Bobby Alloway gained his love of cars from his father who after retiring from a long term well digger career went to work as a local car salesman. Eventually and because of his love of cars, Bobby landed a job with a local Ford dealership and worked as service manager for 16 years. When the philosophy of that dealership began moving from serious customer service to placing all their resources toward moving vehicles in volume out the door, he felt the culture of the company did not fit with his beliefs and began seeking a change. Luckily, Bobby had a side job that turned into an illustrious career move for him.
For several years, he had been building from ground-up street rod project builds. While still with the dealership he won the coveted Ridler Award with his ’33 Ford Victoria Altered Street Sedan in 1985. The Ridler Award, sponsored by Meguier’s was named after Don Ridler who was hired in the 50’s to help promote the Detroit Autorama, and soon enthusiasts flocked to the event held at the Cobo Hall at the Michigan State Fairgrounds to see some of the wildest hot rods that cruised the streets of the Motor City. After passing away at an early age, the Ridler Award was established in Don’s memory. Since it has grown to be one of the most illustrious awards given in the indoor custom car show industry. The winners also receive a $10,000 cash prize, and entries must be making their first official showing at the Detroit Autorama. Best in Show Ridler Awards are judged on creativity, engineering, and quality workmanship.
After the success of his win at the Autorama, Bobby began building even more ground up project builds and as his reputation grew, the idea of going into the business of building ground-up projects full time got stronger and in 1991 he opened Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop. He has won almost every award there is to win including Battle of the Builders at SEMA, America’s Most Beautiful Roadsters, is in the Hot Rod Hall of Fame, IHRA Hall of Fame, and his builds have been featured on the covers of almost every magazine among the endemic press.
Bobby has a very strong work ethic and his business philosophy when it comes to his parts suppliers is that the products are no better than the people who sell them. When he finds a supplier who does what they say they will do, provides immediate customer support and deliver parts on time every time, that supplier has his loyalty. That’s why he has used American Powertrain exclusively for all of the manual transmissions he installs in his builds for the past five years, which is typically three to five per year for customers from across the country.
Bobby also serves on a number of builder panels, one at the SEMA Show and one at Detroit Autorama each year, and he does so in order to help preserve the influence of project builders in the industry by working with the youth who will be the future of the business.