After dragging our jaws around the floor of the Cobo Center for a few hours Blair said before we left AutoRama we had to go downstairs to check out the other part of the show.
Not knowing there was a down stairs I was pretty intrigued by what else the Detroit AutoRama had to offer.
On the escalator ride down to the lower level a sign that read “Autorama Extreme” caught my eye and instantly my years of exposure to heavy handed ‘Xtreme’ marketing tactics guarded me for the worst.
Once we got downstairs however all of my fears of something awful were put to rest because one could argue that the downstairs portion of Autorama is the shows best attraction.
That’s not to say upstairs wasn’t enjoyable, it was, downstairs was just… different.
As soon as we stepped off the escalator it was almost sensory overload.
There were cars (and people) as far as the eye could see packed into a relatively small area (in comparison to the almost never ending upstairs), and in addition to the sea of cars there was a band playing to the left, cars having their roofs chopped directly ahead, people drinking to the right, and pin up clad women interspersed amongst the rest of the beautiful chaos.
Unlike the cars upstairs polished chrome and mile deep clear was a rarity down in the basement, taking a back seat to metal flake, custom lettering, patina, and rust.
The vehicles –several of which I couldn’t identify outside a few parts– had so much character that I had a hard time stopping at one long enough to take a photo without getting distracted by the hidden details of another.
While people upstairs preoccupied themselves with how their judging was going, downstairs the crowd seemed more concerned with what the band was playing than any sort of awards.
In fact people seemed to be genuinely more interested in sharing stories of what happened between the last time they had seen each other than the cars all around.
Basically what I am trying to say is that if the spirit of the H.A.M.B. could ever be bottled up into a room this was it and it was awesome.