Rob Kinnan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
November 5, 2015

Perhaps the most prestigious award in all of hot rodding is the Ridler Award, presented to the top car at the Detroit Autorama every winner. To contend for the Ridler, a car has to be beyond spectacular, for one, and it also must not have been shown anywhere else prior to the show. At the Autorama, the judges select The Great Eight, meaning the top eight cars that will vie for the coveted Ridler award. The cars are almost entirely made up of street rods, and names like Boyd, Chip, and Troy normally carry away the mammoth trophy—it’s rare for a musclecar or street machine to even be considered for the award. But that’s what happened earlier this year with Gap Racing’s ’69 Mustang SportsRoof.

We ran across Gap Racing’s Tim Palazzo protecting his beauty in the Atech Motorsports booth at SEMA, and got the low-down on his sweet ride. The car started life not as a Dynacorn body, but as a real Mach 1 that a customer gave Tim free reign with to do whatever he wanted. The ’69 was widened and lowered on Air Ride bags, and features a huge 572 cubic-inch Kaase Boss 429 with eight-stack fuel injection. The entire front clip of the car is all carbon fiber, with a combination of parts from Anvil and Ringbrothers, and it’s all covered in a beautiful shade of PPG that Tim calls Super Blue. The stitchless (as in there are no stitches in the upholstery) interior has all the modern conveniences like navigation and dual-zone climate control, and underneath is a full belly pan. Tim said, “We 3-D printed a lot of parts, and every inch of the car we touched and modified.”

While the car didn’t win the Ridler, it is most certainly one of the nicest rides in the entire SEMA Show…and that’s saying a lot!