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The Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS) in its 67th year

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.

’32 Ford

’32 Ford
Winner, Darryl Hollenbeck’s ’32 Ford from Concord, CA., a strange but alluring creamy green colored roadster that had that comfortable, old soft shoe feel.
’31 Ford pickup
Ron Simm’s “Salt Scorpion” ’31 Ford pickup.

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.

Lush powder-blue 1931 Ford
Chris Evans from Scottsdale, AZ, with a lush powder-blue 1931 Ford.
’31 Ford
The Stirnemann Bros. brought a blue ’31 Ford.
’32 Ford
“American Ice”, Gary Matranga’s clean ’32 Ford.
’32 Ford roadster pickup
Westley Rawlins, from Charlotte, NC, showcased a ’32 Ford roadster pickup.
1934 Packard roadster
James Hetfield’s 1934 Packard roadster.
 ’32 Ford
Dean and Tammy Scott’s ’32 Ford from Grass Valley, CA.
 ’36 Ford
Jeff Romig’s “Long Beach Legend” stretched ’36 Ford.
1932 Ford (Muroc)
Maureen Magnuson’s Chip Foose-built 1932 Ford (Muroc) from Ventura, CA.
’33 Ford
Phillip Ray’s “Nugget” light gold ’33 Ford from Montara, CA.
The larger than life AMBR trophy.
The larger than life AMBR trophy.
All black ’36 Ford.
Jon Wright’s “Tribute” all black ’36 Ford.
blue 1929 Ford highboy
Tom Lieb’s blue 1929 Ford highboy from Redondo Beach, CA.

The Year 2016’s Entrants

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.


The Largest Roadster Show on Earth

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.


Car clubs, from the San Francisco area, lined up their roadsters.
Car clubs, from the San Francisco area, lined up their roadsters.

Car clubs, from the San Francisco area, lined up their roadsters.

The Brizio built roadsters
The Brizio built roadsters making their presence felt..

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!

Car clubs lined up their roadsters.

The 50th anniversary hiboy roadster
The 50th anniversary hiboy roadster which was a tribute to the McGee/Scritchfield/Meyer Deuce highboy used as the club logo.

1932 Tudors & Fordors

1932 Tudors & Fordors
Ford’s European factories built 1932 Tudors & Fordors. This is one with unique features like  dual gloveboxes, suicide doors (3” longer), side rear window (5” shorter), raised–panel hood sides, and Marchal headlights.

’46 Chevy COE

’46 Chevy COE runs blown Kieth Black power, a ’57 Chevy steering wheel
This unique ’46 Chevy COE runs blown Kieth Black power, a ’57 Chevy steering wheel and is owned by Craig Hahs of Upland, CA.

Zipper Motors new straight axeled “gasser”

Zipper Motors new straight axeled “gasser”
Zipper Motors new straight axeled “gasser”.
502 Chevy powered ’32 Ford Highboy
This 502 Chevy powered ’32 Ford Highboy belongs to Joe Blatner from Portland, OR.
’33 Ford
David & Dianna Smith from Sedalia, MO. used a truck grille to give their ’33 Ford a unique look.
’32 Ford B-400
Along with Danny Burroughs and his small block Chevy powered, very rare, ’32 Ford B-400, he was joined by his dad Bruce in his roadster pickup and his mom Kay in her roadster as they drove 2,000 miles from Spring, TX!
HOT ’57 Chevy 210 Bel Air
Mike brought his HOT ’57 Chevy 210 Bel Air sporting an injected big block.

HOT ’57 Chevy 210 Bel Air

’57 Ford Fairlane 500
A very clean ’57 Ford Fairlane 500 with a supercharged, 32 valve, overhead cam, Ford motor. Nice sleeper!
Ed Justice (L) with Mooneyes’ Chico Kodama.
Ed Justice (L) with Mooneyes’ Chico Kodama.
Famous landspeed record holder Al Teague
Famous landspeed record holder Al Teague drove his “Spirit of ‘76” to a record of 409.98 mph in 1991.
Inside building 4 of 52ND ANNUAL L.A. ROADSTERS SHOW & SWAP
Inside building 4.
vintage nitro burning dragsters
The vintage nitro burning dragsters performed their “Cacklefest” several times a day.