2024 Detroit Autorama Ridler Winning ’53 Corvette

Owned by Dave & Tracey Maxwell & Built By Kindig-It Design, TwelveAir Arrives

By Brian Brennan   –   Photography By Eric Geisert

The 71st Annual Detroit Autorama is wrapping up, and we now know who has taken home the Don Ridler Memorial Award. From out of the Great 8, the ’53 Corvette “Corvair Concept” belonging to Dave and Tracey Maxwell of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and built by Dave Kindig and his staff at Kindig-It Design has taken home the top honors in the form of the Ridler-winning car, which includes the nifty trophy and the $10,000 check.

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02 2024 detroit autorama ridler winner twelveAir corvette kindig

1953 Corvette – Inspiration for this year’s Ridler-winning ’53 Corvette was hatched back at the 1954 General Motor “Motorama” presentation, which saw three cars introduced. One was “The Corvair,” not the Ralph Nadar punching bag, but the one that was the basis for the Corvette that would be unveiled in several more years.

03 2024 detroit autorama ridler winner twelveAir corvette kindig

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Ridler Winning Corvette – Kindig found inspiration from this early pre-Corvette but also from other European and American designs. Note the top on this all-aluminum bodied Corvette (a deviation from the fiberglass body) is the roof which does have a hint of Dodge Viper. The tail of this Ridler-winning Corvette also features the modern Aston Martin tapering rear sheetmetal and, are you ready, the Porsche 911 headlight design.

04 2024 detroit autorama ridler winner twelveAir corvette kindig

The 3003TO and 6061 aluminum panels were all hand-formed from scratch and then shaped into what you see before you. The color of the ’53 Corvette, TwelveAir, is painted in Modern Classikk by Kindig using AkzoNobel Infrared and then accented with Sagebrush.

05 2024 detroit autorama ridler winner twelveAir corvette kindig

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LS V-12 – The powerplant comes from a custom-built all-aluminum 9.2L LS V-12 that is naturally aspirated and built by Race Cast Engineering. Linked to the V-12 is a Corvette C7 transaxle. From here the handbuilt stainless-steel headers are three into two then two into one collector. The custom swept 4-inch exhaust is painted to match the color below the bodylines, and then slipfit joints are used with an integrated muffler.

06 2024 detroit autorama ridler winner twelveAir corvette kindig

The suspension is Indy-car inspired and wrapped around a single lateral coilover cantilever pushrod design. Braking is none other than Wilwood Aero6 R fronts and Aero4 rears coupled with custom hats, and hand polished stainless-steel drilled and slotted rotors. The wheels are one-off customs from EVOD that were designed by Kindig and measure 20×8 in the front and 21×12 in the rear. The rubber is supplied by Michelin Pilot Sport 4s that measure 345/30R20 in front and 345/25R21 in back.

07 2024 detroit autorama ridler winner twelveAir corvette kindig

The interior is a Sienna leather stitched by JS Custom Interiors with a 3D printed dash, console, and inserts. Note the use of Ambient lighting. The required wiring comes from Haltec Nexus VCU with CAN Bus-designed wiring.

08 2024 detroit autorama ridler winner twelveAir corvette kindig

We are sure you will see lots more of this one-of-a-kind ’53 Corvette in the months ahead. Let’s look forward to it being at the Triple Crown of Rodding event coming the weekend after Labor Day at the Nashville Superspeedway.

09 2024 detroit autorama ridler winner twelveAir corvette kindig

“Hats off” to Dave Kindig and Kindig-It Design for truly building a car worthy of the lofty title as the winner of the Don Ridler Memorial Award for 2024. MR

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