Detroit AutoRama 2014 Pictures

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AutoRama is always my favourite car show but this year it struck me so much more than other years: hot rod shows seem to be 90% about roughly 6 different cars: Mustang, Camaro, Nova, Chevelle, 32/34 Fords, Challenger. Not saying that's bad, but what it does mean is that when building one of those cars, the end result must be exceptional to be noticed in a sea of similar models.

Such was the case with the '67 Nova by Miranda Built. I was initially drawn to the car (which incidentally won a Ridler) by the dark clean lines accented with just enough orange. The satin engine bay was immaculate, letting the burnt orange powder coat on the engine pop to life. First thing I noticed though were the two stage of injection. "Why would that be needed" I asked myself, "unless intake manifold pressure was enough to warrant that much fuel". Looking closer, the turbochargers are tucked almost invisibly into the inner fenders. I struck up a conversation with one of the builders by asking how many people notice the turbos. After a few minutes, he was gracious enough to let me cross the barrier to take a closer look at the car and point out some details For example, notice how the water pipe from the thermostat disappears under the intake manifold to take a roundabout approach to the rad so no pipes are visible at the front of the engine. An amazingly clean and well done car which for me was the highlight of the show.

Then we move in a completely different direction, to what I can only describe as a monumental clustershag of misunderstanding that took the form of JF Kustoms 1964 Riviera. I was admiring the attention to detail when I noticed not only the large crowd at the back of the vehicle but the odd 4" intake tube exiting the rear of the intake manifold through the firewall, up through the dash, along the interior ceiling, then into the trunk. And at the trunk was a crowd of people listening to one of the builders speak of about the vehicle. In the trunk, one finds a calliope of plumbing for the twin turbos. OK, rear mounted turbos aren't really a WTF, but surly running the plumbing through the interior of the car is! And then hearing the explanation as to how this ridiculous setup came to be. I tried to record it, I really did, but the ambient noise made the recording unintelligible. To make a long and hilarious story into a short one, this whole system came to be because the builders were concerned that the turbos, with their turbines so close to the exhaust ports of the engine, would heat up the intake air and engine bay too much. So yep, they moved everything to the rear and just ran the pipes through the car instead! Wow. And I mean wow! The explanation was a long rambling one showing stunning lack of knowledge about the workings of fluid dynamics, turbochargers and how the system is supposed to function. I can only assume that this was their first turbo system, born out of reading "My First Turbo" on some forum, but stopping the reading just as they learned turbos can introduce heat into the system. Never mind that there's this thing called an "intercooler" (more properly, "aftercooler"), heat shields, and that most of the heating comes from compressing the air itself. Nope, forget all that stuff, and just create this plumbers nightmare instead. An example of "forest for the trees" if there ever was one. One baffles at how such impressive fabrication can exist along such a fundamentally flawed design.

I've always been a fan of the Pantera so it was great seeing one so cleanly done. I personally would have went with a turbocharger instead of the big block since there's so much room back there, but hey, that's personal choice. Love the basic functional interior, though some numbers on the gauges would be nice.

Down in the basement, the copper Chevy I so loved last year was back, but more complete and with detail to keep you looking for hours. The horn horn, the arm arm rest and the leather accented copper makes for a very unique and impressive truck. I'm seeing more and more copper, with a perfect example being the "Rusted Crow Distillery" rod. Well done.

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