America’s Greatest Hot Rod Show descends on Detroit’s famed Cobo Center this weekend as over 1,000 of the world’s hottest custom cars will be displayed in the 59th Annual Meguire’s Autorama Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts.  Large crowds are expected during the three day event starting Friday, February 25th.  Detroit Autorama will feature the best of the best in hot rods, street machines and custom cars – many in contention for the coveted Pirelli Great 8 status and the show-winning Ridler Award. 

The award, named for Don Ridler, is presented at the Detroit Autorama to the most outstanding new custom car that will be shown at the Autorama for the first time anywhere.  The best of the best are awarded Pirelli Great 8 status and the overall best-in-show winner takes the storied Ridler Award – the custom car world’s most sought-after award.  Pirelli Tire will award each of the Great 8 with $1,000 in prize money as well as a custom jacket and award.  The Ridler Award winner will receive $10,000 cash, a new GM Performance Parts engine, a custom trophy and a jacket. 

Since its inception in the 60’s, the Ridler Award has gained attention and respect over the years as it recognizes the elite of the hot rod world.  Each year, the announcement of the Pirelli Great Eight – the eight finalists competing for the Ridler Award – has gained notoriety as well, and is one of the most anticipated moments at Murray’s Detroit Autorama.

“To be included among the Pirelli Great Eight at Detroit Autorama is an honor that is sought by the top custom car designers, builders and owners in America,” said Bob Larivee, Jr., CEO of Championship Auto Shows, Inc. “We are delighted to have the respected name of Pirelli associated with the naming of the Great Eight and we are looking forward to a continued strong relationship with the company.”

This year’s Autorama will feature custom automotive creations, a Hot Rod Heritage fine art exhibit, the Builder of the Year exhibit, special Meguire’s Car Care Tips seminars, a Pin-Up Girl contest, and Rockabilly bands including the Swingin’ Demons and Twistin’ Tarantulas. 

Special guests such as hot rodding legend Pete Chapouris, Jonathan Hillstrand from the Discovery Channel hit “Deadliest Catch” Debby Ryan – “Baily” from TV’s “Suite Life on Deck”, Billy The Exterminator and Bella Thorne – “CeCe” from Disney’s “Shake It Up” will all make exclusive appearances at the show.

In addition to Pirelli’s Great 8 sponsorship, the Italian tire company will showcase the very latest customs from Mobsteel and Tommy Z in the Pirelli Booth at Cobo Center starting Friday, February 25th to Sunday, February 27th.  Pirelli is also sponsoring the 2011 Mobsteel Annual Autorama After Party Friday night at 9PM at the Sound Board at Motor City Casino.  The featured band will be Detroit’s own Pistol Day Parade.  

“Pirelli is proud to be part of the preeminent show in the hot rod and street machine segments,” said Rafael Navarro, Pirelli Tire North America’s Director of Marketing and Media Communications. “The Pirelli family of products is the number one choice when designing, building and driving powerful customs.  The incredible cars on display this year at Detroit Autorama are representative of the heart and soul of American hot rodding, and Pirelli is there with a superior line of tires for those who want to take advantage of the power and handling these rides have. The 2010 Ridler Award Winning car – Gold Digger by Tammy Ray featured Pirelli P Zero Nero rubber, and this year we’ve upped the ante.  This is going to be a fantastic show!” 

Pirelli Tire North America designs, develops, manufactures and markets tires for passenger vehicles in both the original equipment and replacement markets as well as markets and distributes tires for motorcycles and motorsports. Located in Rome, Georgia, Pirelli’s Modular Integrated Robotized System (MIRS) employs state-of-the-art technology to manufacture tires for both export and domestic markets.  For more information please visit www.us.pirelli.com.