This is one of those DON’T MISS Shows. The Grand National Roadster Show is an entire weekend of Fuel Fed Fun. Friday set up day is probably the best day to go and see the cars rolling in and the crowds are normally not as strong. However, this year it got pretty packed on Friday. Saturday has the cars rolling in for the outdoor show and Sunday is the big day when the awards are handed out, especially for the big trophy: America’s Most Beautiful Roadster, or AMBR, pronounced Amber Winner. The trophy is a seven foot high monstrosity that is displayed proudly in the center of the hall in Building 4. Surrounding it are the contenders. Each of the cars have been massaged for at least a year and usually hundreds of thousands of dollars thrown in for good measure.
The Suede Palace
I usually start off the show by visiting my friends in the Suede Palace, or Building 10 at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. The Suede Palace is a show within the show. The cars are hand selected and have a traditional hot rod or custom vibe. It’s a big barrel roof building with vendors surrounding the interior along the walls. Max Grundy, Keith Weesner, BOMONSTER, James Owens, and many more artists are among the vendors. John from ACME always has his spot right outside the front door. They have a stage in one corner where rock-a-billy bands play all weekend long.
This year, I made a bee-line to the main building or Building 4 on the other side of the fairgrounds. I met up with Bob at CON2R, Joe at Eddie Motorsports, Troy and his son from C.W. Moss, Paul from Wheel Unique, and Ron at Cambra Speed Shop (See more from Cambra Speed Shop on BlacktopTV). Of course, I had to check out the contenders for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster including Rick Dore’s Shangri-La which was painted at Cambra’s shop. There are some great cars for sure and as we know, now, the winner is the dark blue (with orange stripe) ’31 “The Martin Special” built by local boys at Hot Rods and Hobbies. Congratulations Scott!
Outdoor Show on Saturday
Saturday the show is always a buzz with cars filling up the Fairplex between the buildings and around the vendors. There are separate awards for the drive-in participants. Galpin Auto Sports (GAS) had a great display of cool customs. One of the standouts was a black Checker Marathon wagon street rod. Jack and Jerry from the Mercifuls were hanging out in the grass next to the Suede Palace. I met up with Shiney Mike and he introduced me to our recent cover girl Sizzling Sweet Pea. Speaking of that cover, Wade’s ’50 Hemi Suburban was out there too.
What I really dig about this show is the shows within the show. Each building has a different theme. There is always a good showing of choppers too. The customs building had the Kindig custom Lincoln on display. That is such a fabulous car and different from the guys there in SLC. The Model Car Show and Contest is on Sunday. I was able to capture a couple of the entries on Saturday. The Race of Gentlemen had a wonderful display taking up half of one of the buildings. They brought out there signage and big posters, hay bales and all to give the full effect.
Not To Be Missed
As you can see, the Grand National Roadster Show is the Grand-Daddy of them all a show that is a destination for people all around the world. In-fact, we noticed that the week before and after the show there are hot rod tourists hanging out all around Southern California, many stopping by at our shop, store and office here in Orange, CA.