Since the initial Grand National Roadster Show in 1950, the event has received the respect and participation from the world's leading auto customizers. The show is best known for crowning the America's Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) award, and year-after-year builders bring their best customs out to compete for a shot at getting their name engraved on the historic AMBR trophy. Though it started out as an event for hot rods, many great custom trucks have been displayed there throughout the years. This year was no different, bringing some of the highest quality rides.
For the 60th anniversary of the world's longest running indoor car show, the event crew pulled out all of the stops to produce the best show ever. The highlight for this year was the "twice in a lifetime" hall that was decorated in banners and oil drums to separate spectators and vehicles just like it was done in the original days of the show. Also, the vehicles in this hall were comprised of twenty-two past AMBR winners and seventy-eight other high-profile customs from the show's history.
Building 8 of the Fairplex...
Building 8 of the Fairplex is dubbed "the Club House" during this show because it is where you can find participating car and truck clubs gathered together. This year, several members of Relaxed Atmosphere decided to invade this area of the show.
Another cool fact about this year's event is that it had by far the most vehicles in the show's history. Part of the reason this happened was due to the staff overbooking the registration by ten percent in anticipation that a few vehicles would be unable to make it. Well, this year there were no cancellations and last-minute arrangements were made to open up another hall for the wealth of vehicles. All-in-all, this show was jam-packed with kool vehicles to look at.
Twice in a Lifetime Hall
In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the GNRS, Building 9 was made to resemble the look of the shows in '50s when it was in Oakland, CA. This hall was filled with past AMBR winners and other famous vehicles that were displayed at the show in one time or another.
The Lil' Nugget F-100 was...
The Lil' Nugget F-100 was in the show during '63 & '64, and still has the its original gold flake paintjob that Larry Watson applied back then. It also still has a B&W television and record player inside of the cab, which was considered modern mobile entertainment back when the truck was built.
George Barris's A la Kart...
George Barris's A la Kart was one of a few vehicles that received the AMBR award two times in a row. Now there are rules in place that call for drastic changes in a vehicle before it can compete for the title again.
This hall brought out some...
This hall brought out some crazy customs of the '60s like this Barber Shop car creation by Joe Bailon.
The Suede Palace
The oldest hall of the Fairplex is where the various "rat' style vehicles of the show are displayed. This is where several rock-a-billy bands played throughout the event, and the '50s-style pinup contest took place.
Grand National Roadster Show
January 23-25, 2009
Los Angeles County Fairplex, Pomona, CA
Total Vehicle Entrants:
This is the show where the coveted, "America's Most Beautiful Roadster" award is announced. Though you don't get the actual trophy, your name gets placed next to many other winning customizers on the original 9 1/2-foot-tall trophy. Winning this title is so significant that it's like being inducted into a hall of fame for hot rodders. Other notable awards include the George Barris Kustom D' Elegance award, the Chip Foose Design Excellence award, the Bruce Meyer Hot Rod preservation award, the Brizio Family award, a Von Dutch Pinstriping award, and a few unique club made trophies for the winners in the Suede Palace.
Live performances by Lil' Mo & the Dynaflows, Police & Thieves, Bob Fetherlof & the Radio Club, Russell Scott & his Red Hats, RIP Carson, and the Surfing Safaris. There were also appearances by George Barris, Henry "the Fonz" Winkler & Erin "Joanie Cunningham" Moran of the television show Happy Days, Chip Foose, Lou Santiago of Garageinsidertv.com, and Michael Anthony of Van Halen. Saturday night in the Suede palace, held a special pin-up contest where girls dressed in '50s attire and competed on stage.
American Speed Company, Auto Club of Southern California, Brookeville Roadster, Hubgarage.com, K-Earth 101, KLOS 95.5, Meguiars, Peterson Automobile Museum, Pirelli, Planet Color, and Universal Technical Institute
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It's not everyday that you...
It's not everyday that you get to see a decked out '63 International Ice Cream truck. We found this one grabbing all sorts of attention in the lowrider section of the show.
Instead of having a bunch...
Instead of having a bunch of shiny chrome on Dean Johnson's '56 Chevy truck, all of the accents were given a brushed metal finish. This made for a mean overall look.
The Pinstriper Reunion During...
The Pinstriper Reunion
During the show, invited pinstripers were spotted laying down some sick lines. They all donated custom art for an auction with proceeds going to the Progera Research Foundation. Steve VanDemon lays down his mark on a gas can.
Part of the reason Robert...
Part of the reason Robert "Hoot" Gibson's Ford has been taken so far is that everything was "never good enough" for it. We think the truck is pretty flawless and a spectacle of shiny and cool parts.
Calvin Fisk' '53 Ford was...
Calvin Fisk' '53 Ford was one truck in a big group of vehicles that had to be relocated to a new hall due to the show being over booked. Though it had to be moved, it was not lacking in quality.
Inspired by a plastic model...
Inspired by a plastic model kit, Troy Ladd created this full-scale '26 roadster pickup.
Kustom D'Elegance During...
During the late '50s, Otto Rhodes finished off this '53 Ford F-100 and after it went on a tour of shows, he started a rebuild on it. Decades later, Tom and TJ, of Pagano Rods & Customs, acquired it and were able to bring it back to a show-worthy state. They didn't have much trouble doing so because 98% of the chrome held up and the original bodywork was done in lead. One of the coolest modifications we found on the truck is the Plexiglas firewall that lets you view the Oldsmobile engine from inside the cab. This truck won first place in its class and was picked by George Barris to win his Kustom D'Elegance award.
Metallica's James Hetfield...
Metallica's James Hetfield has it going on with this custom extended cab F-100. The truck placed Second in its class and won the Outstanding Paint award.
Though GM took design elements...
Though GM took design elements from '47-'55 Chevy trucks to help create the SSR, Brian Stafford felt that it didn't truly carry over enough of the classic trucks' style. So, he had the folks at Hot Rods and Stuff custom fit a front end, running boards, rear fenders, and tailgate logo from a '53 Chevy 3100 to an '03 SSR. Then they added air ride and replaced the 5.3L LS-1 with a 427ci LS-2.
With one-off wheels that resemble...
With one-off wheels that resemble those on a GT350 and a 428ci Ford Cobra Jet motor that puts out 605-ponies, this '68 F-100 goes above the norm for vehicles that replicate the style of a Shelby-made vehicle.