1956 Oldsmobile 98 Wins Sacramento Autorama Custom d’Elegance Award

The Sacramento Autorama indoor car show hosted over 500 custom vehicles and handed out over 400 individual awards during the event at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramento, California over the weekend, with Jeffery Hess and his 1956 Oldsmobile 98 taking home the Custom d’Elegance award, event organizers announced.

Other award winners included Dave Ceccanti who won “King of Kustoms” with his 1947 Buick Sedanette Super and Jerry Logan who won the H.A. Bagdasarian “World’s Most Beautiful Custom” for his 1941 Packard Convertible.

The Custom d’Elegance is given to the best chopped, channeled or sectioned vehicle appearing at the show, officials said. This year, the Oldsmobile beat five contenders, earning its owner a spot alongside industry icons such as Joe Bailon, James Hetfield and the last winner, Jeffrey Boone. Hess also received $5,000 in prize money courtesy of ARP Fasteners.

The Oldsmobile took the owner eight years to complete with the support of a team of designers, fabricators, painters, mechanics and upholsterers, Hess said, and the design of the car was penned by several students from the Pasadena Art Institute alongside owner Hess himself. From there, the crew at Pro Design Hot Rod brought the car to life with an interior by Bill’s Upholstery. The Sacramento Autorama is the grand finale for the car, which began touring in 2020, Hess said.

The Sacramento Autorama’s other top award was the “King of Kustoms,” which recognized the best 1935-1964 custom build focusing on bodylines, design, flow and quality of workmanship, show officials said. This year’s award went to Dave Ceccanti and his 1947 Buick built by Lucky 7 Customs.

“It was a thrill to return to Sacramento for the 71st installment of this long-running tradition,” said John Buck, owner of Rod Shows and producer of the Sacramento Autorama. “Some of the best customs, hot rods, lowriders and trucks we’ve ever seen turned out after a long two-year break. We couldn’t have asked for a better welcome back and look forward to many more years with the city of Sacramento.”

The “World’s Most Beautiful Custom,” presented by the family of show founder H.A. Bagdasarian, recognized the best custom car from 1936 to the present that featured a silhouette change, including a chop, channel or section. This year, that award and its $500 prize went to Jerry Logan and his 1941 Packard Convertible, designed by John d’Agostino and built by Oz Welch.

Hess and his 1956 Oldsmobile also received the Sam Barris Memorial Award, named in honor of legendary custom car builder Sam Barris, and presented to the owner of the car with the best metalwork, alignment of body panels and paint.

The Candy Apple Red Joe Bailon Award was designed and created by Bailon, a custom car designer and builder. This year, the award was presented to Joe Ortega and his 1963 Chevrolet Impala, show officials said. Ortega received the award and a $500 prize.

The Dick Bertolucci Automotive Excellence Award, given to a vehicle manufactured before 1973 and judged by the family of the late hot rod and custom builder Dick Bertolucci, was awarded to Pat Gauntt’s 1932 Ford Coupe, built by Troy Ladd’s Hollywood Hot Rods for the trophy and $500 in prize money. The car also won the Al Slonaker Memorial Award earlier this year at the Grand National Roadster Show, according to show officials.

For more information about the Sacramento Autorama and the complete list of 2022 award winners, click here.

A.J. Hecht

A.J. Hecht is the managing editor of THE SHOP and host of the In Gear with THE SHOP podcast. Have an idea, a tip, or a question you’d like to see answered? Contact A.J. at

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