Owned by Monte Belsham and built by Jerry Kugel, the ’32 Ford Roadster was crowned America’s Most Beautiful Roadster while Ron and Vicki Ernsberger’s 1936 Willys Model 77 built by The Tin Man’s Garage, Inc. won the Al Slonaker Memorial Award.
Pomona, Calif. (January 26, 2020) – The Grand National Roadster Show, the world’s longest-running indoor car show, recognized the top roadsters, hot rods and custom vehicles in the country during its awards ceremony which took place on January 26, 2020 in Pomona, California. This ceremony includes the presentation of two of the custom car world’s most coveted awards – the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) award and the Al Slonaker Memorial Award.
One of the oldest and most prestigious awards in the automotive world, America’s Most Beautiful Roadster is presented each year to the best “open” hot rod in the country. This year’s AMBR winner, the 1932 Ford Roadster “’32 Kugel Muroc No.4” owned by Monte Belsham and built by Jerry Kugel, bested 9 other contenders to not only take home the title’s $12,500 prize provided by ARP, but become immortalized on the award’s 9.5-foot tall perpetual trophy alongside a “who’s who” of hot rodding, including legendary builders like George Barris, Andy Brizio, Boyd Coddington, Barry White, Troy Ladd and Chip Foose.
The AMBR winning 1932 Ford Roadster is one of ten Highboy Roadsters created by Jerry Kugel. Originally built for Nick Barron, the car was modified and painted by Sqeeg’s Kustoms. The Roadster is powered by an LS1 with Hilborn injection and a 4L60-E transmission.
The Al Slonaker Memorial Award was elevated to the same importance as AMBR this year with a matching $12,500 prize purse thanks to award sponsor ARP. The winner of this year’s prize, the 1936 Willys Model 77 owned by Ron and Vicki Ernsberger and built by The Tin Man’s Garage, is now held in esteem as this year’s top custom. The Al Slonaker Memorial Award is dedicated to the memory of Al and Mary Slonaker, who founded the Grand National Roadster Show in 1949. The award has been presented to the best non-roadster vehicle at the show each year since 1974.
The ’36 Willys Model 77 features a 498 cubic inch Arias V6 Hemi mated to a Tremec TKO 5-Speed. The build features a scratch built cab, bed, fenders and a heavily reworked front clip. The paint, done by The Refinery by Adam Krause, is PPG Rosso Mugello Ferrari Red with 6 coats of clear over two coats of paint.
“Each year the best in the world congregate in Pomona to compete for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster and the Al Slonaker Memorial Award.” said John Buck, owner of Rod Shows and producer of the Grand National Roadster Show. “Monte Belsham’s ’32 Ford Roadster and Ron and Vicki Ernsberger’s ’36 Willys Model 77 fit the bill as some of the all-time greats in their respective classes. Both builds now stand among giants, and deservedly so.”
More than 600 individual awards were presented during the closing ceremonies of the Grand National Roadster Show, which earned its reputation as “The Grand Daddy of Them All” by showcasing more than 490 world-class roadsters, hot rods, muscle cars, customs and more while attracting 50,000 fans over the course of the weekend.
This year, the Grand National Roadster Show featured a special exhibit called “Drag Racing Then and Now” which was presented by Lucas Oil and sponsored by Cragar Wheel. The exhibit hosted a curated gathering of the most important, unique and stylish dragsters from throughout history. Dragsters on display included a 1967 Buick Gran Sport Funny Car by Lipori/Fiberglass LTD. which is the only Buick powered Buick Funny car ever created, to Shirley Muldowney’s 1977 NHRA championship winning Top Fuel dragster, the first car piloted by a woman to take home an NHRA professional series crown of any kind.
This year’s show also featured appearances by celebrities from across the automotive enthusiast community. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Michael Anthony of Van Halen were both in attendance while Mike Ness of Social Distortion displayed a 1954 Chevrolet. This year’s “Builder of the Year” was Dave Kindig, owner of Kindig-it Design and host of Bitchin Rides. Kindig earned the accolade thank to decades of work pushing the boundaries on the design and execution of his custom creations.
The annual pin stripers auction raised money for Teen Challenge in memory of Nicole Meguiar, the late daughter of Meguiar’s Polish’s Barry Meguiar. The auctions took place on Saturday and Sunday and raised $50,000.
For more information about the Grand National Roadster Show and for the full list of 2020 award winners, please visit www.rodshows.com/gnrs/.
About Rod Shows
Based in the automotive cultural hub of Southern California, Rod Shows produces the West Coast’s premier indoor hot rod and custom shows including the Grand National Roadster Show and the Sacramento Autorama. Its professional show management team sets the highest standards for top quality competition and displays with every show and personally visit the country’s top automotive coachbuilders and events throughout the year, ensuring the Best of the Best participate in its events. For more information, visit www.rodshows.com.