Grand National Roadster Show – Choices

The Other Candidates

How Do You Predict?

There have been so many different kinds of vehicles that have earned the title America’s Most Beautiful Roadster that one has to wonder how a judge fairly compares the merits of such diverse contenders.


The 2014 AMBR was a Chevrolet Cabriolet – a four-door!


A few past AMBRs. Clockwise from top left, 1951, 2010, 2011, and 2013. See? It’s not all Deuces.


“Red Hot Attraction,” with a custom chassis by American Stamping and hand-built body, is in the style of a ’32 Ford rod, but really springs from the imagination of Robert Hoffman from Haninge, Sweden. Engine is built up on an aluminum Hemi block with Hilborn fuel injection.


Mike Gordon’s ’32 Ford doesn’t look like a “Deuce” with that Packard grille, but with those turbo scrolls and exhaust trumpets (below) drawing the eye and pumping its Ford Windsor 428 V8 up to 1,500  hp, who’s arguing?

MikeGordonDeuceTurbo 1926ModelTWInset

At the other end of the scale from Mike Gordon’s mighty Deuce is Dawn and Dustin Smith’s “Mint T,” entirely owner-built. The body is said to be completely stock, but I don’t think you can say the same about a chrome-plated carburetor

Steve Lykken Deuce Pickup

There were two Deuce Pickup Roadsters entered. Steve Lykken’s Brookville is the pearl gray one above with panel beating and chassis work by Henry Wehr and 350 Chevy. Below is Ted Davis’ version, running a replica Model A block in alloy, with reproduction Riley head. The frame is a real Model A, boxed.

Ted Davis Deuce Pickup

Willy Stryker 28-29 Roadster

It’s just my ignorance of hot rod nomenclature that I cannot figure out why Willy Stryker’s Roadster’s ’32 Ford frame makes it a “1928/29 Ford Roadster.” In traditional hot rod fashion it’s powered by a flathead Ford, but in this case it’s French, and has a pair of twin-choke Italian Weber carburetors

4 Deuces

What a poker hand! Four Deuces! Clockwise from upper left are – Larry Christensen’s with a 392 Hemi, Ted Davis’ with an alloy model A block by Donovan, a replica Riley head, and a Pepsco blower, Per Martinsen’s with its blown flathead, and Gene Hetland’s, powered by what is claimed to be one of only three overhead cam Ford Cleveland 351 V8s made.

Since I wrote that, Mike Markovich (Thanks Mike) has indicated my source was mistaken. This is apparently not an OHC engine, but the only pushrod 302 with four valves per cylinder, one  pushrod operating two valves.

Dale Fode '34 Ford

Hardly a panel on Dale Fode’s ’34 Ford went unaltered. Mark Willis and Bob Stewart (no relation) built it around a blown Chevy LS7.

Grasshopper T

Beau Boekmann and Megadealer Galpin Ford collaborated on “Grasshopper T,” a recreation of the November, 1960 Hot Rod cover car. Its 1949 Oldsmobile 303 V8, enlarged to 461 CID, is blown by a modified GMC 4/71 supercharger.

Burt Diehl T Roadster

Burt Diehl’s T roadster has a genuine T body (like “Grasshopper T” above) and a Ford Model B four with a replica Miller overhead valve conversion. S&S carburetors are said to be what you’d see on a Harley.

Meyers '36 Ford

Someone counted the louvers on Beth and Ross Meyers’ ’38 Ford and came up with 251. The engine is a Lincoln 430 (A Hot Rod Lincoln!) with a McCullouch Supercharger. Seats are from a Porsche Speedster.

Urban Hirsch T Roadster

Nick Chopit of Chopit Customs, in Stanton, CA, built this small bock Chevy-powered T roaster for Urban Hirsch of Beverly Hills. Proving not all AMBR contenders are trailer queens, this puppy had already racked up 765 miles at show time.

Urban Hirsch T Roadster Nose

There is only one AMBR every year, but you’d never characterize these works of rolling art as “losers.” Come out to Pomona next year and see for yourself what great variety these rods and customs represent.

Carma is a publication of
The OM Dude Press
a service of
Options in Mobility
Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.
All photographs are by the Author unless otherwise indicated.

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About carmacarcounselor

I'm one of those people that friends call "that car guy," except I've made it into a profession. Since 1988 when a friend found my help in choosing, finding, and negotiating for a new car was worth a fee, I've helped countless people, listening to their car questions and challenges, and helping with their car purchases, insulating them from the adversarial process that is the new car retail model today. Their word of mouth is my only publicity. My newsletter CARMA won the description "The clear crystal ring of truth" from award-winning automotive journalist Denise McCluggage. Now I'm going global!
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3 Responses to Grand National Roadster Show – Choices

  1. RW says:

    I vote for the ’38 Ford.


  2. Mike Markovich says:

    Gene Hetlands 32 Ford is powered by a 4 valve 302 cu in Ford engine. 2 351’s and 1 302 were produced. The heads were designed to be put on a 302 Ford block. It is not a overhead cam setup.
    One pushrod operates 2 valves. The cam lobes are reversed. This is the only 302 Ford manufactured.

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