Holley EFI-Equipped '33 Ford Wins the Prestigious Ridler Award

By: Todd Veney03/03/2017 < Back to Blog Home
The “Renaissance Roadster" 1933 Ford, owned by Buddy Jordan and Steve Frisbie and painstakingly hand-built at Frisbie's shop, Steve’s Auto Restoration in Portland, Ore., topped all challengers to win the 2017 Ridler Award. Named after the late Don Ridler, the coveted award, eligible only to cars shown for the first time, is presented annually at the Detroit Autorama at Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit and goes to the vehicle that best exemplifies creativity, engineering and quality workmanship. This handmade masterpiece ranks with the best of the best in the 50-plus year history of the event, which dates back to 1964, when drag racer Al Bergler won the first for his immaculate "Aggravation" AA/C dragster.

It's a '33 Ford in name only – the car was completely hand-built from the ground up. Frisbie and crew created their own custom frame from 3/16" steel and 1-½-inch diameter chromoly tubing – the same materials used today to build 300-mph Top Fuel dragsters. The beautiful ruby-red body was hand-formed from .063" inch flat aluminum panels and features a removable hardtop and one-off machined window frames. CNC-machined one-of-a-kind wheels with directional openings and custom center caps complete the low-slung machine's sleek look.

For power, the Steve’s Auto Restoration team used an all-aluminum GM Performance Anniversary Edition 427 cubic-inch big-block crate motor with aluminum heads, Holley EFI, and an EFI-2G tri-power induction system designed and built by Autotrend EFI's Dave Ehrlich. "I use Holley electronics with any EFI system I do, Ehrlich said. "I'm a stickler on that, always. I know what a Holley system can do, and I know it's going to do what it's supposed to do – every time." The block was sanded perfectly smooth and fitted with CNC-machined custom valve covers, air cleaner, and oil pan.

Underneath, the car sports an incredibly detailed independent rear suspension with remote shocks and custom-built A-arms, half-shafts, and uprights. Sanded smooth like the engine block, the GM 4L60 4-speed automatic transmission features a one-off machined oil pan. The baby-smooth rear end housing contains a third member is from an independent-rear suspension Mustang, and the exhaust is – naturally – completely custom-built, using all stainless steel pipe with machined tips.

The lush deep red leather interior includes an instrument cluster from a 1930 Nash and dome lighting first seen in 1931 Cadillacs. Plush bucket seats, custom door panels, and a hand-shaped aluminum console and unique shifter and shift linkage complete the custom interior. For a comprehensive gallery of photos of this award-winning masterwork, click here.