HomeThe MarketCustom ’36 Packard is America’s Most Beautiful Roadster

Custom ’36 Packard is America’s Most Beautiful Roadster


A Packard named the 'Mulholland Speedster' was picked at the 68th annual Grand National Roadster Show | AMBR photos
A Packard named the ‘Mulholland Speedster’ was picked at the 68th annual Grand National Roadster Show | AMBR photos

Low and long, and emulating the great coachbuilt cars of the 1930s, a custom 1936 Packard called the “Mulholland Speedster” was selected as America’s Most Beautiful Roadster at the 68th annual Grand National Roadster Show in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

The winning Packard special, built by Troy Ladd of Hollywood Hot Rods and owned by Bruce Wanta, was selected at the culmination of the three-day show that featured more than 1,000 hand-built street rods and custom cars. More than 40,000 people attended the show.

The Speedster was a favorite among the show's spectators
The Speedster was a favorite among the show’s spectators

The Most Beautiful Roadster prize is considered the highest honor in the hot rod universe, with Ladd gaining a spot on the perpetual 9.5-foot trophy and $10,000 in award money. The retractable-roof Speedster’s exceptional build quality, attention to detail and eye-catching design put Ladd’s car over the top. The award is generally won by more-traditional hot rod forms.

“In the 68-year history of the AMBR award, we have seen a steady evolution of the art form of the roadster as builders continue to come up with new and innovative ways to modify these very traditional vehicles,” said John Buck, owner of Rod Shows and producer of the Grand National Roadster Show.

The judges admired the attention to detail of the winner car
The judges admired the attention to detail of the winning car

“This year’s winner was no exception, as Troy Ladd brought one of the most spectacular and highly detailed roadsters we have seen to date.  Throughout the event, the crowd around this car was immense and it was the talk of the show.”

In addition to the AMBR award, the show recognized America’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle. The winning motorcycle is named “Xpression,” Colorado builder Ken Reister’s Chip Foose-designed bike.

A new award for the Grand National Roadster Show is the Pete Chapouris Memorial Award presented by Vintage Air.  The prize, which recognizes the builder who best honors the style and customs of traditional hot rodding, was presented to Matt Gordon for his ’32 Ford roadster.

The Al Slonaker Memorial Award, a special award for the vehicle that the judges felt displayed the best originality, craftsmanship, and engineering outside of the AMBR contenders, went to Ron Manier and his 1957 Chevrolet Nomad. Manier took home a trophy and $1,000 in prize money.

For the full list of Grand National Roadster Show award winners, visit the event website.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


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