2009 HOUSTON AUTORAMA – 50th ANNIVERSARY
The 2009 Houston Autorama, this being its 50th anniversary, was a rousing success for us. It is also our annual Thanksgiving event. Thank God I married the right woman who "understands the show". I am super busy prior to and during this holiday, and my family allows me this time away when most others are drawing closer as a family.
We pushed hard to make it to the show, and did. It is all because of the dedication of my crew of guys that we made it there and were so successful. I cannot thank them enough. We had 5 cars (57 Chevy Convertible, 62 Vette, 70 Chevelle, 78 280Z and a 72 Torino) there that we have had our hands in, and all took firsts in their respective classes.
The fact that $umday, the 62 Vette of Steve and Jenn Keffeler, was selected into contention for the coveted Millwinder Award, was an unexpected and humbling privilege. Much like Detroit’s "Riddler Award", the Millwinder is chosen out of a field of 7 specifically selected vehicles called the "Magnificent 7". $umday made it into that crowd. Ultimately, the pick was made, and although we did not win, it was a true honor to be in that elite group. Last year we had two cars selected into Magnificent 7, so we plan to continue that tradition in years to come.
Beyond the obvious honor of being a Magnificent 7 pick, $umday also brought home outstanding interior, outstanding paint, outstanding display as well as being the "Outstanding Sports Car of the Show".
Heavy Metal, our 70 Chevelle project, brought home more than it’s fair share of awards, especially considering that this is it’s 5th year showing in Houston and we were up against more recently built cars. The list of it’s accomplishments this year are: first in class, outstanding paint, outstanding interior, outstanding use of color and outstanding display.
The Candy Apple Blonde was extremely well received, even though she "only" won first in her class. Jeff, the owner, built his own display and managed to garner a display award for his efforts. Not bad for a rookie ‘at bat’. The real prize for her was the constant stream of admirers surrounding her, many times it was difficult to even see her from outside the crowd. I find that very cool.
The fourth of our cars to win were Richard and Jean Tapia’s little Datsun (remember that name?) 280Z, a 6000 mile original that Richard bought new and used to show in years past. We recently put it back in stock condition, repainted the exterior and brought it out just for fun. For those of you that dig the Z-cars, this one is almost a time capsule of what they were meant to be, and it took a first in class as a result.
Lastly, the 72 Ford Torino of Jerry Lester, a car we painted 11 years ago (you read that right), took a first as well. This car was originally ordered by Jerry from Viet Nam, while he was still serving in the military, and then picked up by him once he returned stateside. He has been it’s only owner, and has shown it since we painted it. It is a testament to Jerry and his immaculate care of the car, considering it is still winning more than its fair share of awards.
Although we were pleasantly surprised by all the accolades, it is the positive feedback by the fans that really feeds our soul. When people love the cars we build, we must be doing something right!
I want to say a quick, but heartfelt, thanks to the Millwinders. They are a Houston car club that founded this show 50 years ago. This will be their last year promoting it, as they are retiring from the show business and are going back to just enjoying cars and hot rods. It remains to be seen whether the new owner(s) will carry the tradition or start anew with something different. Kudos to the Millwinders for 50 years of great car shows in Houston. I can say they definitely influenced me with their events as I attended through the years past. Thanks to all of you.
until next time….