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Power, Paintjobs and Pinstripes – The 2018 Grand National Roadster Show

SAHB member and all-round petrolhead Dean Butler, an American who wisely lives in the UK, has just been back to the land of his birth for the 2018 Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona California.  He has very kindly sent us some wonderful photographs that prove the Americans to be truly passionate about the “Roadster” culture that can trace its roots back to the 1930s, when enthusiasts started to modify stock automobiles for racing.  Another famous term for these cars is, of course, Hot Rods – and there were plenty of these at the show.  Closely linked to both these vehicles is the dragster – also represented here.  There was even, in one of the ten pavilions (each the size of an NEC Hall, according to Dean), a large display of microcars.

There was much to drool over, as Dean’s pictures show.  But lest you should even contemplate a very British “harrumph” at these American chappies ruining perfectly good original motor cars by – Heaven forfend! – modifying them, one little piece of information from the show might prove of interest.  While there, Dean met the very British William Medcalf.  He of course runs a well-known vintage Bentley restoration and sales business in West Sussex.  But he keeps several hot rods in the USA and runs them at Bonneville.  Passion for cars is passion for cars, whatever or wherever they are.

For the rest of this article we shall let the pictures and their captions speak for themselves.  Please send us your comments – we’d love to know on which side of the pond your automotive passions lie, and where you stand on the debate between original and custom.  Cut, shut and pinstriped – or English-wheeled back to the day it was made?


Early postwar Cadillac


Another Cadillac – this time with a 1930s look.  Dean’s favourite – and unbelievably his wife and daughters like it too.   They said he can buy one if it has navigation, air conditioning and heated seats.  It’s a Cadillac.


Fresh metalwork


1960s Chevrolet – with some attention to the paintwork.  As Dean said: “For your grocery runs”


1933 Ford Coupe


1933 Ford Coupe rear view


Microcars – with 1958 Meadows Friskysport in the foreground – made by the same people who powered pre-war Lagondas, Invictas and Chain-Gang Frazer Nashes (!!)


Old-time Burbank Road Kings.  the man with back to camera is 90.  He built his first hot rod in 1949


Flathead Jack dragster.  Two 1949 284 cu. in. flathead Ford engines, running on 95% Nitromethane.  180 mph


1938 Ford V8


Tasteful colour scheme – and the car’s not bad either.   Dean temporarily gives up his photographer’s duties

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