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As Good As It Gets

The 70th Grand National Roadster Show, Pomona, C.A.

by Greg Stokes

The world’s longest running indoor show celebrated its 70th birthday over the last weekend of January 2019 in Pomona, California, USA.

The Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS) didn’t just turn 70; it also enjoyed a very high attendance due to the diverse quality the show offers.

Considered to be the greatest indoor hot rod and custom car show on earth, the GNRS attracts visitors from all over the world. To cut to the chase, the GNRS is as good as it gets!

Three years ago the New Zealand hot rod industry was represented by John Reid of Rods by Reid in Tauranga who displayed a super trick 1933 Ford roadster they had built for Steve Payne. The car won its class which is a huge achievement at an event which is considered the Superbowl of hot rodding! This year at the 70th GNRS there was another New Zealand element with elocal’s Greg Stokes of GMS Hot Rods, being asked to join the judging panel for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR). “At first I thought someone was pranking me, but it was too good an opportunity to turn down. The AMBR award has been contested since 1950 and there’s considerable history attached to the nine foot tall trophy”, says Greg.

This year there were 14 cars contending for the big trophy and each of those cars were finished to an incredible standard. There were nine judges coming from all corners of the hot rod industry and the judging process was intense with much consideration taken towards, design, themes, finish and detail. “Each of the 14 cars were winners in their own right, but it comes down to what makes for a beautiful roadster in terms of design and style and fit and finish”, says Greg. George Poteet’s 1936 Ford roadster built by Pinkee’s Rod Shop in Colorado became a clear winner. Despite what the event title says, the Grand National Roadster Show is a whole lot more than just roadsters. Spanning over six buildings of the Pomona Fairplex, the GNRS features all types of hot rods, customs, low riders, custom VW’s, muscle cars, street machines and race cars. There’s over 800 vehicles displayed indoors and about the same again drive in for the daily drive in outdoor car show aspect of it all. One building is dedicated to nostalgia and traditional hot rodding and the culture associated to it and that building is named the Suede Palace. This year in Building 9 was the 90th Anniversary of the Model A Ford display which featured just over 100 Model A Ford hot rods which were either historically significant or just plain cool. It was a popular attraction to the show. To conclude, the Grand National Roadster Show is certainly very much a bucket list event, even if you only make it once in your lifetime, you won’t be disappointed. The Grand National Roadster show offers something for everyone including live bands, trade vendors, merchandise and some of the world’s best hot rods and custom cars all under one roof.


Pictures: 1) George Poteet’s 1936 Ford Roadster is 2019 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster. The car was built at Pinkee’s Rod Shop and took over 20,000 hours and features over 350 CNC programmes for one-off custom parts. It’s a whole new level of build featuring extreme craftsmanship and incredible detail. 2) The 90th Anniversary of the Model A Ford was celebrated in one dedicated building featuring over 100 vehicles and it was appreciated by all. 3) A close AMBR contender was this 1933 Ford Roadster by Dominator Street Rods which was finished merely hours before the show opened. 4) Renowned hot rod and custom car builder, Chip Foose was celebrated as the “Builder of the Decade” at GNRS for his significant contribution to the hot rod and custom car world. 5) Bobby Alloway is renowned for making any car look real hot roddy as shown here with an early Corvette, 1956 Chevy and a Ford Edsel. All feature hot rod wheels and rake and extreme attitude. 6) Ryan Reed is called the sultan of stance as shown with how low his own 1937 Ford coupe is alongside the 1932 Ford roadster and 1932 Ford coupe he built for Rick Reed and Brian Williams respectively. 7) The Suede Palace is an awesome display of all things old like this hot rod and custom in a late fifties style. 8) Hard to believe it was built over twenty years ago! The late Pete Chapouris’ “Limefire” 1932 Ford roadster was built to run on the street and also drag race – shown here in race trim. 9) It took a lot of time to take in the intricate paint detail on this Chev Impala lowrider. 10) From South San Francisco, Roy Brizio Street Rods builds some of the world’s best hot rods for guys like Neil Young, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. This 1932 Ford phaeton was one of eight recent builds Team Brizio had on display at GNRS. 11) Steve Moal and Jackie Howerton collaborated on this neat track styled 1932 Ford roadster featuring Indy car styling and tortion bar suspension.

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elocal Digital Edition – March 2019 (#216)

elocal Digital Edition
March 2019 (#216)

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