The warm sun washed over the San Gabriel mountains last weekend, shining down on the little old City of Pomona. The brutal Covid ice age has started to subside, and things are beginning to thaw out for hot rod fans. RodShow’s 72nd Grand National Roadster Show was a smashing success at the Pomona Fairplex and a good time was had by all. The event showcased the top roadsters, hot rods, and custom vehicles in the country, and all the best builders and cars were there in full force. The popular drive-in event was extended to two days and VW was the featured marque with a huge turnout.
As usual, there was a heaping helping of cool cat culture with enough pomade, oversize denim, and flannel shirts to supply an Elvis impersonator convention. The “Bettys” were out in period-correct finery too and added a nice female counterpoint to all the testosterone.
The action wasn’t confined to the big kahuna awards either. As any seasoned GNRS patron will acknowledge, some of the best cars linger around the edges of the show, built by mere mortals who toil away in their garages under the cloak of suburbia. I’m always flabbergasted by the talent and skill of these driveway “Da Vincis'”
Although GNRS has something for everyone when it comes to cars, it’s known for one of the oldest and most prestigious awards in the automotive world, America’s Most Beautiful Roadster, (AMBR), and is presented each year to the best “open” hot rod in the country.
Not only will the AMBR winner take home the title’s $12,500 prize provided by ARP Bolts, but it will be immortalized on the award’s 9.5-foot-tall perpetual trophy alongside a “who’s who” of hot rodding, including legendary builders like George Barris, Andy Brizio, Boyd Coddington, Troy Ladd, and Chip Foose.
2022 AMBR Winner: 1934 Chevrolet “Lucille” – Jeff Breault, Owner/Built by Devlin Rod and Customs
The Rest of The Best – AMBR Contenders
Street Muscle’s Fave AMBR – A Tie!
Next up, is the Al Slonaker Award. The Al Slonaker Memorial Award reached parity with AMBR with a matching $12,500 prize thanks to award sponsor ARP Bolts. The award is dedicated to the memory of Al and Mary Slonaker, who founded the Grand National Roadster Show in 1949.
2022 Al Slonaker Memorial Award – 1932 Ford/Pat Gauntt, Owner/ Hollywood Hot Rods, Builder
The Rest Of The Best – Al Slonaker Contenders
Street Muscle’s Fave Slonaker – 1937 LaSalle “Kind of Blue”
Congrats to all the winners and everybody who brought their best game to the show. Thanks to RodShows for a great production and ARP for sponsoring the awards. Next, is the Sacramento Autorama up in NorCal in April 2022. For now, so long Pomona and we’ll see you again after a spin around the sun.
Photography – Dave Cruikshank