Detroit Autorama 2024 Showcases Automotive Excellence and Ingenuity

Showstoppers of Detroit Autorama 2024: The trailblazing TwelveAir by Kindig, Steve Sheats' iconic 1959 Corvette, and Dean Arnold's Avelate anniversary marvel.
Showstoppers of Detroit Autorama 2024: The trailblazing TwelveAir by Kindig, Steve Sheats’ iconic 1959 Corvette, and Dean Arnold’s Avelate anniversary marvel.

By: Wayne Ellwood

I will say that this year’s Detroit Autorama 2024 was the best in the last few years. First, two Corvettes made it to GREAT 8, and one was selected as the RIDLER winner. Dave Kindig’s “TwelveAir,” a masterpiece from Kindigit Design, was up against tough competition, but the depth of the new design and new technologies included in the car sealed the deal. TwelveAir is a huge step both in conceptual terms and in execution, showcasing the innovative capabilities of Kindigit Design at the Detroit Autorama 2024.

There are two other cars worthy of special mention. These include the 1959 GREAT 8 Corvette of Steve Sheats from Henderson (CO).

Also, we have some special coverage for the 1953 50th Anniversary custom-built by Dean Arnold of Hastings (Grand Rapids, MI) area. Arnold’s creation, part of his AVELATE series, was another standout at the Detroit Autorama 2024, underlining his craftsmanship and innovative approach. It’s another variant on his AVELATE series.

SPECIAL FEATURES

RIDLER WINNER “TwelveAir” by KINDIGIT DESIGN

Five years in the making, TwelveAir emerges as a closely guarded secret to take the Ridler Award by storm.

At its core, TwelveAir is a quantum re-visioning of GM’s 1954 concept, the iconic “Corvair” concept car from 1954. The Corvair” was one of three concepts based on the 1953 Corvette. It featured a fastback design, which took the car community by storm.

TwelveAir is a scratch-built all-aluminum body powered by a custom-built V12 engine featuring an F1-style mono-spring suspension. EVOD Industries (manufacturers of many of Dave’s custom wheels for the CF-1 series) made hundreds of parts from suspension, wheels, steering wheel, and many other parts, including every exposed bolt on the car. While there are obvious visual similarities to the CF-1 series, the new design elements are a huge step forward….and it’s hard to find huge steps when you’re already running with the top dogs.

For five years, the TwelveAir was a closely guarded secret. Kindig-it Design brought this all-new car to the Detroit Autormara 2024 without a word of warning and in complete secrecy. Of course, secrecy is essential. To be eligible for the prestigious Ridler Award, a car must never have been shown before or seen in media…period. Posts by friends and neighbors would be enough to kill the entry. Fortunately, there were no hiccups…job well done!

Dave Kindig told us that he was thrilled to finally unveil the results of their passion and dedication: “TwelveAir… What began as a dream has become a reality, thanks to our wonderful clients Dave and Tracey Maxwell from Saltsburg (PA)”. Dave credits their trust in all the partners in the project for the successful completion of this new masterpiece.

TwelveAir's debut: A moment where history and innovation converge, setting the Detroit Autorama abuzz.
TwelveAir’s debut: A moment where history and innovation converge, setting the Detroit Autorama abuzz.
Redefining custom luxury with TwelveAir's F1-style mono-spring suspension, showcased at the Detroit Autorama.
Redefining custom luxury with TwelveAir’s F1-style mono-spring suspension, showcased at the Detroit Autorama.
Under the hood: The heart of TwelveAir, a custom-built V12 engine, powering a new era of custom automotive excellence
Under the hood: The heart of TwelveAir, a custom-built V12 engine, powering a new era of custom automotive excellence.
Every curve, every bolt, a story: TwelveAir's meticulous details, many parts were crafted by EVOD Industries, shine at Detroit Autorama."
Every curve, every bolt, a story: TwelveAir’s meticulous details, many parts were crafted by EVOD Industries, shine at Detroit Autorama.
Not just a car, but a revolution: TwelveAir's innovative all-aluminum body and design philosophy in full display."
Not just a car, but a revolution: TwelveAir’s innovative all-aluminum body and design philosophy in full display.
TwelveAir: A masterpiece blending 1954 Corvair inspiration with modern innovation, unveiled at Detroit Autorama 2024.
TwelveAir: A masterpiece blending 1954 Corvair inspiration with modern innovation, unveiled at Detroit Autorama 2024.
From dream to reality: The all-aluminum TwelveAir, a testament to Kindig-It Design's craftsmanship, debuts in secrecy."
From dream to reality: The all-aluminum TwelveAir, a testament to Kindig-It Design’s craftsmanship, debuts in secrecy.
Luxury redefined: TwelveAir's seats, enveloped in Sienna leather, offering unparalleled comfort and elegance.
Luxury redefined: TwelveAir’s seats, enveloped in Sienna leather, offering unparalleled comfort and elegance.
Elegance meets performance: Inside TwelveAir's custom cabin, where luxury and technology intertwine.
Elegance meets performance: Inside TwelveAir’s custom cabin, where luxury and technology intertwine.
Precision meets style: The TwelveAir's steering wheel, a masterpiece of custom design and craftsmanship.
Precision meets style: The TwelveAir’s steering wheel is a masterpiece of custom design and craftsmanship.
The journey from a guarded secret to Ridler Award winner: TwelveAir's unveiling marks a milestone in automotive artistry.
The journey from a guarded secret to Ridler Award winner: TwelveAir’s unveiling marks a milestone in automotive artistry.
A leap forward in custom automotive design: TwelveAir challenges the norms with its groundbreaking features at the Detroit Autorama.
A leap forward in custom automotive design: TwelveAir challenges the norms with its groundbreaking features at the Detroit Autorama.
Celebrating the collaboration that brought TwelveAir to life: A dream realized for Dave and Tracey Maxwell.
Celebrating the collaboration that brought TwelveAir to life: A dream realized for Dave and Tracey Maxwell.
A new benchmark in custom car design: TwelveAir's fusion of classic cues and futuristic vision dazzles onlookers.
A new benchmark in custom car design: TwelveAir’s fusion of classic cues and futuristic vision dazzles onlookers.

1959 Corvette, GREAT 8, by Steve Sheats

A Gleaming Artifact of Custom Craftsmanship

This 1959 custom was a candidate in the competition for the GREAT 8 award and did quality. It is an impressive custom, but, as we saw, the surprises came from deep out of left field. Fortunately, Steve would be going home with a GREAT 8 win. That’s a huge pat on the back for anyone.

Steve is the owner of TRUE COLORS CUSTOMS in Hendeson (CO). The body has been heavily modified to include widened quarter panels. Hood plenum openings, flared doors, tucked bumper coves modified to act as heat extractors, and front and rear brake ducting. The engine is a 427 Lingenfelter LS7 making 700 HP. The engine features several dress-up and performance items, including an XR carbon fiber cross-ram, polished and brushed block, water pump, and heads. The transmission is a T58 magnum 6-speed and has been polished and brushed.

Steve’s car rides on a boxed Art Morrison chassis with the welds being smoothed and painted in XSive blood orange paint. Schott wheels are one-off and have a deep dish split 10-spoke design with hidden lugs and orange anodized wheel nuts. The interior was done in gray leather and orange suede by Randy’s Upholstery. Grue Colors Customs did paint. It is a custom PPG mix called XSive Blood Orange, and the emblems are air-brushed.

Highlighting the heart of the Corvette, this photo focuses on the 427 Lingenfelter LS7 engine, adorned with a carbon fiber cross-ram, and boasting an impressive 700 HP.
Highlighting the heart of the Corvette, this photo focuses on the 427 Lingenfelter LS7 engine, adorned with a carbon fiber cross-ram, and boasting an impressive 700 HP.
This photo captures the 1959 Corvette's stunning presence, fresh off its GREAT 8 win at the Detroit Autorama 2024, showcasing the XSive Blood Orange paint that sets it apart.
This photo captures the 1959 Corvette’s stunning presence, fresh off its GREAT 8 win at the Detroit Autorama 2024, showcasing the XSive Blood Orange paint that sets it apart.
Attention to Detail: A Masterpiece Down to the Trunk
Attention to Detail: A Masterpiece Down to the Trunk
Under the Hood: A Powerhouse Revealed
Under the Hood: A Powerhouse Revealed
Steve Sheat’s 1959 Custom Corvette: Gleaming Craftsmanship
Steve Sheat’s 1959 Custom Corvette: Gleaming Craftsmanship
This angle offers a closer look at the widened quarter panels, hood plenum openings, and flared doors, illustrating the Corvette's aerodynamic modifications designed for both beauty and performance.
This angle offers a closer look at the widened quarter panels, hood plenum openings, and flared doors, illustrating the Corvette’s aerodynamic modifications designed for both beauty and performance.

1953 C1-styled “50th ANNIVERSARY AVELATE”, By Dean Arnold

Dean Arnold is a long-time custom car builder and manufacturer. We’re doing a special on Dean in a future issue of Vette Vus Magazine, so we’ll go light on the history and highlight this 2003 Tribute to the 1953 C1 Corvette. This car is just one in a series of cars based on the AVELATE design. Others include the split window C5, a C5-based convertible, which uniquely interprets the one design theme. The original AVELATE was a joint project with Don Johnson as the designer. It was introduced around 2011 and designed to be built as a coupe (split window) or convertible.

A stunning tribute to the 1953 C1 Corvette, this masterpiece dazzles at the Detroit Autorama 2024, showcasing Dean Arnold’s remarkable vision and dedication to the Corvette legacy.
A stunning tribute to the 1953 C1 Corvette, this masterpiece dazzles at the Detroit Autorama 2024, showcasing Dean Arnold’s remarkable vision and dedication to the Corvette legacy.
The interior of this custom Corvette is a testament to craftsmanship and attention to detail, offering a contemporary homage to the iconic design elements of the 1953 C1 Corvette.
The interior of this custom Corvette is a testament to craftsmanship and attention to detail, offering a contemporary homage to the iconic design elements of the 1953 C1 Corvette.
Captured from a different angle, the intricate details and sleek lines of this custom Corvette come to life, embodying a perfect blend of classic elegance and modern flair.
Captured from a different angle, the intricate details and sleek lines of this custom Corvette come to life, embodying a perfect blend of classic elegance and modern flair.
Under the hood lies the heart of innovation: a meticulously engineered powertrain that propels this tribute Corvette into the future, while honoring its storied past.
Under the hood lies the heart of innovation: a meticulously engineered powertrain that propels this tribute Corvette into the future, while honoring its storied past.

As the 2024 Detroit Autorama wraps up, it’s clear that this event has once again surpassed expectations, showcasing the unparalleled creativity, engineering, and passion that define the automotive customizing world. With the spotlight on groundbreaking projects like Dave Kindig’s “TwelveAir,” a reimagination of the iconic Corvair concept, and other remarkable builds like Steve Sheats’ 1959 Corvette and Dean Arnold’s 50th Anniversary Avelate, this year’s Autorama has set a new benchmark for innovation and excellence in automotive design.

The Ridler Award’s prestige and the intense competition for the Great 8 accolades remind us of the dedication and talent within the custom car community. Dave Kindig’s TwelveAir not only pays homage to historical designs but also pushes the boundaries of modern engineering and aesthetics, earning its place in the spotlight. Similarly, the artistry and craftsmanship displayed by Steve Sheats and Dean Arnold exemplify the spirit of Autorama, where every detail matters and every creation tells a unique story.

This event is not just a competition; it’s a celebration of automotive culture, a testament to the builders’ imagination, and a gathering place for enthusiasts who share a common passion for all things cars. As we look back on the 2024 Detroit Autorama, we’re reminded of the incredible journey from conceptual sketches to gleaming show cars, a journey fueled by passion, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of perfection.

To the builders, congratulations on achieving excellence.

And, here’s to continuing the tradition of excellence and to the anticipation of what next year will bring. The road ahead is as exciting as the vehicles that grace it, and we can’t wait to see where it leads.

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Take a trip down memory lane and enjoy some of the Corvette from 2017’s Detroit Autorama in this article: Unveiling the Spectacular Corvettes Show Cars at 2017 Detroit Autorama

Dave Kindig 1953 Corvette Concept Debut

Check Out Dave Kindig’s 1953 CF1 Corvettes At SEMA 2022!

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