Lifting the Curtain on the 2024 Season at the 74th O’Reilly Auto Parts Grand National Roadster Show Presented by Meguiar’s

Winter tends to be a sleepy and slow time for hot rodding and cruising your vintage ride, but thankfully things begin warming up as the calendar flips from January to February – at least in Southern California. That’s when hot rods, customs, street machines, trick trucks, and other cool rides from across the region – and the country – shake off the winter blues, shine up their paint and chrome, and make their way to Pomona for the annual Grand National Roadster Show.

The 2024 O’Reilly Auto Parts Grand National Roadster Show, presented by Meguiar’s, took over multiple buildings at the Fairplex February 2-4 to celebrate the 74th edition of this storied hot rod extravaganza. This year’s show proved that even after three quarters of a century, it still has the prestige, appeal, and clout to attract some of the finest rides, top builders, and dedicated enthusiasts from coast to coast and beyond.

The Grand National Roadster Show has dozens of classes for awards, but two of those typically generate the most conversation and speculation. We’re talking about America’s Most Beautiful Roadster and the prestigious Al Slonaker Memorial Award. This year, nine exceptional roadsters vied for the coveted 9.5-foot-tall perpetual trophy, and on Sunday night the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster winner was announced as the flamed Deuce phaeton built by Roy Brizio Street Rods for Beth Myers.

The Slonaker Memorial Award, which is the show’s highest award for non-roadsters, attracted 11 contenders this year that included classic trucks, muscle cars, street rods, and ’50s cruisers. The Sunday evening awards ceremony revealed the winner as David Rush’s “Bespoked” ’59 Impala, built by Steve Cook Creations. Both winners received a $12,500 prize courtesy of award sponsor ARP Fasteners and a custom billet trophy.

“Each year, we are blown away by the incredible hot rods and customs that compete for the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster and Al Slonaker awards,” said John Buck, owner of Rod Shows and producer of the Grand National Roadster Show. “These two cars exemplify everything these awards are designed to recognize and were competing against full fields of tough competition. We are so grateful to the car owners, sponsors, and attendees who make this event possible each year.”

Of course, the cars and trucks vying for those elite awards are just a fraction of the vehicles on display throughout the seven buildings at the Fairplex. Hundreds more cars and trucks show up for the outdoor Grand Daddy Drive-In event, which attracts everything from classic hot rods to modern customs. This year, the new Car Corral Drive-In also hosted vehicles from Hemmings’ “Make Offer” platform, providing owners a unique opportunity to display and sell their vehicles to a passionate audience.

The GNRS has also made a tradition of having a feature building with a specific theme. This year, it was a collection of trendsetting street machines in the “Street Machines: Then & Now” display, presented by All Chevy Performance, Roadster Shop and Maita Chevrolet. The curated collection included popular pro street, pro touring, street freaks, and muscle machines ranging from Mustangs and Camaros to Cudas and Novas. The event also recognized Orange, California’s Cambra Speed Shop as the 2024 GNRS Builder of the Year with a special display.

Beyond the cars and trucks displayed inside and out, there are dozens of vendors gathered showcasing automotive parts, services, art, apparel, collectibles, and more, plus the popular pinstriper auctions on Saturday and Sunday that raised funds for Teen Challenge of Southern California. Add in live music, good food, and the fun of connecting with car friends from across the country, and it’s little wonder why this midwinter show has become a beloved season opener for so many gearheads.

You can count several members of the Goodguys staff among the thousands of enthusiasts who made the trek to Pomona this year. If this year’s Grand National Roadster Show is any indication, it’s shaping up to be a fantastic year for hot rods, customs, and specialty vintage vehicles. We can’t wait to see these fine rides – and you – cruising through a Goodguys event this season!

2024 Grand National Roadster Show Photo Extra!

Photos by Damon Lee, Stephan Szanti & Todd Ryden

Editor, Goodguys Gazette

Damon Lee began snapping photos at car shows when he was 10, tagging along with his father to events throughout the Midwest. He has combined his passion for cars and knack for writing and imagery into a 20-year career in the automotive aftermarket, writing for titles like Super Chevy and Rod & Custom and, more recently, working for respected industry leaders Speedway Motors and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.