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Royal Oak man contributes more to Autorama than hot rods

February 19, 2014

» click to enlarge «
Murray Pfaff, from Royal Oak, poses with his custom-designed Mini Cooper hot rod Feb. 15 while it is being painted at That’s Minor Customs. Pfaff will have six cars he’s designed on display at Autorama this year.
Murray Pfaff works on the front end of his custom Mini Cooper, which he is making into a hot rod. Pfaff’s six-car display at Autorama also will have a pick-a-prize fundraiser for Leader Dogs for the Blind.

ROYAL OAK — Murray Pfaff and the hot rods he designs have become an inseparable part of one of the country’s largest hot rod shows, Autorama.

Last year, the Royal Oak resident celebrated his 10th year at the annual show and brought along 14 cars he designed.

At this year’s event, which runs from March 7-9 inside Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit, he’ll have six hot rods he designed all within a display he’s calling The D Lot Display. The collection includes a Pfaff-designed 1978 Corvette belonging to NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace.

Even with the notable cars on display, perhaps the most significant contribution D Lot will bring to Autorama this year is a pick-a-prize fundraiser that will raise money for Leader Dogs for the Blind.

There will be more than $8,000 worth of prizes ranging from customized bicycles to exhausts and tires.

The puppies going through leader dog training also will be on hand to interact with Autorama attendees, Pfaff said.

There will be daily prizes given out. The big items will be announced Sunday afternoon, Pfaff said. Participants do not need to be present at Autorama to win.

The cars on display will include Pfaff’s very own 2002 MiniCooper, which will be painted white and dark silver to represent its American engine and its German maker, respectively.

“I decided I wanted a little something cooler to drive on a daily basis,” Pfaff said.

It will be joined by a citrus green 1973 Camaro, a 1969 Camaro and other eccentrically designed hot rods.

In addition to Pfaff’s display, Autorama will be offering plenty of events for people of all ages.

This year’s event will serve as the host site for Hot Rod Industry Alliance Education Day, an enormous national conference for the industry on March 6.

The next day, the show will kick off by firing up Bob Motz’s Flame Throwing Semi Truck in front of Cobo Hall and the second annual Ridler’s Ball later that evening.

Other highlights of the event include appearances by NASCAR racing legends Richard Petty and Kyle Petty, Hot Rod Builder of the Year Troy Trepanier and Gene Winfield’s Chop Shop, which will literally chop a car in half for a live audience.

Also returning this year are the popular Autorama Student Career Day — featuring more than 3,000 automotive students from nearly 50 Michigan high schools and trade schools — and the Autorama High School Design Competition, which is a benefit for the United Way of Southeastern Michigan.

In addition, guests can enjoy the Motor City Mavens’ 2014 Auto Art Panel Jam and Charity Auction, which will raise funds for Leader Dogs for the Blind, and celebrity appearances by World Wrestling Entertainment stars Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho, Laura Marano from the Disney Channel’s “Austin and Ally,” and Spongebob Squarepants.

“One of the things that’s very important for Autorama is the fact that there’s something for everyone — for the whole family, for people of all ages,” said Linda Ashley, spokeswoman for Autorama. “So while Dad is checking out all the amazing cars, the little kids can visit with Spongebob and the big kids can meet their favorite WWE wrestler or Disney Channel actress.”

Autorama will take place from noon-10 p.m. March 7, from 9 a.m.-10 p.m. March 8 and from noon-5 p.m. March 9.

Tickets cost $19 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12, and free for children ages 5 and younger. Discount tickets are available at O’Reilly Auto Parts, and group tickets are available online.

For more information, call (248) 373-1700 or visit

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