For southern-californian hot-rodders the place to be in January has always been the Oakland Roadster Show, now know as the Grand National Roadster Show.
If fact, car lovers come from around the world invade Pomona to be a part of the ‘Grand-Daddy of them All’.
The big award, the AMBR, gets handed out on Sunday but the fun starts on Friday when the gates open to a half-dozen giant buildings stuffed with hot-rods, customs, lowriders and bikes.
Fans of show-rods will head straight for Building 4 where the AMBR contenders sit on display. Some of these cars have been several years in the making. This year’s winner is the Mulholland Speedster built by Troy Ladd’s Hollywood Hot Rods and styled by Eric Black. Based on a 1936 Packard roadster this car has been completely hand-built from the grill-shell back with an innovative independent suspension using 1/4 elliptical springs and just the right amount of body re-styling. The interior is completely stunning and to top it off it’s powered by a Lincoln V-12 Flathead with a Latham supercharger and Winfield D carbs.
This car is rumored to have cost over $3M dollars to build and caused a bit of controversy with some folks arguing that it’s not enough of a hot-rod. Maybe proving that fact or proving that it doesn’t matter, the Mulholland Speedster also won the World’s Most Beautiful Custom award at the Sacramento Autorama.
Another stand-out was the striking blue Goolsby Customs build of another Eric Black design. This time a 1932 roadster pick-up with a chrome Olds rocket mill and two mods that almost always detract but were done to subtle perfection here – highboy channel & fenders.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Hill Country Flyer. Super clean build from Austin Speed Shop. Perfect paint by Gary Howard Customs. They even shaved half the tread off the tires like nos Indy rubber. And a deluxe interior by Catos Custom Upholstery off yet another design by Eric Black.
Of all the AMBR contenders this is the car I wish was in my garage. Built for James Hetfield by Josh Mills in Georgia, it’s an original ’32 roadster built with all 30’s and 40’s parts. This car seemed to get ignored as folks raced by it to see the razzle-dazzle parked nearby but the padded carson-style top and just-right chop and stance really got my attention. Dig the Columbia 2-speed rear, those Zephyr/’36 Ford caps and 59L flathead with Bob Osiecki aluminum heads with the triple water ports.
Shawn Killion’s Hot Rod Lincoln had to be the toughest looking roadster at the show with the 331 Hemi and big 10″ rear kick-up. Lots of Zephyr parts add some bling to this asphalt ripper.
The Stokers Hot Rod Factory guys built this ’28 Ford to emulate the early dry-lakes racers. The chromed mechanical brakes really stopped folks in their tracks as did the banger motor with Miller OHV conversion.
It was cool to see Matt Taylor’s ’27 Dodge at Santa Maria in bare metal and gawk at all the mods and metalwork but it was even cooler to see the Fool’s Goldster completed at GNRS. There’s no way you could look at the tuck’n’rolled firewall and Art Himsl fades and not smile.
Gotta love a Washington Blue deuce roadster. Scott Hawley’s finished this build after Glen Begor passed away. The paint is nitro-cellulose lacquer and I’d bet it’s a shade or two darker than the shade made famous by the Vern Tardel book.