Grand National Roadster Show “Then And Now” Drag Racing Exhibit

The Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS), held annually at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, has hosted the largest indoor car show for the past 71 years. On the grounds of the Fairplex is the famed Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. This historic facility has hosted National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) national events since 1961 and is one of only three tracks to hold to two nationals events each season. Also upon the fairgrounds lies the NHRA Motorsports Museum, which opened to the public in 1998. The Museum is over 28,000 square feet of hot rodding eye-candy, and a must-do for any drag racing enthusiast!

This year, the Grand National Roadster Show featured a special exhibit called “Drag Racing Then and Now” which was presented by Lucas Oil and sponsored by Cragar Wheel. The exhibit hosted a curated gathering of the most important, unique, and stylish dragsters from throughout history. Dragsters on display included a 1967 Buick Gran Sport Funny Car by Lipori/Fiberglass LTD., which is the only Buick-powered Buick Funny Car ever created. Also on hand was Shirley Muldowney’s 1977 NHRA championship-winning Top Fuel dragster, the first car piloted by a woman to capture an NHRA professional series crown.

Photo gallery

VIEW FULL GALLERY >

When we first stepped into exhibit hall, we were pleasantly surprised with the diversity and rarity of the cars on display. The exhibit encompassed cars from the early 1950’s all the way through your modern day pro and sportsman car. While many of the older race cars were curated by new owners, some were left untouched. Nearly every display had storyboards explaining all the fine details of the car and the classes they run. To our delight, many owners displayed photos, time-slips, gear, and memorabilia — some dating over 60 years old. We spent hours in the exhibit hall, looking at each car and hearing the stories they continue to create. We loved every hot rod on display, but here are some of our favorites!

Art and Jan Peterson purchased this Pontiac GTO brand new in 1969. It currently runs in the NHRA Super Stock "J" Automatic category. The GTO has won many events across the NHRA circuit and is arguably one of the nicest sportsman cars in the country.

Tommy Ivo's first dragster, built in 1958. This chassis was built by Kent Fuller and featured and injected 425-inch, 1957 Buick Nailhead engine. It ran a best of a 9.16 E.T. at 154.37 mph. It became the worlds quickest gas-powered dragster as the use of nitromethane was banned by NHRA.

In 1961, Ivo created a car that drag racing has never again seen the likes of. Ivo’s twin-engine dragster paved the way for the four-engine car. With four Buick “nailhead” V8 engines, Ivo’s all-wheel drive dragster was a creation that he named the “Showboat”. The engines on the left side drove the front wheels, and the engines on the right powered the rears. The four-engine car was a masterpiece, sporting 1,856 cubic inches of displacement, generating about 2,000 horsepower. Concerned that four-engine cars might become the norm, the NHRA relegated the “Showboat” to an exhibition class and limited Top Fuel cars to one engine.

The BBB dragster was built in 1958 and could be seen campaigning and winning at events throughout Southern California. It featured an Enderle-injected, 301 cubic-inch engine with a quick-change rear end. This dragster was driven to a national event win at the 1962 Winternationals.

Pure Hell can be seen running at the NHRA's Hot Rod Reunion and the Bakersfield March Meet and is one of most recognizable and iconic cars in the history of drag racing. The car was dubbed after the original Pure Hell altered, which was driven by Rich Guasco for over 50 years!

Sitting alongside Jim Dunn Racing's Charger Nitro funny car is the 1967 Buick Gran Sport Funny Car by Lipori/Fiberglass LTD, which is the only Buick-powered Funny car ever created.

The “Then and Now” drag racing exhibit at the 71st annual Grand National Roadster Show was truly remarkable. On display were dozens of drag cars seen over many generations. The exhibit attracted many enthusiasts, some young, and some reliving their past!

Article Sources

More Sources

About the author

Eddie Maloney

A resident of Las Vegas, Eddie has been involved in drag racing most of his life. Currently an NHRA tech and photographer, he has served 17 years in the military.
Read My Articles

Classic Street Rods in your Inbox

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Rod Authority, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
Rod Authority NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

We'll send you the most interesting Street Rod articles, news, car features, and videos every week.

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Rod Authority NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Hot Rods & Muscle Cars

Classic Chevy Magazine

Corvette Enthusiasts

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Hot Rods & Muscle Cars
  • Classic Chevy Magazine
  • Corvette Enthusiasts

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading