Troy resident John Ruth plans to keep this ’41 Ford Coupe, a model that his grandfather also owned.

Troy resident John Ruth plans to keep this ’41 Ford Coupe, a model that his grandfather also owned.

Photo provided by John Ruth

Autorama roars into Cobo Center

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 12, 2019


TROY — Troy resident John Ruth describes himself as a “bad” car guy.

That means he tends to keep them, rather than sell them, after the restoration work is done.

“I fall in love with them. I’m in it for the long haul,” he said.

Ruth, a global supply chain manager for an auto supply company, plans to bring his 1941 Ford Coupe to Autorama when it roars into Cobo Center March 1-3.

He has owned the car for eight years. He’s done some of the work himself, and Brothers Custom Automotive in Troy has done the larger jobs and interior work.

“It’s original, custom, pre-war,” he said, adding that his grandfather owned one. “It’s kind of like a neat time capsule. It’s so original. You just can’t go and replace something. I don’t want to undo any of its past.”

Ruth has no plans to sell it.

“This one stays with me,” he said. “I have a connection. I love American cars.”

Ruth’s eight collector cars occupy his garage; the modern cars stay out.

“It’s an honor to have the car at Autorama,” he said. “It’s a long-standing event.”

The 67th annual Meguiar’s Detroit Autorama will be held at Cobo Center in Detroit March 1-3. Over 800 hot rods, custom cars, trucks and motorcycles from across the country will be on display.

This year’s Autorama will also feature a live appearance by NASCAR racing legend Tony Stewart, the Hanson Brothers from the movie “Slap Shot,” WWE Superstar Seth Rollins, and hot rod builder Carl Casper will be his famous cars, including the Batmobile from the “Batman Returns” movie and the Empress that won Best of Show at the first Cobo Hall Detroit Autorama in 1961.

Casper will be on hand throughout Autorama to meet and greet fans and sign autographs all three days.

The Smokey and the Bandit Roadshow exhibit is expected to feature cars and other memorabilia from the movie. There will also be a Burt Reynolds look-alike.

“We are always striving to bring new excitement and top ourselves every year at Detroit Autorama,” Peter A. Toundas, the president and owner of Championship Auto Shows Inc., said in a prepared statement.

An additional big draw to this year’s Autorama is the Low Rider Magazine Invitational, a special exhibit of 17 low-rider vehicles in the area.

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.

The Motor City Mavens’ 2019 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 1, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. March 2 and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. March 3 at Cobo Center. Autorama is hosted by the Michigan Hot Rod Association.

Admission costs $21 for adults and $8 for children 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, go to