Calling All Beautiful Classics: Grand National Roadster Show 2023
Hundreds of carefully cared for classics made their annual trek to the Fairplex in Pomona, California last weekend to hang out with friends, family and fellow car-lovers alike at the Grand National Roadster Show. This year marked 18 consecutive years in Pomona and the show’s 73rd year overall. The first show took place in Oakland, California back in 1950.
Some regular highlights of the show include the Grand Daddy Drive-In, which is the outdoor component of the event, as well as the competition to determine America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) 2023. Of course, MagnaFlow was there. Events like these are right in our wheelhouse, and we have nothing but love for the classic car community. The same is true for our ambassadors and partners, several of whom were in attendance to show off a few of their awesome builds.
A ’27 Ford AMBR Contender & A Mean-Looking ’85 IROC-Z
MagnaFlow friend and area local Jesse Greening of Greening Auto Co. in Pomona, California was there to display a couple vehicles including an AMBR contender in the form of a 1927 Ford Roadster that his shop did all the finish work, machining and billet work on.
While the classic hot rod didn’t end up taking home the prize, Jesse and his crew also had another all-American beauty on hand in the form of 1985 Camaro IROC-Z that his shop has made quite a few upgrades to.
To begin with, all the old OEM Endura rubber bumpers front and rear have been replaced with aluminum sheet metal that Jesse and his team produced in house. Part of the bodywork upgrades also included removing the plastic pieces found in the center of the hoods of IROC cars from that era and replacing it with cutouts for a shaker-style hood.
That gap in the hood leaves plenty of space for the air filter of the Camaro’s Don Hardy LS7 to breathe. Jesse says the engine is good for about 640 naturally aspirated horsepower mated to a Bowler transmission. All the sound that beast produces gets channeled through a custom MagnaFlow exhaust system featuring dual performance mufflers that pass through a large single central rear exit.
To keep the car under control with all that power the vehicle also sports a BSE suspension setup and a set of Baer’s high-end XDR brakes.
Mobile Toys Inc. completely upgraded the vehicle’s interior with custom leather and metalwork, while Fiber Forged made carbon fiber trim pieces throughout the vehicle for an added modern performance touch. To get a closer look at this incomparable IROC, check out the video below:
A Serious Drag Truck & A Legend-Turned-Land-Speed Charger
Another friendly face we saw at the show was Jimmy Shine of Shine Speed Shop in Orange, California, who brought two fast-as-hell vehicles, each built for particular purposes and featuring their own unique personalities.
First up is a 1965 Chevy C10 drag truck with an all-steel body and stock chassis that’s all been boxed and trussed. It’s also been fitted with a 12-point roll cage. All of this to harness the power of its motor (a blown 14-71, injected on X85 fuel), which is connected to a custom exhaust system.
Jimmy told us that while the truck is quite heavy, it also just had its best run at the drag strip the previous weekend: running 5.80 secs at Irwindale.
Next, Jimmy showed us one of his personal projects, a ’68 Dodge Charger that he started working on nearly two decades ago when it was planned to appear in a TV show that never aired. Over the course of about six weeks Jimmy and his team turned the former garage queen into a proper land-speed-chasing machine. He actually showed us an earlier iteration of the same vehicle last summer, which you can read about here.
According to Jimmy, the car has gotten up to about 180 mph so far while running on the dirt. Now the muscle car rocks a “real legit” 1970 block 426 HEMI from the Keith Black Estate with Keith Black aluminum heads and magnesium valve covers. This monstrous motor is connected to a custom MagnaFlow performance exhaust system.
As Jimmy explains, “it’s a land speed car, which is very different from a drag car.” When it comes to this Charger that means very tall gears and very tall tires, to name a couple major differences between it and a car like the drag truck. The ride also features a downright Spartan interior with nothing except the necessities.
One interesting feature of such land speed cars that Jimmy pointed out to us were the prominent roof rails that run from the front to the back. These .75” tall structures are responsible for controlling how passing air interacts with the vehicle at high speeds, forcing air to run along the roof of the car instead of washing over the sides. This makes the vehicle easier to control at top speeds. The front and rear windshields also each feature metal braces to keep them from getting blown out at such velocities.
Due to their high-speed purpose-built natures, both the truck and the Charger have each been fitted with parachutes to help bring them back down to earth after breakneck runs. Check out the video below to hear more about each of these vehicles from the builder himself:
Chip Foose’s Family Heirlooms, Projects & Other Classic Rides
No MagnaFlow ambassador had more metal on display at the show than our good friend Chip Foose, including the first vehicle he ever owned: a 1956 Ford F-100 pickup that he bought off his father back in 1978.
While he’d reworked the truck a few times, the vehicle’s most lasting rebuild occurred when Bud Brutsman, the producer of Overhaulin’, “stole” the truck (as well as the sketches and plans that Chip had made for the truck). The Overhaulin’ crew—led in this instance by Chip’s own father—worked their magic to bring his original vision for the build to life before presenting the truck to Chip.
As Chip describes it, “when my truck was stolen, I was heartbroken, and I was so excited to get my truck back. But not only did I get my truck back, I got a piece of my father’s artwork. This car will never be sold. I will pass this on down to my son. You know, these cars become members of the family, and this truck is definitely a member of the Foose family.”
Chip goes on to say that many of the owners of all the various vehicles at the show feel the same way about their cars.
One of the other cars Chip brought along to the event include a ’32 Ford 5-Window Coupe, which was featured in the MagnaFlow booth at SEMA a few years ago. Chip built equal length 180 headers beneath the otherwise stock-looking ride to give it a “wild” exhaust.
Right next to it was a 1934 3-Window Coupe owned by Chip’s girlfriend Kathleen.
Another Foose Design vehicle in the building was a Chevrolet K5 Blazer that Chip built at Boyd Coddington’s shop alongside legendary builder John Buttera.
One of his clients also had a car at the show that Chip and his team painted, which is a ’56 Chevy Nova that was competing for the Al Slonaker Memorial Award (for the top-judged non-roadster at the show). Check out the video below for a Chip-guided rundown of each of the vehicles:
And America’s Most Beautiful Roadster 2023 Is……
While it was great to see the extended MagnaFlow family at the show last weekend, the highlight of the event was the famous America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award, which was clinched this year by an effortlessly cool ’32 Ford known as “The Champ Deuce.”
This appropriately named hot rod was built by owner, designer and fabricator Jack Chisenhall at his shop in San Antonio, Texas. It’s also worth noting that our good friend Jimmy Shine’s louvers are featured in the build as well.
Thank you to all our partners, friends and ambassadors who joined us at the Fairplex last weekend. As always, it was great to see both you and some of your finest vehicles in a setting surrounded by fellow builders and enthusiasts. For more event coverage and content such as this, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok, and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for more in-depth blogs and announcements.
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