Luigi Deriggi’s 1950 Mercury Custom Takes Home 2023 Ridler Award

Luigi Deriggi, and his 1950 Mercury custom nicknamed “Maximus” takes home The Meguiar’s Don Ridler Memorial Award at the Detroit Autorama in Michigan over the weekend. For owner Luigi Deriggi, it was a long-time dream fulfilled. For builder Bruce Harvey of Pro Comp Custom, it was a remarkable back-to-back Detroit Autorama victory.

Deriggi is a lifelong enthusiast with a 1941 Ford and a 1968 Mustang back home in Toms River, New Jersey. He told us that he’d wanted a ’50 Merc ever since seeing the one driven by Silvester Stallone in the 1986 movie Cobra. What he got is a far cry from the Merc we remember in the movie, but Luigi isn’t disappointed.

Pro Comp Custom is the Pittsburgh shop that built the ‘1931 Chevy coupe that went home with the 2022 Ridler Award, and applied the same extraordinary level of design and modification to this year’s winner. Since the beginning, ’50 Mercs have provided the iconic raw material for classic customs. Pro Comp made combined some of the most popular custom mods – like a 5-inch chop, shaved body panels , molded bumpers, custom taillights, and modified wheel wells – with a bunch of imaginative details – like the handbuilt grille, fabricated hood scoop, and front spoiler – carrying it all to Ridler Award level. Ultimately, the body was treated to multiple coats of Candy Root Beer paint finished off with some wild graphics.

About Al Liebmann 60 Articles
Al "Big Al" Liebmann attended his first drag race at Englishtown in 1969 and has been hooked ever since on all aspects of the sport -- competitor, participant and team member. He added hot rodding to his obsessions in 1999, and has served as a staff photographer for as well as a contributor to RacingJunk.

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