Bruce Wanta’s Mullholland Speedster Wins 2017 AMBR Award

Troy Ladd (center) and Bruce Wanta (right) win the AMBR award in 2017.

Every year at the world’s longest running indoor car show, The Grand National Roadster Show, America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) is selected. Considered one of the top vintage car awards in the country, the AMBR highlights a weekend where over 400 individual awards are presented in a closing ceremony on the last day of the event which is always Sunday.

This year’s winner of the prestigious AMBR award was really no surprise considering the week-long buzz about the car. Bellevue, Washington’s Bruce Wanta, along with the build team at Troy Ladd’s Hollywood Hot Rods, prepared an incredible 1936 Packard Roadster that was heavily modified – including a retractable roof – to earn the highest honor from the show.

The Packard is called the Mulholland Speedster, was selected as the best open hot rod in the country for 2017. Presented the nine and a half-foot tall perpetual trophy, Ladd places his name alongside previous winners like George Barris, Andy Brizio, Boyd Coddington, Barry White and Chip Foose. Ladd and his team was also presented with a a $10,000 prize money check for their handiwork.

“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. “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.”

New to the Grand National Roadster Show for 2017 was the inaugural Pete Chapouris Memorial Award presented by Vintage Air. Pete Chapouris’ unexpected passing earlier this month led to the naming of this new award that recognizes the builder which best honors the style and customs of traditional hot rodding. The first recipient of the Pete Chapouris Memorial Award was presented to Matt Gordon for his ’32 Ford Roadster.

Ken Reister’s Chip Foose-designed Xpression motorcycle won America’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle award.

Ken Reister took America’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle award, which recognizes the top custom motorcycle with a radically designed or hand-built frame and/or sheet metal. The Colorado builder Reister built the Chip Foose-designed Xpression motorcycle that matches Foose’s 2007 AMBR-winning Impression roadster.

The Al Slonaker Memorial Award was the final special recognition award of the event and was awarded to the vehicle that the judges felt displayed the best originality, craftsmanship, and engineering outside of the AMBR contenders. This year, it was Ron Manier and his 1957 Chevrolet Nomad which impressed the judges enough to take home the trophy and $1,000 in prize money.


Based in the automotive cultural hub of Southern California, Rod Shows produces the West Coast’s premier indoor hot rod and custom shows including the Grand National Roadster Show, the Sacramento Autorama, and the LA Roadster Show. Its professional show management team sets the highest standards for top quality competition and displays with every show and personally visit the country’s top automotive coachbuilders and events throughout the year, ensuring the Best of the Best participate in its events. For more information, visit them online:

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
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