Fords Take Top Honors at the 71st Grand National Roadster Show

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 – the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) award and the Al Slonaker Memorial Award.

The Top Roadster

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 9 other contenders to not only take home the title’s $12,500 prize provided by ARP. It also became immortalized on the award’s 9.5-foot tall trophy alongside the “best of the best” of hot rodding, including legendary builders like George Barris, Andy Brizio, Boyd Coddington Chip Foose and many more. The AMBR-winning 1932 Ford Roadster is one of ten highboy roadsters mastered by Jerry Kugel.

1932 Ford Roadster "Kugel Muroc No. 4"  — winner of America's Most Beautiful Roadster. Owned by Monte Belsham and built by Jerry Kugel, the ’32 Ford Roadster was crowned America’s Most Beautiful Roadster while Ron and Vicki Ernsberger’s 1936 Willys Model 77 built by The Tin Man’s Garage, Inc. won the Al Slonaker Memorial Award.

“Each year the best in the world congregate in Pomona to compete for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster and the Al Slonaker Memorial Award,” said John Buck, owner of Rod Shows and producer of the Grand National Roadster Show. “Monte Belsham’s ’32 Ford Roadster and Ron and Vicki Ernsberger’s ’36 Willys Model 77 fit the bill as some of the all-time greats in their respective classes. Both builds now stand among giants, and deservedly so.”

With nearly 500 pristine cars and trucks on display, we weren't at all shocked at the presence of Ford vehicles. Early model Ford Roadsters dominated the show, some were highly customized and some restored back to originality.

Ford Power

New for 2020, 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 drag cars from throughout history. Among the dragsters on display was a 1967 Buick Gran Sport Funny Car by Lipori/Fiberglass LTD, which is the only Buick-powered Buick Funny car ever created. Shirley Muldowney’s 1977 NHRA championship-winning Top Fuel dragster was also in attendance, and was the first car piloted by a woman to take home an NHRA professional series crown of any kind.

This year’s show also featured appearances by celebrities from across the automotive enthusiast community. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Michael Anthony of Van Halen were both in attendance, while Mike Ness of Social Distortion displayed a 1954 Chevrolet. The “Builder of the Year” was Dave Kindig, owner of Kindig-it Design and host of Bitchin’ Rides. Kindig earned the accolade thanks to decades of work pushing the boundaries on the design and execution of his custom creations.

Our Favorite Rides

More than 600 individual awards were presented during the closing ceremonies of the Grand National Roadster Show, which earned its reputation as “The Granddaddy of Them All” by showcasing more than 490 world-class roadsters, hot rods, muscle cars, customs, and more, while attracting 50,000 fans over the course of the weekend. Here are just a few interesting rides we found!

"Van Slam" Gary Villeggiante brought out his show-stopping 1967 Ford Econoline Falcon Club Wagon. The van was masterfully painted by Tyler Pullen of TP Custom Chop Shop!

The late Ken Katashio's lifelong project '32 Ford Roadster - a dream completed by his faithful friends. ~Ride In Peace, Ken Katashio (1967-2015)

" The Brownstone Roadster" - Tom Firth and Jodi Lant's 1932 Ford Roadster of Saskatoon, SK., Canada. Talk about classy and elegant!

Our first reaction was "wow!" Nothing was missed on this build, and the attention to detail is second to none. What is it? " Bully" is a 1930 Model A Tudor Sedan owned by Dana and Lorene Hinkle. The Tudor is "slightly" customized.

For Charity

The annual Pinstripers’ Reunion auction raised money for Teen Challenge in memory of Nicole Meguiar, the late daughter of Meguiar’s Polish’s Barry Meguiar. The auctions took place on Saturday and Sunday and raised $50,000.

In Conclusion

Words and photos cannot accurately describe the 2020 Grand National Roadster Show. It’s truly a spectacle you have to see and experience for yourself.  Nearly every single ride on display deserves its own feature. If you want to see best of the best, make plans for 2021, which is promised to be even bigger and better! For more information about the Grand National Roadster Show and for the full list of 2020 award winners, click here!

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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.
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