We have a winner! Monte Belsham’s 1932 Muroc Kugle Roadster #4, built by Squeeg’s Kustoms, is America’s Most Beautiful Roadster for 2020. There were many other attractions at the Grand National Roadster Show as well, including an amazing Drag Car turnout, the cool kids Suede Palace, wailing rock bands, and a myriad of vendors selling everything from chocolate-covered, peanut-dipped cheesecake to T-shirts, beer, and burgers.
The Fairplex at Pomona was abuzz with the best hot rods and customs from around the world. Though the cars were the stars, folks dusted off their hot rod swag from its winter doldrums and preened around the old LA County Fairgrounds. Baggy Dickies, moccasin work boots, pomade, and flannel shirts were the order of the day for guys. For the gals, Rosie the Riveter lives on with her kerchief and rolled up jeans, echoed in the hot rod threads the babes wore as they strolled from building to building.
The grand poohbah of any GNRS is America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award, and this year saw a roster of very competitive entries. The task of judging a hot rod show from the best in the world is a daunting task, one that is rife with politics and fueled with blood, sweat, and tears by the most talented builders in the hobby.
According to promotor Rod Shows, “The Grand National Roadster Show, the world’s longest-running indoor car show, recognized the top roadsters, hot rods, and custom vehicles in the country during its awards ceremony which took place on January 26, 2020, in Pomona, California. This ceremony includes the presentation of two of the custom car world’s most coveted awards — America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) award, and the Al Slonaker Memorial Award.
One of the oldest and most prestigious awards in the automotive world, America’s Most Beautiful Roadster, is presented each year to the best “open” hot rod in the country. This year’s AMBR winner, the 1932 Ford Roadster “’32 Kugel Muroc No.4” owned by Monte Belsham and built by Jerry Kugel, bested nine other contenders to take home the title and $12,500 prize provided by ARP. Additionally, they become immortalized on the award’s 9.5-foot-tall perpetual trophy alongside a “who’s who” of hot rodding, including legendary builders like George Barris, Andy Brizio, Boyd Coddington, Barry White, Troy Ladd, and Chip Foose.”
Belsham’s flamed black 1932 Ford roadster, trucked in from Canada, is one of 10 Muroc highboy roadster bodies built by Kugel Komponents. It was completely restored by Doug Jerger of Squeeg’s Kustoms from Chandler, Arizona.
There are so many cool details on the build. Powered by an LS V8, topped off by Hilborn EFI stacks, it rests in a Kugel-built, independently sprung chassis with Corvette brakes and rolls on custom wheels with Dunlop rubber. Inside the red interior was sewn by Gabe Lopez at Gabes Street Rods Custom Interiors. The finishing touch was the Dakota Digital gauges with red backlighting to match the crimson interior.
Congrats to Monte Belsham and the talented craftsmen at Squeegs for their prestigious win!!
Runner-Up: Rod Authority’s Pick
While Monte’s ’32 is the epitome of the coolest modern artillery, craftsmanship, and execution today’s builders can muster, Walter Sigsby’s 1915 Model T “Leg Show” is at the opposite end of the spectrum with a crazy, nostalgic build. A former Rod and Custom cover car, it was built by Danny Eichstedt in Downey, California, and debuted at the 1970 GNRS.
Danny sold the car, and over the years, it withered away and was parted out. Amazingly, the remnants of the car were recovered, and new parts scavenged and fabbed to recreate the old Bucket. Powered by a 327ci V8 with Enderle stacks and rolling on spoked skinnies up from and huge meats in the rear, it’s sporting a creamy Ron Magnus interior, and a killer, flamed, metal flake orange paint job by Dan Gogh