2022 Al Slonaker Memorial Award Winner! Pat Gauntt’s ’32 Ford Coupe built by Hollywood Hot Rods
We featured the 2022 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster winner earlier today but there was more than one big winner at the 72nd Annual Grand National Roadster Show this past weekend in Pomona, CA. The other major title that stirred a lot of buzz over the weekend was the competition for the 2022 Al Slonaker Memorial Award presented by ARP Bolts. Twelve stunning rides in all years, shapes, and styles entered the competition but it was Pat Gauntt’s Hollywood Hot Rods-built 1932 Ford Coupe that wowed the judges the most.
The Al Slonaker Memorial Award was recently elevated to the same importance as AMBR with a matching $12,500 prize and perpetual trophy, which is dedicated to the memory of Al and Mary Slonaker who founded the Grand National Roadster Show in 1949. The award has been presented to the best non-roadster vehicle at the show each year since 1974.
The 2022 winning 1932 Ford Coupe has been more than 15 years in the making for Troy Ladd and his Hollywood Hot Rods crew, as well as car owner Pat Gauntt. E Black Design Co. handled the renderings to put Troy and Pat’s ideas to paper and the Hollywood Hot Rods team executed those sketches to perfection. The overall theme gives suggestions to classic European sports cars with a mix of early aviation Warbirds with the nearly 3,000 rivets, brass and copper tubing and fittings, side cowl-exiting exhaust, knockoff wire wheels, leather straps, mesh hood sides, louver inserts, and much more.
Mick Jenkins from Mick’s Paint is the brain behind the unique Brown color choice. As Troy stated on a recent social media post; “brown wasn’t originally where we were headed but now, I can’t see it any other color and THIS brown is like none we have ever seen. It almost glows in the light!”
Under the hood features a race-built 331ci Cadillac engine dressed to the nines and topped with an Offenhauser intake, two Stromberg 97s, 390 cylinder heads, and custom high-compression pistons. The exhaust is routed out the back of the car but also features tucked-away electric cutouts to run open headers exiting from the side of the cowl.
Troy Ladd and the Hollywood Hot Rods team also used a unique vintage cockpit-controlled suspension system – Andre Hydro Telecontrol Shock Absorber – which uses pressurized oil adjusted by valves mounted near the gear shifter in conjunction with a Winters Quickchange out back and a dropped axle up front. The cockpit upholstery work was handled by Mark Lopez and his team at Elegance Auto Interiors.
So, what does it feel like to win one of the biggest awards in the industry? Troy Ladd summed it up perfectly on a post-event social media recap. “Winner, winner!!! We just took the 2022 Slonaker award at the Grand National Roadster Show! The competition was insane, but we pulled it off in the end! Big thanks goes out to all of the amazing guys that worked on this car, current Hollywood Hot Rods employees and past…you know who you are! And all of our outside partners – you make us look good! And of course, the biggest thanks to the owner Pat Gauntt for letting us make all of our crazy ideas into a reality!”
Photos by Steven Bunker & Tyler Clemmensen