In the late ’50s there was a car show in the northern part of California named the Grand National Roadster Show but because of its venue and location it was always called the “Oakland Roadster Show.” The show was unparalleled and groundbreaking for its time, and since then nothing’s changed except the name.
Now known as the “Grand National Roadster Show,” it has an interesting history. Originally held at the Oakland Exhibition Hall, it later nestled into the Oakland Coliseum up until 1997. Following that, the show went to various locations, which included Oakland, San Mateo, and eventually over to San Francisco’s Cow Palace in 1999 during its 50-year celebration. In 2004, the Grand National Roadster Show made its move to Southern California to make the Pomona Fairplex its mainstay. In the years to follow, show promoter John Buck, family, and crew have taken over to continue the legacy and they’ve done so with integrity, permanence, and a vision that caters to custom car enthusiasts throughout the globe.
For the last decade or so, the show continues to be a source of aggravation and inspiration. Aggravating to those short a few dollars-and a few months-to complete their builds, or inspirational for those seeking some creative ideas and motivation to keep going. In all, the Grand National Roadster Show is a spectacular display of automotive culture and its common denominator is classic cars. With nine exhibit halls and a massive outdoor space, there are easily over a thousand rods, customs, trucks, lowriders, motorcycles, and lead sleds on display. In short, the show feeds our addictions. If you’re looking for a drug called chrome, creativity, custom paint, or concept leather interiors then you’ll be higher than a kite because the Grand National Roadster Show is your fix!
This show is known for bringing the most detailed and highest quality builds that money can buy. Inside the main hall you’ll find a fleet of roadsters competing for the AMBR (America’s Most Beautiful Roadster) Award and if you want to see meticulous paintjobs with intricate designs, flakes, and heavy pearls there’s even a hall dedicated to lowriders.
One of the biggest attractions this year was the Tri-Five display. This hall was packed to the brim with nothing but 1955-1957 Chevys, and sprinkled in were a few badass Nomads as well. Aside from that, you can easily spend the whole weekend at the show and still not see everything there is to offer, including the vendor booths, collector memorabilia, and odds and ends that are at all the booths.
While perusing the show, what stood out to me was not only the millions of dollars spent on customizing rides, but also the Moroccan 1957 convertible-one of three ever built. While eye balling the car, the front looks just like any other sharp 1957 front end, but the back end has a 1957 Cadillac fin transformation that will floor you. Seeing this ride in automotive history books and magazines does no justice to this very rare vehicle once you witness it in person with its top dropped. So follow us along as we make the rounds of miles of aisles with our camera crew from LOWRIDER and show you what caught our attention.