A Japanese Man’s Perspective: 2011 GNRS

2011 Grand National Roadster Show – For the First Time

Ring-ring~ Friday night: A text message pops up on my beat up iphone and to my surprise, its Pikesan from MyRideisMe.com. It turns out that he’s currently in California to cover the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona for the weekend! He asks if I’m interested in coming down to the show, and without any hesitation I kindly accept the invitation. Honestly, domestic American cars are not really my thing, but I do share an equal amount of respect for automobiles of all kinds so I start packing my gear.

Grand National Roadster, Pomona, hot rod, flat black, slammed

I’ve been to many domestic (American) car shows, but nothing to this caliber, some cars weren’t even classics, they were antiques! Lined up in front of me by the hundreds were some of the worlds most beautiful historical customs of all genres. Upon entry, my jaw just drops. Not only were some of the masterpieces displayed worth more than what some people will make in 10 years, but the quality of the work was without a doubt, world class. And, its safe to say that the majority of the cars were born, and bred in the good ol’ US of A.

1975 Stutz bearcat, John D'Augustino, George Barris, Elvis Prestley

Route 66, Red Roadster, historical display, cactus

Lots of historical displays accompanied these vehicles from old Coca Cola merchandise to the famous Route 66 themes. In fact, I wouldn’t doubt it if some of these people were still the original owners, or even the car had been passed down in their family for generations. That’s the truest definition of the term priceless in my opinion.

1927 Model T Roadster, twin engine Model T, hot rod, 1000hp

Holy shit… Twin 4.6L V8 engine (16 cylinder) Supercharged, 1000 horsepower 1927 Model T Roadster. If i lived in the 1920’s, this is what i would be driving. lol

1961 Chevy Impala, LS2 Impala, lowrider

As I slowly walked down the isles taking in all that I can, I couldn’t help but over hear some people’s conversations. There was a grandfather telling his grandson, while pointing to a certain Studebaker, telling him that this was his very first car. Other groups of people were greeting each other almost in tears, saying that it’s been 25 years since they all last met… reunited by a single automobile.

Orange skull hotrod, equal length manifold, highrise headers

1933 Ford 3 window coupe, checkered firewall, 33 Ford Coupe

No reunions for me…  I stick out like a sore thumb! Thankfully, a conspicuous small-stature black-haired Asian dude with a big camera is nothing really out of the ordinary, but passed off as a tourist taking photos of America.

Rust copper ratrod, chopped, rivets, brass

Rust copper ratrod, interior, brass, shifter, rivetsRust copper ratrod top, copper rivets, brass rivets

The rust was awesome! Some cars had so much rust on them that I felt I needed a Tetanus shot before getting close to it. There’s a ridiculously meaningless trend in the import scene these days where people would purposely rust a hood on a Honda Civic. Perhaps they were influenced by these classics, but miserably failed to pull it off. Rat rods = function over form! This particular chopped rat rod had a brass/copper theme combined with the rust.

1933 Ford 3 window, checkered firewallHotrod swirl firewall, paint by herman

Another Honda fanboy trend that I’ve seen around lately are the painted firewalls. How come it looks so tasteful and original on these hot rods but look absurd on the Japanese cars? It was eye opening to see where those guys get their ideas from.

Lowrider rotor, chromed rotor, lowrider

There were a handful of lowriders at the show… all of them superbly exhibiting the very best of their car culture. But what I don’t understand is the chroming of the brake rotors. I mean… this is a dead give-away that the car never gets driven, EVER. This particular lowrider had EVERYTHING chromed (which is normal in the lowrider culture) but c’mon, brakes… really?

Lost Art flamethrower

Hmm.. what are those wires doing on the tailpipe? Why don’t you stand behind it while they turn it on and find out? It’s actually a flamethrower system! Highly illegal but highly badass. They declined my request to for a demonstration. =(

Roth Orbitron, ed roth, tweedy pie

The Roth Orbitron. There’s supposedly a huge mystery behind this car, how it was lost and found, or replicated… I’m not entirely sure. Regardless, its a huge collector’s piece!

Superformance Shelby, caroll shelby

Greaser alley
More coverage on the Grand National Roadster show on the way at MyRideisMe.com!

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