Founded in 1950 by Al Sloanaker in Oakland, California, the Grand National Roadster Show is among the world’s longest-running annual indoor car shows.
(Editor’s note: Howard came back from the Grand National Roadster Show with so many amazing photos that we’re doing two Eye Candy galleries, one today and another tomorrow.)
Photos by Howard Koby
Founded in 1950 by Al Sloanaker in Oakland, California, the Grand National Roadster Show is among the world’s longest-running annual indoor car shows. For the last 12 years, the event has been staged within eight exhibit buildings at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, where it attracts more than 500 of the most exciting and creative works of automotive art including roadsters, customs, hot rods and motorcycles.
This year, Southern California car culture was celebrated in one building while another hall was dedicated to the 75th Anniversary of the 1940 Ford. The overall show theme was “The Great Gatsby,” so representative custom automobiles were strewn throughout the three-day beauty pageant of automotive excellence.
One creation that caught my attention was James Hetfield and Rick Dore’s “Aquarius,” which was a completely original hand-formed aluminum coachbuilt custom influenced by coachbuilders Figoni and Falashi and the ’38 Delahaye 165 Cabriolet. The creation sat on a ’34 Packard chassis and portrayed “a sinister elegance” born from American customizers of the ‘40s and early ’50s. “Truly a work of art.”
Another unusual custom vehicle was Ron Berry’s “Surf Seeker,” a concept VW Bus with a “cartoon flavor” based on a ’65 Van but with a 2175cc extreme blown engine all resting on 24-inch Panther wheels. Motorized side door, side window and sunroof structure completes this striking exhibit.
More than 250 vendors offered products and services, even Pinks world-famous chili dogs were sizzling on the grill.
Eighteen custom cars were vying for the coveted America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Award. The tension was high with a packed house late Sunday afternoon when the long and low 1933 Ford Roadster built by Bobby Alloway for Larry Olson of Sioux Falls, South Dakota was honored with the AMBR trophy.
Stunning scallop style yellow flames on a black steel body and brilliant chrome wheels almost set this roadster in a class by itself and was a fitting finale to a great show.