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 Randy Hayward, of Ferndale, shows his 1925 Henderson Board Tracker Inline 4 that he will be bringing to the 68th annual Meguiar’s Detroit Autorama.

Randy Hayward, of Ferndale, shows his 1925 Henderson Board Tracker Inline 4 that he will be bringing to the 68th annual Meguiar’s Detroit Autorama.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Ferndale resident bringing motorcycles to Autorama

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 24, 2020

 Along with his Henderson Board Tracker, Randy Hayward will be bringing to the Detroit Autorama his 1929 Harley-Davidson DL 45, 1976 Harley-Davidson chopper and 1971 Honda chopper that was customized by Sam Radoff, known as “Yosemite Sam.”

Along with his Henderson Board Tracker, Randy Hayward will be bringing to the Detroit Autorama his 1929 Harley-Davidson DL 45, 1976 Harley-Davidson chopper and 1971 Honda chopper that was customized by Sam Radoff, known as “Yosemite Sam.”

Photo by Deb Jacques

FERNDALE — Randy Hayward is a big motorcycle guy, holding a collection of 19 bikes, and he’s planning on bringing four of them to the upcoming Detroit Autorama.

The 68th annual Meguiar’s Detroit Autorama will be held at the TCF Center, 1 Washington Blvd., from noon to 10 p.m. Feb. 28, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 29 and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 1.

Begun as a fundraiser for the Michigan Hot Rod Association’s efforts to build the Detroit Dragway, the show has grown over the decades to be one of the largest in the country, said Butch Patrico, co-chair of Autorama for the past 30 years and president of the Michigan Hot Rod Association. It was held at the Michigan State Fairgrounds and the Detroit Artillery Armory before moving to Cobo Center, now the TCF Center, in 1961.

“We’ve been doing the show since 1953,” said Patrico. “This is our 68th year, and it’s one of the most prestigious hot rod and custom car shows in the country.”

Hayward, a Ferndale resident, plans to bring his 1929 Harley Davidson DL 45, a 1976 Harley Davidson chopper, a 1925 Henderson Board Tracker and a 1971 Honda chopper customized by the late Detroit custom motorcycle detailer and builder Sam Radoff, who was known as “Yosemite Sam.”

“The truth be told, if there’s any show you’re going to do in the country, you want to do Detroit Autorama,” he said.

An avid attendee of Autorama, Hayward will be bringing his Henderson Board Tracker and “Yosemite Sam” custom Honda chopper to the event for the first time. He was especially excited to bring the bikes this year to show off their uniqueness and because both have a Detroit connection.

Regarding his Henderson, which he referred to as the “Bugatti of motorcycles,” Hayward said it was the “super fast bike” of its day, and it is connected to Detroit, as the company started on Jefferson Avenue in the early 20th century.

“Not only is it a very unique bike, it was exotic in 1925, and it’s even more exotic today,” he said.

Hayward bought his “Yosemite Sam” chopper last September in Detroit. When he found out it had been customized by Radoff, who died last year, it made the motorcycle “really desirable.”

“Yosemite Sam was a very unique builder, and he was a premier pinstriper and flame artist,” he said. “He would do quite a bit of flame work, and so he should have been as famous as (Ed) ‘Big Daddy’ Roth. But he was a local artist that is still highly recognized, and having a chopper makes it even more special.”

This year’s Autorama will highlight the most significant hot rods of the 20th century, a group of five vehicles that have never been seen together at one time on this side of the country: Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s Outlaw and Beatnik Bandit, Tommy Ivo’s 1925 T Bucket, Bob McGee’s 1932 Ford Roadster, and Norm Grabowski’s Kookie T Bucket, which cruised into fame on the TV show “77 Sunset Strip.”

There also will be chances to see the Ford GT40 and P330 Ferrari used in the Oscar-winning movie “Ford v Ferrari,” Cody Walker from “Furious 7,” WWE legend Ric Flair and more than 800 unique custom hot rods, cars, trucks and motorcycles from across the country and world.

Autorama is also home of the “most coveted award in hot rodding,” the Ridler Award. For 57 years, the Ridler Award has been presented to the most outstanding new custom car shown for the first time anywhere, attracting the finest custom car builders on the continent to unveil their vehicles for the first time at the show.

“The Ridler Award ... has been one of the most sought-after awards,” said Patrico. “The competitors all want a trophy from Detroit just because of the prestige of the show.”

Patrico said the show is always fresh, since exhibitors can only show a car three times at Autorama before they have to change something on the vehicle.

“(We) keep the show fresh for the spectators ... by keeping the vehicles as fresh as possible,” he said. “That’s why we put an emphasis on relatively new cars and not a lot of repeats.”

Along with awards and celebrity sightings, the 68th annual Detroit Autorama will include the Cavalcade of Customs, a 10-car exhibit of specially invited custom vehicles, and Autorama Extreme, which covers the entire lower level of the TCF Center with more than 200 traditional hot rods, customs and “bobber bikes” inspired by the 1950s.

On Feb. 28, more than 3,000 students will take part in Autorama Student Career Day, hearing presentations from hot rod builders and industry leaders about career opportunities in the field, then checking out the show’s cars.

Tickets for the 2020 Detroit Autorama cost $21 for adults and $8 for children ages 6-12, and they are free for children ages 5 and younger at the gate. Discount tickets are available at O’Reilly Auto Parts for $19 and $7, respectively. For more information, visit www.autorama.com or call (248) 373-1700.