Once again I was called up to join the judging team for the prestigious America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award. This has been running since 1949 at the Grand National Roadster Show held on the last weekend of January at the Pomona Fairplex in California, USA. Last year was my first time on the judging team which comprises of industry movers and shakers such as noted hot rod builders like Bobby Alloway and Pete Eastwood and automotive designers like Larry Erickson it was quite an honour to join the team again this year.
To contend for the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award you must enter months ahead and then you are selected at the show organisers discretion and ideally, we like to have 12 cars entered. This year there were 10 cars entered including one car from Japan making this a truly international hobby. The judging process kicks off on the Wednesday prior to the show where the vehicles are driven into the show hall one by one and are viewed or inspected by the judging team. This process is done to see what the car looks like driving and how the driver looks in the car. Once parked in the judging area, the inspection and interview process begins.
The process involves the owner and or the builder of the car explaining the build of the car and in some cases highlighting special features of the car. It’s a very interactive way to judge a car and personally for me it’s a hugely interesting ordeal as I get to really get up close and personal with these cars and their owners or builders. This is stage one of the comprehensive judging process and it takes all day on Wednesday to do so before the cars are then set up in their display spots for the show to open on Friday afternoon.
The judging team has until Saturday evening to personally inspect the cars further in their display setting to narrow down to a winner which is discussed around the table for announcement at Sunday’s awards ceremony. This year was an interesting mix of contenders ranging from cars built at home or professionally in shops. Styling ranged from hi tech to nostalgia or traditional and everything in between. It’s quite the milestone achievement just to be accepted as a contender so everyone has already won by the time the show opens on Friday. But there’s only one plaque each year to go onto the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster trophy which stands a whopping 9 feet tall!
This year for 2020, the ARP Fasteners presented America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award went to Monte Belsham’s 1932 Ford Kugel Muroc Roadster which had been completely redone by Squeeg’s Kustoms in Arizona. The black with flames beauty was meticulously finished with extreme detailing and it was a clear winner. This year’s Grand National Roadster Show didn’t disappoint again with an incredible array of hot rods, custom cars, low riders, original cars, drag racing vehicles, muscle cars and street machines on display. As I have said before – it’s certainly a must do event and it was a proud moment for me to judge again.