The Sacramento Autorama, one of the world’s longest running indoor car shows, hosted over 500 world-class custom vehicles and handed out over 400 individual awards during its awards ceremony on Sunday, February 16, 2020 at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramento, California. The most prestigious of these awards was the Custom d’Elegance which was awarded to Jeff Boone’s 1936 Ford Custom. Other major award winners included Glenn Black who won King of Kustoms with his 1949 Mercury Custom and Bob Dron who won the H.A. Bagdasarian “World’s Most Beautiful Custom” for his 1948 Chevrolet Fleetline.
The Sacramento Autorama’s most coveted award is the Custom d’Elegance. Each year it is given to the best chopped, channeled and sectioned vehicle from 1935-1948 that embodies the true spirit of a classic custom. This year, the ’36 Ford Custom triumphed over the other six contenders, earning its owner a spot alongside industry icons like Gene Winfield, Joe Bailon, George Barris and John D’Agostino on the historic perpetual plaque, as well as $2,000 in prize money.
The ’36 Ford was originally purchased by Boone’s grandfather in 1941. His grandfather began modifying the car in period to promote his used car dealerships. After being submerged in a flood, the car sat unused until it was gifted to Boone in 1973; he was just 11 years old. Boone began collecting parts and slowly put the car back together as he grew older. The long restoration process ultimately brought him to Sacramento Autorama this year where the car was shown for the first time. The custom features a 221 cubic Inch Ford engine mated to a ’39 Ford three-speed transmission. The roof has been chopped three inches, door corners rounded, B-pillars slanted and much more.
The Sacramento Autorama’s other top award was the King of Kustoms, which recognized the best 1935- 1964 custom build with a focus on bodylines, design, flow and quality of workmanship. This year’s winner was Glenn Black with his 1949 Mercury Custom. Judges particularly praised its incredible paint which perfectly complemented its long swooping lines.
“For the Sacramento Autorama’s 70th anniversary, we gathered some of the greatest customs of all time,” said John Buck, owner of Rod Shows and producer of the Sacramento Autorama. “Each of the cars here represented the pinnacle of their respective categories – the best of the hobby. We couldn’t be prouder to be the gathering point for this community.”
Other major awards given at the show were the Big B Awards. The World’s Most Beautiful Custom, which was presented by the family of show founder H.A. Bagdasarian, recognized the best custom car from 1936 to present that featured a silhouette change, including a chop, channel, or section. This year, that award and its $500 prize went to Bob Dron and his 1948 Chevrolet Fleetline.
The next Big B award was the Sam Barris Memorial Award, named in honor of legendary custom car builder Sam Barris. The award was presented by the Barris family to the owner of the car with the best metal work, alignment of body panels and paint. For 2020, the Barris family chose Chris Bonilla and his 1949 Mercury Custom.
The Joe “Candy Apple Red” Bailon Award was designed and created by Bailon, one of the nation’s premier custom car designers and builders. This year, the award was presented to Calvin Fisk and his 1953 Ford Pickup. Fisk received the award and a $500 prize.
The last of the Big B awards, the Dick Bertolucci Automotive Excellence Award, was given to the vehicle manufactured before 1973 that famed hot rod and custom builder Dick Bertolucci felt exhibited the best craftsmanship in assembly, fit, finish and detail. This year, Bertolucci selected Jerry Jacob’s 1957 Chevrolet Belair built by Dominator Street Rods for the trophy and $500 in prize money.
For more information about the Sacramento Autorama and for the full list of 2020 award winners, please visit www.rodshows.com/sa/.