While not as big or as brilliant as Geneva, not as prestigious as Detroit, and it lacks the news-worthiness of Frankfurt. Still, any car enthusiast would love the 51st Annual O’Reilly 2013 World of Wheels Custom Car & Hot Rod Show. It is an extreme contrast to the industry shows and does showcase hand crafting, perseverance. and ingenuity. After all, isn’t that what the car hobby is all about?
Speaking of hobby, this show emphasizes that in spades. You can find parts for your project, find information on tooling and even pick up custom apparel to match that ride you spent years to build. There is a story that goes with each stand. As you tour the show floor, you realize these labors of love are more than metal, they are heart and soul.
What a pleasure it was to meet a young lady who, with her husband, spent 8 years on a 1932 Ford project called”XS Cash”. Then meeting George, a young man who got the opportunity to sell his custom jackets to Joe Amato, Carroll Shelby and Jay Leno all because he got the call after someone was commissioned to make 10,000 leather jackets for Chevrolet but misspelled “Corvette”.
The World of Wheels is part of the Custom Show Car Series, sanctioned by the Summit Show Car Series and the ISCA (International Show Car Series). The show features a Concourse-style “Best In Class” and “Best of Show” for each stop on the tour. The tour concludes with the famed “Legend Cup”, which is awarded to the best first-time presenter of the show. This year, The Legend Cup went to Dave & Joyce Emery of Rochester Hills, MI for their stunning 1932 Ford. Awards are also presented for “Best Paint”, “Best Engineered Car” and “Outstanding Use Of Color Design” among the 30 categories. The actual tour is comprised of The World of Wheels, The Cavalcade of Customs and the world famous Autorama, a collection of shows that stops at over 30 cities between November and April every year.
One visit and you will find yourself looking at a cherry Custom 1955 Mercury with the same shock and amazement that thousands had when the Spyker B6 Venator was presented in Geneva or when the 2014 Corvette Stingray was unveiled in Detroit. No, Ralph Gilles wasn’t there, and Ron Dennis didn’t show up. Nonetheless, there are stars and important industry personalities on hand every year. Some of them you know, some of them you don’t, but all of them are important to the car hobby.
With so many new cars being unveiled around this time of year, it’s refreshing to see a Post-war car chopped, slammed and polished. Many kept just as they were — in the package, others featuring modern technologies. This is a show for niche segment and a certain type of enthusiast. It’s also a way to become well-rounded car guy/gal and appreciate what makes the automobile great….passion.
Please enjoy this look at a car that would fit right in at the World of Wheels: the Plymouth/Chrysler Prowler
Please enjoy this video from the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction: