The GNRS is now in its 68th year, “The Grand Daddy of Them All” was presented by Meguiar’s Premium Car Care Products. Once known as the Oakland Roadster Show, it is the longest running indoor car show in the world! Produced on January 27th through 29th, 2017 at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. for the 14th consecutive year.
The show hosted many exhibits, vendors’ booths, custom and traditional cars, motorcycles, trucks and other vehicles. Also included were automotive displays, race cars, the pinstripers’ gathering, the Hall of Fame banquet and the Pin-Up contest.
If you missed it then you missed a fantastic car show. It’s actually much more than a car show; it’s a car EVENT. Owner John Buck filled 7 large buildings with, show cars, customs, hot rods, motorcycles, traditional rods, woodies, race cars, pedal cars, dragsters, bicycles, and muscle cars.
There is so much to see and so much to do that it’s impossible to see everything. In Building 4 are the America’s Most Beautiful Roadsters, or AMBR cars. They are roadsters that literally take your breath away with their design and beauty.
Nearby were the main sponsors, including all the big names in car products. The Pinstriper’s Charity Auction and action is also located there. Experienced and novice pinstripers are invited to the GNRS and are a crowd favorite. The pinstripers also held an auction of their work and donate the proceeds to charity.
Special guests on hand include; DJ Vick Slick, Ray Everham, Bodie, Electric Grease, the Eliminators, DJ Axle, and the Mighty Mojo Prophets. On Saturday there is a special drive-in for 400+ Hot Rods, Kustoms, and Race vehicles. It’s the perfect place to park your car, set up some lawn chairs and talk to the spectators.
The cars are parked around the buildings at the Fairplex and all the activity is around you. With the show theme in mind, “The Magic Happens Here”, building 8 had a display of Gassers and other racing cars that competed on drag strips and oval tracks.
For the children (and the child in all of us) there was the model car contest and these small cars are every bit as beautiful as the big cars.
If you missed it then you missed a fantastic car show. It’s actually much more than a car show; it’s a car EVENT
In the Suede Palace there were the traditional hot rods and cars. Traditional means the “old style,” but it is a term that can be broken up into all sorts of designations from cars that are painted and chromed to those that are only primered or rusting. There is no end to the creativeness and imagination when artists in metal and engines put their mind to using metal as the template for their projects.
The music in the Suede Palace is loud and rhythmic. The vendors are avant garde and edgy in their goods, but friendly and glad to tell you about their lifestyle. But the hit of the event was held in Building 9 where some 80 or more “Tri-Fives” (’55, ’56, & ’57 Chevys) were on display.
Sunday evening will bring recognition for America’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle and a hundred other awards but the one all of us have come to see is the crowning of America’s Most Beautiful Roadster.
Grand Daddy Drive-In
Over 500 show vehicles will compete for awards inside all of the Fairplex buildings. Another 400+ vehicles will join the event Saturday & Sunday for the 12th Annual Grand Daddy Drive-In. Vehicles will park between buildings as part of the show. Bring your car to next years’ Grand Daddy Drive in.
60th Anniversary of Tri-Five Chevys
The special feature in building 9 was the exhibit of 80+ ’55,’56, & ’57 Chevy’s.
The Suede Palace
Features “Traditional” hot rods and their culture. The music was great!
Charity Pinstriping Auction
Watch and bid on artwork created by the best pinstripers in the nation at the Pinstriper’s Charity Auction. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to Teen Challenge International.
Thanks for the Show!!
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the January 2018 print issue of the Drive Magazine.
A special part of the GNRS (Grand National Roadster Show) is the competition for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR). It is this category that draws the most interest. This award is a prize that many have sought and only a few have attained. Past winners have included Blackie Gejeian, Romeo Palamides, Rich Guasco, George Barris, Leroy “Tex” Smith, Andy Brizio, Boyd Coddington, Erik Hansen and three-time winner Ermie Immerso. The list of builders and owners are legendary.
in the year 2017, 13 roadsters were allowed into this special category of judging. That year the AMBR award was presented by the L.A. Roadsters Club. Here are the contestants and their cars for the 2017 AMBR event.
Right from the very beginning in 1949, there has been a top category for outstanding and breathtaking roadsters
The 2017 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster winner was, this deserving ’36 Packard roadster called “The Mulholland Speedster” and owned by Bruce Wanta of Bellevue, WA.
Hollywood Hot Rods customized the original Packard to give it that ‘30’s European styling and curvy lines.
The winter grille and the suspension are all controlled by Smartphone apps giving this one-of-a-kind roadster a healthy dose of modern technology.
The power comes from a 292 cubic inch Lincoln V-12 with Hogan aluminum heads used for the Latham-Hogan supercharger.
This year, 13 roadsters were allowed into this special category of judging
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the May 2017 print issue of the Drive Magazine.
Once known as the Oakland Roadster Show, the Grand National Roadster Show is the longest running indoor car show in the world! Now in its 13th consecutive year in year 2016 at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. The biggest prize at the show is AMBR.
In Building 4 were 13 roadsters that literally took your breath away with their design and beauty. They were the competitors for the prestigious America’s Most Beautiful Roadster, a 9-½ foot high trophy that many have sought over the years and only a few have attained.
The list of builders and owners are legendary and the amounts of money, time and talent go beyond what the average hot rodder is capable of doing. Yet sometimes for the average car guy it is hard to judge a beauty contest since all the entrants are “winners” in their own right. The judges have to look everywhere to spot a flaw in the most unobservable locations in order to come up with the winning entry.
Sunday evening, the last day of this three-day event, brings the award and crowning of America’s Most Beautiful Roadster. Last year in 2015 Larry Olson took home the honors with his black and very flamed 1933 Ford roadster built at Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop. Many knowledgeable show goers were picking their favorites. Undoubtedly many of them had Darryl Hollenbeck as the winner this year.
You could see the camps aligning all weekend with many thinking the Tom Lieb 1929 Ford highboy roadster was the favorite, while others had the notion it would be another roadster as the frontrunner.
Other top picks included Chris Evans and his powder blue (BLUBYU: read carefully!) 1931 Ford roadster; yet others were enamored by James Hetfield’s rarely seen 1934 Packard roadster. This was a stellar field of 13 that caused the judges to take a long look, and then a second and third and it still wasn’t an easy decision, but everyone knew one hot rodder was going home very happy.
James Hetfield presented his silver-toned ’34 Packard with a detachable hardtop; Gary Matranga’s AMERICAN ICE ’32 Ford with a 401 c.i. Hemi; Tom Lieb’s all black AV8 ’29 Ford; Darryl Hollenbeck’s traditional looking ’32 Ford with a cloth top; Chris Evans’ BLUE BAYOU ’31 Ford Model-A; Maureen Magnuson’s ’32 Ford; Jon Wright’s TRIBUTE all black custom chrome ’36 Ford flattie with white sidewalls; Phillip Ray’s NUGGET light gold ’33 Ford with a modern roadster look; Dean and Tammy Scott’s ’32 Ford; Jack Stirnemann’s blue ’31 Ford with a cloth top and gold rims; and Ron Simm’s THE SALT SCORPION ’31 Ford pickup with a cloth top that ran at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1957.
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the May 2016 print issue of the Drive Magazine.
For 52 years it has been a tradition to go to the Father’s Day Show & Swap. Referred to as “The Largest Roadster Show on Earth,” in 2016, it attracted almost 700 roadsters from various places around the world a week before the event. People spent time with friends, visited local hot rod shops and hang-outs, and went to special picnics created just for roadster fans before attending the show, where all roadsters enter free, get a free barbecue dinner—and on Sunday folks even received a custom pewter mug.
The main event for the spectators opened on Saturday and the swap meet and pre-’75 specialty car parking lots were “overflowing” with more than 2000 cars and more good stuff than can be seen in a week. Vendors and sponsors lined the midway and into Building 4, which was air-conditioned and comfortable. While it was hot, it wasn’t unbearable outside and there were plenty of tents to provide shade.
The 50th anniversary highboy roadster, which was a tribute to the McGee/Scritchfield/Meyer Deuce highboy used as the L.A.- Roadster club logo, was auctioned at Barrett Jackson in Scottsdale, AZ earlier in the year. All proceeds from the sale went to the Alex Xydias Center (AXC) for Automotive Arts.
Special thanks to L.A. Roadster members that do so much for so many of us: Board member Mort Smith, Lynn Houchin who is in charge of the vendors and sponsors, Dick Bergren, a Lifetime Member, and John Buck, who is always helpful (Buck also owns and promotes the Grand National Roadster Show each January). Kudos and gratitude also to Tom Thibodeaux, the club Secretary, John Kiley, the club President, John and Anna Corno, hardworking members who assist with registration and other duties, Rich and Linda Boyd who created the beautiful program, Jeff Tann the club vice president, Doyle Gammell, the treasurer, Carl Maurizi, the Show Chairman, who did a fantastic job coordinating the event, and David Kiley, the Co-Chairman.
In addition to the fantastic vehicles, there was a tremendous variety of merchandise for sale at the event. Tom Fritz was there with his art booth. Darrell D. Mayabb (aka C. Cruz) was also there. And let’s not forget the dozen or more Nitro burning dragsters lighting them up for the nostalgia drag racing fans!
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