GNRS 2020 – The Battle For The Slonaker Moniker

The big news at the Grand National Roadster Show this year was the rejuvenation of the Al Slonaker Memorial Award. The award is dedicated to the memory of Al and Mary Slonaker, who founded the Grand National Roadster Show in 1949. The Slonaker award is presented to the best non-roadster vehicle at the show each year since 1974. This year, Rod Shows elevated the Slonaker award to the same importance as the AMBR award with a matching $12,500 prize purse thanks to award sponsor ARP. 

The idea of a revamped Slonaker award was for it to achieve parity with AMBR and create a space for almost anything with four wheels to compete for a granddaddy award. One look at the diversity of the cars in this year’s competition shows the goal was largely achieved. Let’s take a look at all the cars that battled it out for the award. Go here for full AMBR coverage. 

Rod Authority was on the ground and we bring you a look at all the Slonaker contenders for 2020.  The winner of this year’s prize is now the big cheese in the custom car world. Take a look!

2020 Slonaker Memorial Award Winner – 1936 Willys Model 77 owned by Ron and Vicki Ernsberger/Built by The Tin Man’s Garage

Dig cool trophy by EVOD Industries and the big kahuna cash award sponsored by ARP. Photo – Bowler Transmissions

This old Willys truck was anything but. With a Chromoly tube chassis, 498ci Arias six-cylinder HEMI, Tremec five-speed and scratch-built cab and fenders, this beauty was presented in all its razor-sharp glory. Immaculate with laser-straight build quality. Be sure and savor every facet of this Willys.

Rod Authority’s Slonaker Pick – Joe and Jenevi Schenk’s 1957 Continental Mk II Built By Havasu Speed 

Cashmere was long, low, and a killer in person. A huge car that has been massaged to perfection by Dan Van Auken of Havasu Speed. Winning the Slonaker Best Interior and  Sam Foose Memorial Award was well deserved. It is all Ford with a 5.0 Coyote engine, Jim Meyer frame, and Kugel suspension components. The ultimate Continental Mk II.

The Dokter Family’s 1956 Chevy “Bel Air pickup” Built By Tommy’s Auto Fab

This big, blue Bel Air truck was awfully nice. With TCI suspension, Ron Mangus interior, and paint by Starside Design.

Will Sanders’s 1968 Camaro Built by JF Customs

This little first-gen F-body came all the way from Canada and was an exercise in brutal restraint. Built by JF Customs, best known for its Ridler winning Corvette/Riviera from 2014, this is one of the shop’s latest builds. Aside from the hood scoop and striping, this relatively restrained Camaro sat on the perfect set of Forgeline wheels with modern horsepower and running gear.

1955 Chevy Built By RMD Garage 

This battleship gray, restomod 1955 Chevy really popped with a cherry red interior and matching anodized wheels. Built by RMD Garage and running a Roadster Shop chassis, Ride Tech Air Ride, and stacked LS3 power. The perfectly smoothed bodywork was custom as hell but didn’t diminish one iota from the Harley Earl masterpiece.

1965 Pontiac Acadian Canso Sport Deluxe/Hot Rods by Dean

A crazy cool Canadian Chevy. This Pontiac Acadian was badass and on-point. Built by Dean’s Hot Rods, it looked good under the Fairplex lights. A Fast Track Roadster Shop chassis, 400ci Poncho power, and Wilwood brakes provide the go and the whoa.

Kent & Lisa Matranga’s 1971 Restomod ‘Cuda Built By Cal Automotive Creations

Builder Andy Leach from Cal Automotive Creations built one mean mother of all ‘Cudas. Running a 6.2 Hellcat Hemi with 707hp and backed up by a six-speed Tremec manual. Its all-new underneath with a Magnumforce front end, big gumballs, and EVOD wheels.

Bob Cummings’ 1955 Ford Wagon Built By Rockets Hot Rod Garage

Incredible in person, and every bit as deserving of the ASMA. If Ford built a Crown Vic wagon, it would look just like this. Don’t miss all the cool jewelry on this car including a heavy sprinkling of Lincoln Premiere starbursts. With an interior by Stitches and paint by Byers Custom Paint, it won Best Engine Compartment.

1950 Jaguar Mark V – Owned And Built By Bill Strunk

The lone Euro nameplate has a small-block Chevy pumping out a red, white, and blue tune. This British cat took 12 years to build in the owners’ garage. Featuring a custom frame, and a smoothed and massaged body with matching luggage, this was the best of both worlds.

Lane and Candy Folliott’s 1956 Chevy Built By Premier Street Rod

This Bowtie was a beaut. Brought to you by Premier Street Rod, it features Merlin 600 Chevy power, Ron Mangus interior, and meticulous details.

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About the author

Dave Cruikshank

Dave Cruikshank is a lifelong car enthusiast and an Editor at Power Automedia. A zealous car geek since birth, he digs lead sleds, curvy fiberglass, kustoms and street rods. He currently owns a '95 Corvette, '76 Cadillac Seville, '99 LS1 Trans Am and big old Ford Van.
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