Everyone knows the Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS) in Pomona, California, as one of the premier car shows in the nation mostly for the “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster” (AMBR) award given away each year. Custom car builders take years fabricating and handcrafting one-off pieces of rolling art specifically to win that golden trophy for the owner. The winner’s names are forever etched in the annals of time on the perpetual trophy. But, there is so much more to the GNRS than the AMBR. High-quality abounds in every one of the buildings and around the grounds at the Pomona Fairplex each year.
While the rest of the continent fights against the bitter, freezing temperatures, GNRS is quintessential California. Taking place the last weekend in January, Southern California’s weather is predictably perfect. Despite having to fight the ridiculous traffic, people still flock to SoCal for one reason — the weather. Wherever you find beautifully consistent weather, you will find hot rodders. It’s no secret why hot rodding was born here.
Imitation is the best form of flattery, but sometimes you have to break out on your own and carve your own path in life, and GNRS is the canvas on which artists of the mechanical persuasion show their wares. It is a true melting pot of everything automotive. You will see every genre of car enthusiast present at the GNRS: hot rodders, land speed racers, drag racers, customs (or is it Kustoms?), restorers, Pro Streeters, Pro Touring cars — you name it, they are all here!
Housed within seven building across the Fairplex and virtually every inch of the grounds outside, GNRS is hard to see in just one day and still be able to find those hidden gems. The judges have their work cut out for them to find cars that stand out in a sea of incredible builds, but they somehow manage to sort through them. The awards ceremony is on Sunday afternoon, and obviously last a long time as awards are given for virtually everything you can do to a car. Memorial awards are coveted by those who manage to walk away with one in the name of their heroes.
Obviously, not every car can win and we would even venture so far to say that many owners are not there to win, they just want to be there. Some travel huge distances just to say they showed their car at GNRS — we have a buddy who trailered his car two years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, when he was invited to show it in the special Tri-Five display. So, while the main focus of the show is on the newly introduced AMBR contenders, we didn’t want to do a disservice to all those amazing other builders of cars who sacrifice their hard earned money to get to the big stage just to be on the grounds of the Fairplex.
As such, we decided to put together a gallery of photos to show you the “other” cars around the grounds outside of building 4 (where the AMBR contenders are) to give you a little taste of what to expect if you have GNRS on your bucket list. If you are a car guy or girl and don’t have it on your list, you should pencil it in — near the top! GNRS is up there with all “car guy” events like Bonneville, Detroit Autorama, Woodward Dream Cruise, and the NSRA Street Rod Nationals. So, next year make sure to cross it off your bucket list, you’ll be glad you did. Until then, enjoy the sights from this year’s show!