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!