Grand National Truck Show – A New, Successful Event Celebrating Haulers in all Their Shapes and Forms
Most hot rodders are familiar with Pomona, California’s Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS) founded all the way back in 1950, making it the world’s longest running indoor rod and custom event. It draws tens of thousands of visitors from all over the planet, eager to see 500 vehicles displayed in seven buildings, complemented with another 1,200 outside. Since its inception, a perpetual nine foot tall trophy has been enticing certain participants, eligible in a class named “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster” (AMBR). Today’s happy-few contenders display amazing machines, some of which have 20,000-plus man-hours in them.
The GNRS extravaganza is the work of Rod Shows, an organization that additionally promotes the Sacramento Autorama and, starting this year, another notable two-day event: the Grand National Truck Show. Taking place at the Fairplex in Pomona just like the GNRS, this inaugural affair (sponsored by O’Reilly Auto Parts) welcomed a wide range of pickup trucks, panel trucks and SUVs, along with dozens of vans, many originally built in the 1970s and ’80s. Ultimately, 200 vehicles took over a couple buildings, complemented with another couple hundred parked outside.
The main building housed a number of vendors, and 18 haulers that vied for the “World’s Most Beautiful Truck” award, sponsored by ARP Fasteners which rewarded the winner with a $12,500 check and a fantastic custom trophy. Competition was fierce, with entries representing the whole gamut of the truck world: 1930s hot rods, ’50s resto mods, smoothed out ’80s haulers, intricate ’80s lowrider etc. It clearly shows the variety of vehicles ready to be modified by truck fanatics.
Ultimately, Greg Tidwell came out the winner with his outstanding 1940 Ford pickup built by South City Rod and Custom and painted an amazing metallic green. It features some very subtle alterations, including a 1.5-inch top chop, sectioned front fenders, reshaped rear fenders and a raised bed. Power comes from a 450hp, triple-carbed 383ci V8.
Supported by LMC Truck and Classic Truck Performance magazine, the award ceremony also celebrated dozens of other outstanding vehicles that entered 65 judged classes. The same stage was put to good use during the charity auctions highlighting the artwork from very talented pinstripers. It led the GNTS promoters to raise over $25,000 for the Volunteer for Veterans Foundation.
The inaugural Grand National Truck Show turned out to be a most impressive event, allowing owners of haulers to get their moment in the spotlight. You can bet the affair will grow quickly in years to come, catering not only to truck buffs but also to a wide range of motorheads as well.
2023 Grand National Truck Show Photo Extra!
Photos by Stephan Szantai & courtesy Grand National Truck Show