2023 Grand National Roadster Show Brings Big Builds, Big Crowds to Pomona

It has never more evident in recent years than this year just how much the Grand National Roadster Show is the hot rodding kickoff party to launch each show season into motion. It’s hard to recall back to 2019 and, well, the following three years weren’t much to remember with what was going on in the world. The 2023 Grand National Roadster Show was a refreshing and optimistic start to get the new rodding season underway.

2023 Grand National Roadster Show

The GNRS event highlights are of course the AMBR (America’s Most Beautiful Roadster) competition as well as the Al Slonaker Memorial Award, which in recent years has gained some serious momentum. Jack Chisenhall’s mostly owner-built (with final assembly assistance from Roy Brizio Street Rods) 1932 Ford Roadster bested 8 other roadsters to claim the AMBR title, while George and Angela Eliacostas 1960 Buick Invicta Custom built by CAL Automotive Creations took home the Slonaker title honors in a field of 11.

2023 Grand National Roadster Show, 2023 AMBR winner, 2023 americas most beautiful roadster, jack chisenhall, roy brizio street rods
2023 Grand National Roadster Show, 2023 slonaker winner, 2023 al slonaker memorial award, CAL Auto Creations, Andy Leach, Buick Invicta

But in addition to the roughly 20-25 “big” debut vehicles that show up for those two titles the Pomona Fairplex is a hotbed for hot rodding each February with seven buildings in total jam-packed with cars and trucks in nearly every shape and style. Not only is the indoor portion of the event an annual happenin’ (going on for 73 years now), but the outdoor drive-in show brings out tons of cool hot rods, customs (a bunch of customs!), classic trucks, muscle cars, and more.

While the cars may be the stars, another huge benefit the Grand National Roadster Show offers is the ability for the aftermarket industry people to gather since last meeting at SEMA and getting through the holiday season. There was a strong representation of industry vendors scattered throughout the Fairplex, builders showing new builds, builders who fly in to spectate this “can’t miss” event, and the media members capturing content and showcasing the event highlights on social media. It’s really a who’s who gathering.

2023 Grand National Roadster Show

Goodguys was one of those vendors in attendance and we sent down a full staff to cover every aspect of the event. It was great to chat with the SoCal hot rodders about upcoming local events, join in on conversations with builders about projects in the works, and cover the event from a media standpoint to deliver the sights to those who couldn’t make it out.

2023 Grand National Roadster Show, goodguys OBS truck

We have a full gallery posted here and you’ll see a condensed version of 2023 Grand National Roadster Show event coverage in an upcoming issue of the Goodguys Gazette. We can’t wait to see some of these debut vehicles shining under the sun at an upcoming 2023 Goodguys event!

2023 Grand National Roadster Show Photo Extra!

Photos by Steven Bunker, Marc Gewertz & Todd Ryden

Director of Media & Marketing

A lifelong car kid, Steven grew up around drag strips – his name may sound familiar because his grandfather is Bob Bunker, a Pro Mod pioneer who piloted the “Folsom Flash” ’55 Chevy from the ’70s through the ’90s. Steven’s father, Bob Bunker Jr., heads up Bunker Motorsports and is a regular in the West Coast racing scene, building chassis and race cars for more than 30 years. With genetics like that, it’s no wonder Steven has a passion for both cars and motorsports. In addition to helping his father and honing his fabrication skills at Bunker Motorsports, Steven began shooting photos at the drag strip and capturing the action with his Canon camera. He is now artfully crafting stories around the awesome machines at the shows, as well as the men and women behind them. When he's is not on the road covering events, he spends his downtime out on the water fishing, building his 1962 Chevy Nova, or cruising his 1987 GMC Suburban.