Everett Stephenson’s 1971 Dodge Challenger is ready to be admired at this year’s Autorama.

Everett Stephenson’s 1971 Dodge Challenger is ready to be admired at this year’s Autorama.

Photo provided by Everett Stephenson


Autorama roars into Cobo Center

By: Kayla Dimick, Terry Oparka | Southfield Sun | Published February 21, 2018

 Southfield resident Andrew Johnson’s 1940 Chevrolet Coupe will be featured in this year’s Autorama, which is slated to roll into Cobo Center March 2-4.

Southfield resident Andrew Johnson’s 1940 Chevrolet Coupe will be featured in this year’s Autorama, which is slated to roll into Cobo Center March 2-4.

Photo provided by Everett Stephenson

METRO DETROIT — On any given summer Thursday, you can find Southfield residents Andrew Johnson and Everett Stephenson hanging out in the Glory Supermarket parking lot at Seven Mile and Telegraph roads. 

They’re not there for the groceries, though, Stephenson said. 

They’re there for the cars. 

Each week, Stephenson said, a group of gearheads who call themselves A Little Touch of Class meet in the parking lot to have a picnic and talk cars. 

This year, both men will be bringing their classic cars to Meguiar’s Detroit Autorama for the first time. Johnson will be bringing a 1940 Chevrolet Coupe, and Stephenson will be bringing his 1971 Dodge Challenger. 

Stephenson said he is most looking forward to meeting other car enthusiasts at the show.

“I’m looking forward to the camaraderie. That’s why we get up after work on Thursdays and go to Glory Market — we just like to sit back and talk, and we’ll be able to do it inside one of the biggest hot rod shows in the city of Detroit,” Stephenson said. 

Johnson said the event will be nostalgic for him. 

“These are the cars I grew up with. I look back over time and I think about the cars then and how we’ve restored them and brought them back to life,” he said. 

The 66th Meguiar’s Detroit Autorama will be held at Cobo Center in Detroit March 2-4. Over 800 hot rods, custom cars, trucks and motorcycles from across the country will be on display.

“This year, hosting Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the famous ‘Fate of the Furious 8’ movie cars, along with all of our features, makes the Detroit Autorama 2018 a show that no one will want to miss,” Peter A. Toundas, president and owner of Championship Auto Shows Inc., which produces Autorama, said in a prepared statement. 

“It’s extremely gratifying that Detroit Autorama is the home of America’s most important hot rod award,” Toundas said in the statement. “This is the Motor City, and Detroit is where hot rod custom car shows started, so we make every effort to let everyone know about this important heritage.”

A highlight of the show is the presentation of the Ridler Award, given to the most outstanding new custom car shown for the first time anywhere.

The award was named after Don Ridler, the first promoter of the show. 

This year’s Autorama features a special exhibit of five of the land speed record-breaking speedsters that have run on the famous Bonneville Salt Flats, including the 2017 record-breaking gold Speed Demon. In 2017, Speed Demon claimed the Speed Week trophy for the seventh consecutive year with an astounding 438.643 mph pass on the Salt Flats.

Autorama will kick off with the live outdoor Rolling Towering Inferno Flame Throwing Fest, in which two cars and a super truck will shoot flames at 11:45 a.m. March 2 in front of Cobo Center, on Jefferson Avenue. 

 The Motor City Mavens’ 2018 Auto Art Panel Jam and Charity Auction, benefiting Leader Dogs for the Blind, will be presented by 101 FM WRIF Radio. More than 200 pinstripers from across the country will be in Detroit during all three days of Autorama to apply their artistry to items of every type. 

Autorama will be held noon-10 p.m. March 2, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. March 3 and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. March 4 at Cobo Center. Autorama is hosted by the Michigan Hot Rod Association.

Admission costs $20 for adults, $7 for children ages 6-12, and is free for children 5 and younger. Discount tickets are available at O’Reilly Auto Parts. For more information and for celebrity appearance details, call (248) 373-1700 or go to www.autorama.com.