Detroit's Autorama rescheduled for the spring


  • Courtesy of Autorama

Autorama, Detroit's long-running hot rod car show, hasn't missed a date in its 69-year history. And by rescheduling this year's show, organizers are hoping to keep that perfect streak.

The show is typically held around early March at Detroit's TCF Center. But on Tuesday, officials announced they're moving it to a later date of April 30 t0 May 2 due to the ongoing pandemic.

"Recognizing the realities of the pandemic and its danger, we worked hard with TCF to find a date that would be a safe time to hold Autorama and allow custom car enthusiasts and builders to celebrate their passion," show producer Peter A. Toundas said in a statement. "We believe this new date gives time to see the benefits of the new vaccines and to provide a more secure environment for the show."

While hopeful headlines about new vaccines are in the news — health officials in the United Kingdom started administering the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday, and Michigan officials say it could be available here as early as this month — whether or not a large event like Autorama can even be held in the spring remains to be seen.

With large events put on pause since March, the logistics of safely running one are uncharted territory here. Will only people who have had a vaccine be allowed to attend? We'll have to wait and see what officials allow.

But Autorama organizers are hopeful. Plus, competitors have had plenty of time to tinker with new designs in their garages.

"Although Autorama has always been a winter show, we feel really confident that these new dates will be successful," Toundas said. "After all, we are talking about pent up demand of more than twelve months."

Last year, the show was held in late February — weeks before many Americans had ever heard the word "coronavirus."

The annual event showcases more than 800 custom cars competing for the coveted Ridler Award. First held at the University of Detroit Field House, Autorama was later moved to what is now known as the TCF Center (formerly known as Cobo Hall) in 1961, where it became the venue's first paid public show.

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