Chevys of the 2024 Grand National Roadster Show

By Nick Licata   –   Photography by the Author

The Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS) stands as a testament to the unprecedented allure of bringing together the finest rods, customs, roadsters, muscle cars, and everything in between, and the 2024 event met, and by many accounts went beyond, that tradition.

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A brief historical journey into the GNRS reveals its inception in 1950 as the National Roadster Show, evolving through various Northern California locations before finding its permanent residence at the Pomona Fairplex in 2004. The expansive venue comprises seven large exhibit buildings, each dedicated to a specific theme. Notably, one building focuses solely on showcasing top-tier rides competing for the esteemed Al Slonaker Memorial Award. While the pinnacle of the show revolves around the prestigious America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Award (AMBR) for roadsters, the GNRS caters to a diverse audience with a plethora of classic rides vying for various class awards. Vintage muscle cars, customs, lowriders, hot rods, trucks (both patina and pristine), grace the Pomona Fairplex show buildings, representing a multitude of brands to satisfy the tastes of any classic auto enthusiast.

2 multicolored camaro at grand national show

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The 74th edition of the event took place over the weekend of February 2-4, and as usual the best of the best hot rods from all over the country made an appearance. And for those with a taste for the unusual and an appetite for nostalgia, the “Street Machines Then & Now” display held in Building 9 was a homecoming for those of us who appreciate the more wild, road-less-traveled side of hot rodding.

3 silver orange red and black chevy with big motor at grand national show

The display co-sponsored by All Chevy Performance and Modern Rodding magazines showcased famous cars that appeared in Popular Hot Rodding, Car Craft, and Hot Rod magazines from the ’70s and ’80s. Many of which thought no longer to exist were awakened from a decades-long slumber and brought back to their former glory wearing the same exact paintjob from when they were originally built. To see these cars in person was a rare treat for those who remember these storied hot rods from back in the day, while also recognizing that this could very well be the last time such an eclectic collection of cars of this magnitude will commence under the same roof again. And those who did witness this historical exhibition took to their social media platforms in droves to share this impressive visual experience.

4 gold chevy at grand national show

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The display also featured many memorable Pro Street cars from the era of “bigger is better”— bigger engines, bigger blowers, bigger horsepower, and bigger rear rubber. For many, it was the first-time seeing cars with a larger-than-life, almost-cartoonish personality. But it was that exaggerated presentation that packed the room, with muscle car enthusiasts of all ages enjoying mountains of billet and chrome all weekend long.

5 three men looking at chassis at grand national show

But the Street Machines display wasn’t only about reliving cars from the past as there were plenty of recently built, contemporary rides on the floor as well—many straight from the pages of All Chevy Performance magazine.

6 burgundy blue and gold chevy at grand national show

It truly was a rich mix of muscle cars from various genres and periods in time. One couldn’t help but appreciate the wild, while at the same time acknowledge the trendsetting Pro Touring rides in attendance showcasing their low-slung stance and massively wide tires on all four corners revealing their corner-carving capabilities even while sitting still.

7 bright blue and white chevy at grand national show

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While showgoers were soaking in horsepower from the past, also in Building 9, the crew from Orange County Hot Rods demonstrated how to transform a bone-stock ’69 Camaro into a modern handling and performing muscle car by replacing the stock chassis with an aftermarket chassis armed with modern suspension and brakes in just two and a half days. They also replaced the tired small-block with a modern LS engine, and even gave the interior a complete overhaul, as well. It was an exercise that boasts the many advancements within the aftermarket when it comes to creating superior, bolt-in performance parts designed to improve the ride and functionality of your vintage car while retaining the original style we are all attracted to.

8 four men looking at blue chevy at grand national show

For those appreciating a more grassroots approach, the Grand Daddy Drive-In unfolded just outside the main buildings, showcasing a contrasting collection of local daily driven rides. The Fairplex show grounds, surrounded by over 400 muscle cars, hot rods, customs, and trucks, provided an excellent opportunity to recognize the distinct flavor of Southern California hot rod culture. All Chevy Performance celebrated the diversity by presenting three special Editor’s Choice awards recognizing cars that exhibited a unique quality or personality.

9 burgundy flamed chevy at grand national show

The GNRS stands as Southern California’s premier classic automotive event, seamlessly blending high-end hot rods with the charm of local rides. Vintage Chevys, as usual, made a strong showing, and we invite you to enjoy this photo gallery featuring some of our favorite vehicles from the event. ACP

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