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2017 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Award Winner Chosen

1936 Packard Roadster nicknamed "The Mulholland Speedster" wins 2017 America's Most Beautiful Roadster Award

A 1936 Packard Roadster nicknamed “The Mulholland Speedster” wins the 2017 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award here at the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California. (Photo by Bob Boberg of eClassicAutos.com.)


2017 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster

POMONA, CA, Sunday, January 29, 2017 — A 1936 Packard Roadster was chosen as the 2017 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster here at the Pomona Fairplex during the closing moments of the 2017 Grand National Roadster Show. In the final moments of the 68th Annual Roadster Show the crowd saw the ten-foot trophy go to the Packard custom creation owned by Bruce Wanta. It was built by Troy Ladd and his crew from Hollywood Hot Rods in Burbank, CA. This is the first time in 68 years that the top award has gone to a Packard.

Bruce Wanta wins 2017 Americca's Most Beautiful Roadster Award for his 1936 Packard.

Bruce Wanta, owner of the 2017 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster, holds trophy (center) while Troy Ladd of Hollywood Hot Rods looks on (left.) Their 1936 Packard Roadter won the award here at the 2017 Grand National Roadster Show. (Photo by Bob Boberg of eClassicAutos.com.)

Bruce Wanta’s “Mulholland Speedster” 1936 Packard Roadster.

Cars On Line’s Bob Boberg interviewed Bruce Wanta after the awards presentation. Click the video window below to hear and see what Wanta had to say about this historical achievement:


The America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award winner was chosen from a field of 13 finalists. There were 650 show cars on display in ten indoor buildings here at the 2017 Grand National Roadster Show at the Pomona Fairplex. Over 1,000 cars will be on display outside.

Here are the AMBR contenders for 2017:

Nice paint on this 1932 Ford Roadster Pickup owned by Matthew Gordon.

We immediately noticed a Rick Dore creation called “After Shock”, a 1937 Ford Custom with exotic car looks and features.

Photo-journalist Bob Boberg of eClassicAutos.com captured this video of “After Shock” during the opening festivities at the 2017 Grand National Roadster Show:

Shawn Killian’s 1928 Lincoln Roadster Brings Chrysler Firepower to the 2017 Grand National Roadster Show. Will it be this year’s AMBR?

A hot rod worth the name entered by Wayne Johnson.

Dan Peterson’s “The Hill Country Flyer”

Don Lindfor’s 1932 Ford Roadster Pickup.

Bill Grant’s 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster.

Scott Hawley’s 1932 Ford Roadster in a dark blue.

Canadian Gordon Gray brought his 1932 Ford Roadster.

Matt Taylor brought his 1927 Dodge Roadster.

Metallica rock star James Hetfield is showing his old school 1932 Ford Roadster.

Jim McPherson’s 1934 Ford Phaeton.

The America’s Most Beautiful Roadster trophy is equivalent to a West Coast version of the Ridler Award. It is one of the most coveted awards in the street rodding world. The 68th Annual O’Reilly Grand National Roadster Show runs January 27-29, 2017 at the Pomona Fairplex.America's Most Beautiful Roadster trophy

The top cars in the country are here to compete for a place in their class. And the very best of the best will be considered as contenders for the 2017 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster.

Here is what the coveted award looks like (see photo, right.) It is ten feet tall and takes four men to move it. When Al and Mary Slonaker started the National Roadster Show in 1950, Al came up with the idea of having a statuesque trophy to impress on people the importance of the award. Originally the trophy stood 8 1/2 feet tall, but more recently it had to be modified to hold more winners. The art deco designs of the Ganat Brothers of San Francisco are now priceless collectibles, and this trophy is one of their creations. In years past this show was called the Oakland Roadster Show. Back then no one ever dreamed it would have the world wide attention that it gets today.

Follow this link to view more cars and photos from the 2017 Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California.

2016 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Winner AMBR Announced

1932 Ford Highboy Roadster wins America's Most Beautiful Roadster trophy at the Grand National Roadster Show

Darryl Hollenbeck’s 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster wins America’s Most Beautiful Roadster trophy at the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, CA.


2016 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Award …

The America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award winner for 2016 is a 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster owned by Darryl Hollenbeck. The award, which is the West Coast equivalent of the Ridler Award, was presented to Hollenbeck as the final trophy presentation here at the Grand National Roadster Show at the Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, California. Over 500 show cars were on display here at the Fairplex. Hollenbeck’s ’32 Ford was chosen out of a group of 13 top contenders as the 2016 AMBR winner.

The OD green color reminds everyone of the military. It’s part of the “old school” charm of the 1932 Ford Roadster brought to the show by Darryl and Terri Hollenbeck of Concord, California. Cory Taubert, Dan Webb and Darryl built the car using a Brookville all-steel body. The chassis work was done by Dan’s Webb Automotive Art with Cory’s help. Darryl did the custom mixed PPG paintwork himself. The interior and top were done by Sid Shavers. Sherm’s Plating and Advance Plating were used to do the chrome. Bill Ganahl and  South City Rod & Custom did the final assembly. Here are detailed photos of Hollenbeck’s ’32.

As they let us through the gates at the 2016 Grand National Roadster Show on Friday, media photographers all streaked in to get a shot of the 1932 Ford Muroc Roadster designed by legendary street rod builder Chip Foose. Little did we know that the top 13 cars were all going to be in that category. Winning the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) trophy this year was not going to be a cakewalk.  This is what they call a “Rerun Year” where some of the top runners-up from former years have been invited back to compete again. If you followed our Facebook page you know that our readers “Liked” the Chip Foose built 1932 Ford Muroc Roadster owned by Maureen and Jerry Magnuson. Take a look at some of the photos of the top contenders below.

The 1932 Ford Muroc Roadster called “Magnatude” is an all-steel build with creative design by Chip Foose. The metal crafting on the body was done by Marcel’s Custom Metal. The car has actually logged many miles on rod runs. Many of you may remember it from the Hot Rod Power Tour. The car is owned by Maureen Magnuson, so, of course, it is powered by an LS Chevy motor with a Magnuson Supercharger. The radiator was specially designed by Magnuson for cold air intake. Among the “one-off” features is a special steering wheel and rear view mirror by Foose. Wheels are of course one-off by Foose.

Most of the automotive press covering the Grand National Roadster Show this year thought this one would be the winner. Hall of Fame custom designer and builder, Rick Dore, wanted to create a European style custom coachbuilt car using truly American styling. The result is this amazing 1934 Packard Roadster called “Aquarius.” Dore designed this elegant custom for James Hetfield of the rock group Metallica. The body was done by Marcel’s Custom Metal out of a stack of sheet metal. Known designers such as Eric Brockmeyer helped with the styling. The paint is PPG Liquid Metal applied by Benny Flores and Art Himsl. The upholstery is by Ron Mangas. These are some of the today’s best craftsman in custom car building. Like we said. The competition for this year’s America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award was brutal. This is possibly the best lineup of cars the Grand National Roadster Show has ever put together.

The black 1932 Ford Roadster owned by Dean Scott of Gilroy, California has a long history. Like most early street rods this one was originally a mild build for racing. It was purchased by Dick Easton in the 1950’s. Later it was redone in the 1960’s and again in the 1970’s when it was featured in Street Rodder magazine as well as Custom & Classic magazine. It is a complete redo at this point featuring Pete and Jakes drilled and plated I-beam axle, disc brakes and tube shocks. It has a Winters Quickchange rear end. The Ford 302 has EU stacks to feed the hypo’ed beast. The interior uses modern hides with updated dash and instruments designed to look period correct.

Ron Simm, now of Phoenix, Arizona, had a dream to take a car to Bonneville. That was when he was an old farm boy growing up in Iowa. The result of that dream is this 1931 Ford Roadster Pickup he calls “Salt Scorpion,” built with a salt racer theme. It has an all-steel Brookville body, with the windshiled chopped 2 ½ inches and tilted back 10 degrees. Likewise, the ’34 Ford grille is laid back 10 degrees to match the windshield. The engine is a big block Chevy 396/375 hp with Offenhauser cross-ram intake manifold. Notice the Hallibrand styled wheels and Zoomie Headers.

Called the “Stirnemann Brothers 31A-V8,” this 1930 Ford Roadster was entered in the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster competition by Jack Stirnemann of St Louis, Missouri. Channelled two inches at the cowl, the frame was narrowed with 46 cross members. The front pan was chopped and sectioned, hand made top chopped 3-plus inches, with rolled rear pan. It comes with Hallibrand Quick Change rear end and knock-off wheels. The heart of the build is the Ford flathead engine with Stromberg 97’s and Navarro intake.

We did a Periscope video interviewing Charly Spencer from Charly’s Garage on Friday. Charly’s father designed the build as a tribute to the famous mid-‘50s hot rod “The Neuman Special.” It was built for owner Chris C. Evans of Scottsdale, Arizona. They call it “Blue Bayou,” for its striking powder blue finish. The paint is Xalta Blue custom mixed for this car. Charly said there are over 100 hand-crafted parts on this build. It has a hand-built frame, pinched, 4” dropped front, Quick Change rear end with buggy type spring, and hand crafted front hair pins and front spring pocket, front spreader bar, radiator to firewall bars, steering arm with exposed linkage like on early race cars. The attention to detail is phenomenal. We’ll try to get that Periscope video on this page so you can view it here.

Talk about an historic theme car. Michigan owner Jeff Romig was aware of the history behind the employees at the Long Beach, California Ford plant desire to build a hybrid Lincoln and Ford art deco roadster using the design techniques of the Zephyr. This is his tribute to that dream. It is a custom 1936 Ford Deluxe Roadster like no other. It was designed by Eric Black of Hollywood Hot Rods. He attempted to design what “could have been” with the tools they had back in the day. It was built with the same pride that Ford workers have always put into Ford products.

An elegant and beautiful 1933 Ford Roadster would be a top show car in any concours in the country. Owned by Phillip Ray of Auburn, California, it features an LS2 Chevy V8 with a Magnuson Supercharger. It has perfect fit and finish. Ray said the car was inspired  by Byron Robeck of Santa Clara, California. Robeck’s Finish Line did the interior.  Jim Farnham of Executive wheels did the wheel design. Stockdale’s Hot Rod Paint did the finish, a custom mixed color that they call Seafoam Green, but looks like a Silver/Green mist. It has a Kugel front end with coilovers. Ray told us today that this car is for sale. He is hoping to find a buyer through the incredible exposure here at Pomona.

Jim Wright of Custom Chrome Plating built this car from a rendering by Dave Bell. Squeeg Jerger did the metal crafting to make it work. It has a Heidt’s independent front suspension and Air Ride suspension. The mechanicals, final assembly and detail were done by East Coast Hot Rod Garage in Denton, Maryland. Hot Rod Garage from Sand Springs, Oklahoma did the headlights, running boards and paint. Larry and Mark Keagan, and Kevin Green from Fremont, Ohio built the engine. Squeeg did the final spray on the black finish.

The 1932 Ford Roadster Pickup was brought to the Grand National Roadster Show by owner Wes Rawlins of Charlotte, North Carolina. The hot rod pickup was built by Troy Ladd of Hollywood Hot Rods in California from a rendering by Eric Black. The wheels were also designed by Black. The frame was stretched, pinched and kicked up above the rear axle. The all-steel body and the bed are from Brookville. Stephen Cognata at The Paint Shop did the finish. The engine is a Kaase Boss 429, 503 ci, Comp cam, Lunati crank. It has a stack injection with a FAST XFI ECU. Will produce 629 horsepower.

Tom Lieb, Pete Chapouris and his Pomona So-Cal Speed Shop, and especially Jimmy Shine all combined to build this old school 1929 Ford Highboy Roadster treasure. Tom called it the SCAT, “a junkyard dog with pedigree” he called it. The chassis is a So-Cal Speed Shop perimeter build with hand-built C channel. Tom had saved parts such as a ’36 rear axle bells on a Hallibrand sprint car third member from his racing days. He used a 288 ci AB Ford flathead engine with SCAT crank, H-beam rods, Winfield cam, and Edelbrock heads and intake. You will not the Stromberg 97 carburetors, and even a David Key 4-speed transmission. The list of old school racing parts goes on and on. This was a build for the ages.

The original all-steel 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster displayed here by Gary Matranga has been a contender for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster twice before. Once in 1989 and again in 1991. In 1989 it was featured on the cover of Rod & Custom magazine. Matranga’s Hemi powered ’32 was called “White Lightning” by Rod & Custom. It was hand-built by Dennis King at Kings Fabrication in Turlock, California.

We’re here at the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California. The show runs January 29-31, 2016 here at the Pomona Fairplex. It is the nation’s largest street rod show, where all the top builders in the country compete for the coveted America’s Most Beautiful Roadster trophy.  Below are the cars being considered for America’s top award in the street rod hobby. Our Cars On Line readers will have a chance to vote for their favorites. Watch for our posts on Facebook. The America’s Most Beautiful Roadster winner will be announced on Sunday night. You’ll see it here first.