The second biggest car show held in Detroit's Cobo Hall suffers a bit by comparison with the North American International Auto Show in terms of the lighting and poshness of the displays, but the vehicles are equally interesting -- if you can appreciate automotive artistry applied ex-works. Autorama is one of the premier events at which to display customized cars and -- to an increasingly large extent -- trucks. Here are seven of our favorite restored, resto-modded, and all-out 'rodded trucks fresh from the show floor of the 2010 Autorama.
1971 Ford Baja Bronco
One of the coolest trucks at Autorama was this one-of-100 Bill Stroppe-prepared Baja Bronco. Shortly after the Bronco's introduction in 1966, Bill Stroppe started modifying it for off-road-racing. By 1971 Stroppe Broncos had won the Baja 500 and 1000 races and helped launch several desert-racing careers. On January 28, 1971, Ford announced it would offer a limited-production version of Stroppe's Bronco. The Sport Bronco wagons came from the factory painted in Stroppe livery: metallic blue roofs, Wimbledon white around the greenhouse, poppy red below the greenhouse, and a matte or semi-gloss black hood. They were then shipped to Long Beach, California, where Stroppe trimmed the front fenders and flared the rears to clear the Gates Commando XT tires. Other upgrades included dual shocks at each corner, a padded roll-bar, rubberized steering wheel, front bumper braces, a trailer hitch, and Baja Bronco logos on the tire cover and fenders. If ordered, Stroppe would also install Saginaw power steering (Chevrolet parts!) and a C4 automatic--power steering and an automatic were not otherwise available together from the factory in '71 and '72. This example was lovingly restored by the current owner, Jack Niederkorn of Elmhurst, Illinois. For more info, www.bajabronco.com
1935 Ford Pickup "Bronze-Coated Beauty"
This gorgeous pickup was modified by Gene Winfield in 1961 to advertise his custom shop. It features a 3.5-inch chop, lowered suspension, and is powered by a bored and stroked '48 Mercury flathead breathing through a tri-carb setup. The body was originally painted in 28 coats of candy bronze lacquer. It was featured in the October 1961 issue of Custom Rodder, and the March 1963 Custom Craft, and then disappeared in 1965. Rediscovered in 2008, it has been restored to its original glory by Hatfield Restorations.
1980 Dodge D-50 Project 6-Pack
Nothing quite captures the essence of Autorama like an utterly over-the-top project like John Farr's super-slammed convertible six-wheeled 1980 Dodge D-50. The Mitsubishi-built D-50 was probably only sold as a Dodge in the U.S., but the Project 6-Pack features right-hand drive. Power comes from a 1996 LT1 small block V-8 mated to a Turbo-Hydramatic 350 and 3.11 gearing. The front of the bed is largely consumed by a Livin Loud stereo with 30 Kicker Speakers powered by 7000 watts of Kicker power. Pass the earplugs. We love the low-rider long-wheelbase bike in the bed too. For more info, www.project6pack.com