Overshadowed by the goings-on in Geneva and the endless stream of tragedy constantly striking the auto industry, the 2009 Autorama kicked off in Detroit last week with little mention in the headlines. A collection of the most beautiful, impressively built hot rods in the country, Doug Cooper’s 1932 Ford B400 “Deucenberg” V8 immediately stood out as the king of the beasts. Painstakingly built by Alan Johnson of Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop in Gadsden, Alabama, Cooper boasted proudly, “This car is literally unique, and it has one-off parts from bumper to bumper.” Elegantly crafted, Cooper’s Deucenberg V8 is an exercise in taste, featuring a period-accurate custom-angled body, cloth-covered aluminum lift-off roof, sumptuous leather interior, and the crown jewel: a 405-horsepower LS6 engine. A gorgeous, rare breed indeed, the Deucenberg dazzled the Autorama judges too, leading it to receive one of the highest honors in the rodding circle, the 2009 Detroit Autorama Ridler Award. Reserved exclusively for rods making their inaugural auto show appearances, the Ridler Award recognizes excellence in craftsmanship and design.
As a the grand prize winner, Doug Cooper received Ridler’s generous prize package, including $10,000 cash and a GM-furnished new General Motors Performance Parts engine, jacket and trophy.