Grand National Roadster Show

Recently I talked about “Bucket List” items. Probably many of us have such a list and the things we want to do of course varies. A lot of the things on my list include car events and activities, surprising I know. But, one of those events has been the Grand National Roadster Show, sponsored by O’Reilly Auto Parts, presented by Meguiar’s Premium Car Care Products, and as of late, held at the LA County Fair Complex in Pomona California. This show has been going on for a lot of years and this year was the 70th Annual.

The fact that this was the 70th is significant. Another significant thing about this show is the AMBR Award, Americas Most Beautiful Roadster. This “Class” is open to all United States built roadsters, roadster pickups and touring cars 1937 and older, including designer roadsters that resemble a 1937 or older roadster. This special class has awards for Display, Engineering, Undercarriage, Paint, Engine, Interior and detail. The winner has their name applied to the perpetual 9-foot-tall trophy, a $10,000 cash package and the title.

Among the names shown on the trophy, some with connections to the Northwest are, Blackie Gijeian, George Barris, Leroy “Tex” Smith, Bob Tindle, Lonnie Gilbertson, John Corno, Dennis Varni, Boyd Coddington, Darryl Hollenbeck, dating all the way back to the first “Grand Daddy of Them All” show in 1950. It has a distinguished history.

There were 6 buildings each with their own ‘theme,” filled with fantastic vehicles, living up to the “Grand Daddy” moniker. Outside in the open areas between and around the buildings, on Saturday and Sunday, there were cars displayed that were driven to the show by their owners, like a cruise-in. Many of these were included by their owner’s club affiliations. They numbered in the hundreds.

There were as many as 300 vendors displaying anything and everything you might need to help you build your “AMBR” for next years show.
My friend Jim Estes and I drove down to Pomona from Portland, Oregon in his new diesel-powered GMC pickup. Amazingly, it got a best MPG of 21.9 on one leg of the trip. I was surprised and glad since we shared the costs of the trip. After we got back though, I checked to see what the trip costs would have been if we had flown and rented a car. Of course, it would have saved us two travel days each way and it would have cost about the same. I think next time we’ll fly and rent. Another “bucket list” show happens to be at the same place over Father’s Day weekend in June each year, The LA Roadster Show. We’ll have to try to make that one, one of these days.

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