“Gold Digger,” a stunning 1933 Ford Phaeton sporting a gleaming gold PPG finish, was named the winner of this year’s coveted Ridler Award. The honor, regarded among the most prestigious in the world of custom cars, was announced at the 58th Detroit Autorama at Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit.
The car is owned by Tammy Ray of Dahlonega, Ga., making her the first woman to win the celebrated prize, according to a press release.
Ray has been a hot rod and custom car fan for 12 years. This was her second entry in the Ridler Award contest. In 2006, she made the cut and reached the “Great Eight” Ridler finalist competition, but missed the big prize. This time her entry was a success.
“When they announced the award, I was so excited I was literally breathless,” she said. “We worked on this car for two-and-a-half years. I own a gold mine in Georgia and I wanted the car to be really gold in color. I picked PPG paint because the builder said he likes to use it for the ease of mixing the colors to get what I want.”
Gold Digger was built by Ted Thomas of T & T Customs, in Canton, Ga. Thomas and his crew selected PPG’s Vibrance Collection coatings to give the car its glowing look. The shop then applied its own twist to the yellows and Crystal Pearl coatings to create the car’s distinctly radiant gold luster, the release stated.
“We’ve been using PPG products for almost 20 years,” said Thomas. “I knew I could get the custom finish Tammy wanted with the Vibrance Collection. It’s real user-friendly and gave us the rich color the car deserved.”
In addition to its show-stopping exterior, Gold Digger’s custom-built features include a fully independent suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, inboard disc brakes, bright work and a digital dash.
Established in 1964, the Ridler Award, officially known as the Don Ridler Memorial Award, was named after the man who turned the Detroit Autorama into the nation’s premier custom car show.
The Ridler Award involves a series of sub-competitions. Cars must debut at the Detroit Autorama and be selected to compete-this year 33 cars made the cut. From that field, eight cars are chosen as finalists-the “Great Eight”-and receive $1,000. The winning car is selected from the final group.
The owner receives a check for $10,000, along with a special embroidered jacket and the greater prize of the Ridler Award trophy.