We saw over on Jalopnik that Chuck Miller’s 1968 Ridler Award winning Model T C-cab fire truck is gonna be up on the auction block again in September (here).
Now, much as we dig this thing, the kiss of death for us is the Ridler trophy that comes along with it. The Ridler, if it doesn’t instantly conjur up some images for you, is an award given every year since, oh, ’64, at the Detroit Autorama. It’s given to the best, uh, custom car entered in the show and the car can only be entered once. And as far as we’re concerned, there hasn’t been a great car to win this thing since the late Sixties.
Now, we say that because it was basically known that show cars built specifically to win shows were ruling the scene up till the early Seventies. For some reason, once the Seventies were ushered in, the cars winning the Ridler Award just got progressively dumber till present-day when we just roll our eyes and give a dramatic sigh as we gaze upon the latest six-figure exercise in lame-ness.
We’ve posted our favorites here and you’ll notice that these were all show cars of the Sixties. Interesting, huh? But, the Sixties was the height of the era of show cars built to be just that: no excuses, no misguided ideas of a car that might actually be driven down the street, no nod to subtlety or understated beauty. No. NONE of that shit. These were cars built to be pure fantasy and fun, dammit.
And that’s what’s been sorely missing from the Ridler for more than a generation, now. So, we’ll just bask in the warm, glass tube-powered glow of yesteryear when the idea of a blown smallblock-powered fire truck with a gumball light on the scoop could win the most coveted award in all car-dom (sniff).