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Hot Rod History

Hot Rod Magazine

55th Grand National Roadster Show 2004


National Roadster Show 2004

Awarded Cars:

America's Most Beautiful Roadster


  1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster

Cars Attending:



2004 Grand National Roadster Show - The Best Never Rest
There's a lot more to the Grand National Roadster Show than street rods.
From the February, 2009 issue of Popular Hot Rodding
By Johnny Hunkins

Every year, a bunch of rich guys and their six-figure street rods get together for a little car show to sort out the pecking order on who owns America's Most Beautiful Roadster. That's the story most people associate with the Grand National Roadster Show, and if you want more details on that part of the GNRS, there are plenty of belly-button magazines and websites which will recount all the dreary details in snooze-o-vision, but that's not what we're here to do.

We're here to tell you there's another side to the Grand National Roadster Show--one that contains neither Grand Nationals (we don't know why, we think turbo Buicks totally rock) nor roadsters. Over the event's 55-year history (which used to be known as the Oakland Roadster Show) the GNRS has developed the solid reputation as being among the street rod hobby's most elite shows. For starters, all the cars are shown in doors--not on grass (that comes as a relief for both participants and spectators). And don't plan on just showing up with your ride and paying an entry fee for your car; there's a selection process that starts with an application, and--if you're lucky--ends with a highly-coveted invitation. Fortunately, the event's promoters have had the foresight to open up the GNRS to cars outside the traditional street rod milieu, and that puts the GNRS on PHR's radar screen in a big way. Simply put, you wouldn't believe the variety of cool cars at the GNRS.

This past January 23 - 25, we rolled into the beautiful Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, California, to check out the GNRS. If you haven't figured it out yet, there are no "dogs" at the GNRS--they're all top-shelf cars. We were tripping over ourselves to see all the cool stuff, from restored drag racers and musclecars to pro streeters and g-machines. Three huge exhibit buildings were filled with the west coast's hottest cars and we were hard-pressed to find favorites, in fact, there were way too many for us to photograph. If you thought the GNRS was only about '32 Fords and the America's Most Beautiful Roadster competition (AMBR for those in the know), you owe it to yourself to check it out yourself next year.

If you want more info on the Grand National Roadster Show or other west-coast events put on by its promoters, you can check out their website at www.hotrodshows.com. If your car has what it takes, you'll want to enter this prestigious event, and if you're into seeing a wide variety of great machines, we think you'll be pleasantly surprised as a spectator.

  1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster

1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
"X-treme" is a good name for this LS6-powered '62 Corvette. Bob and Connie Scudder of Upland, California, are the responsible parties.
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
Builder Bill Verboon of Gold Top Restorations also converted the suspension to C4 ZR1 spec, so you can bet this thing goes around corners too.
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
Car builder Steve Strope of Pure Vision (Simi Valley, California) is one of this country's premier builders of Mopar g-Machines. Here Steve poses with his latest creation, the GT-R.
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
It's a '72 Plymouth GTX built for Romeo Furio which features Formula One-style paddle shifters and a 500-cid RB wedge motor with a custom IR induction and FAST digital fuel injection. Steve has decided to "settle" for a feature in Hot Rod magazine, so keep your eyes peeled for the full feature on this puppy!
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
Lance Love of Nuevo, California showed this smooth '70 Chevelle g-machine. Far from being the traditional street rod, it was entered in the semi-custom coupe/sedan class and features a GM Performance Parts ZZ430 small-block.
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
Car builder Barry White (GNRS's Builder Of The Year) is in the process of completing this outrageous '63 Checker Marathon cab for customer Richard Berg of Newport Beach, California. Folks, these Checkers were built like tanks, so nothing less than a blown Hemi is suitable to haul this sled around. We eagerly await its completion (note the covered windows!) so that we can shoot it for all its great detail work. We hope Barry equips the interior with a barf bag or else Richard's tips are going to be slim!
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
Jimmy Shine of Orange, CA, showed this flattie-powered '34 Ford pick-up. As the rat rod movement gains steam, examples are getting ever more detailed, as exemplified by the faux weathered cross and lettering shown here. Enigmatically, there's absolutely nothing ratty about it, but the look screams nostalgia.
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
Who says Pro Street is dead? Don't tell that to Chuck Swafford of Klamath Falls, Oregon, who built this ground-pounding '67 Corvette with a blown big-block bullet.
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
We were digging on John Seggie's '65 Chevelle (Fountain Valley, CA) which sports a 468 cubic-inch big-block built by Benson's Racing Engines.
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
The paint was laid on by Mark Mahood (who coincidentally did our own Project X '57 Chevy) and the interior was stitched by Ron Mangus.
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
This '37 Ford, named the Scarlet Phantom, is owned by Caryn Burch of Parker, Texas. The bulk of the work on this car was done by Alan Johnson of Gadsden, Alabama. You'll remember that name because Alan also built our January 2004 cover car (a '69 Camaro) belonging to Speed Channel TV star Bob Johnson.
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
What PHR event coverage would be complete without at least one gratuitous hot chick shot? This happens to be Angie Johnson, wife of famed car builder Alan Johnson, who is posing with Caryn Burch's '37 Ford. We think Alan needs to spend a little less time at the shop!
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
This '55 custom delivery wagon owned by Bob and Nancy Smith of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, got our blood pumping.
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
This '55 Chevy Nomad is owned by Marc Edwards of Rancho Sante Fe, California, and was previously featured on our pages. Marc went straight for the hard stuff with a fuel-injected 570-inch all-aluminum Donovan big-block which made 707 hp on the pump. That's what we call one hell of a grocery getter.
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
For those of us who grew up watching the Munsters on TV, seeing the original Munsters Koach for the first time (an original Barris Custom) bordered on being a religious experience. We can only imagine how many hot rodders of subsequent eras were spawned by this one car.
1990 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
You've seen this car before, it's Mike Face's corner-carving '70 Chevelle (see "A Circular Influence," February 2004). The Nascar-inspired tube frame chassis is loaded for bear with a stout 502 cubic-inch big block. Mike, a body and paint man by trade, hails from San Bernardino, California.
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