Comp Bantam Coupe “Aggravation”    

year designer/builder car owner notes
2006 Roger Burman "1935 Ford, Radster" Kevin and Karen Alstott
2005 Chip Foose "1936 Ford, Impression" Ken Reister won the AMBR in 2006
2004 Tim O'Connell 1937 Willys Al Brockly owner had car for 49 years
2003 Chip Foose "1934 Mercury, Stallion" Ron Whiteside
2002 Chip Foose "1935 Chevrolet, Grand Master" "Bob Rydell, Wes Rydell"
2001 Chris Williams "1949 Chevrolet, M-80" Chris Williams "sold at B-J 2006 for $102,600"
2000 "1933 Ford, Salt Pounder 2000" Paul Atkin
1999 Don Pilkenton "1932 Ford, Inovator" Bob Young
1998 Eric Peratt "1933 Ford, 21st Century Comet" "Eric Peratt, Ken Reister"
1997 Dave Emery "1932 Ford, Revolver" "Dave Emery, Joyce Emery" won the AMBR in 1998
1996 Don Pilkenton 1932 Ford George Poteet won the AMBR in 1997 under different owner
1995 1992 Mercedes 560 SEC Robert Rizzoli
1994 "1937 Ford, Aero Coupe" Fred Warren
1993 Don Pilkenton 1940 Ford David Stizer
1992 Jimmy Stewart 1932 Ford sedan Jimmy Stewart
1991 Tony Carlini 1933 Ford coupe Tony Carlini
1990 1932 Ford Dan Webb
1989 1934 Ford Michael Baliestiero
1988 "1932 Ford, Gambler" Mal Kieswetter
1987 1934 Ford John Kolbusz
1986 1986 Pontiac Grans Am Pro Stock Dale Hunt
1985 Bobby Alloway 1933 Ford Victoria Bobby Alloway
1984 Bob Reed 1934 Ford Bob Reed
1983 "1929 Ford, Renaissance Delivery" Ron Barnum
1982 John Pacame 1934 Ford Model Y John Pacame John Papper? John Pappert?
1981 1934 Ford Bob Tiano
1980 Everett Rezendes "1929 Ford, Cranberry Delivery" Everett Rezendes
1979 Frank Morabito "1922 Ford, Garagefather" Frank Morabito
1978 "1923 Ford, Black Diamond" Bob Anzalone
1977 "1923 Ford, Black Gold" Frank Camden Frigid T?
1976 "1923 Ford, El Toro" Robert Sweatt
1975 Bob Gutzke "1927 Ford, The Way We Were" Bob Gutzke
1974 "1927 Ford, Tartan T" Don Campbell
1973 Jerry Pennington "handbuilt, Devilfish" Jerry Pennington
1972 Jerry Pennington "1969 Corvette, Scorpion" Jerry Pennington
1971 John Greer "handbuilt, Brink's Express" John Greer
1970 "1967 Ford, Electro Charger" Jan Bergel
1969 Larry Alexander "1923 Ford, Top Banana" Larry Alexander
1968 "handbuilt, Fire Truck" Chuck Miller
1967 Mike Alexander "1964 Dodge, Deora" Mike Alexander
1966 "1966 Chevrolet Malibu, Chevroom funny car" Maynard Rupp
1965 Bob Massaron "1956 Chevrolet, Venturian" Bob Massaron
1964 Al Bergler "handbuilt, More Aggravation Comp. Coupe" Al Bergler


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