RODDIN’ @ RANDOM
America’s newest Most Beautiful Roadster, changes to the Hot Rod Reunions, an auto shop class builds a TROG racer, and on the scene at what we hope won’t be the last Mooneyes Xmas party at Irwindale.
The 69th annual Grand National Roadster Show did not disappoint, with the Rolling Bones’ 20-plus hot rod display and the unmistakable Suede Palace coming to mind (more on these subjects in our next issue). Tens of thousands of visitors also swarmed Building No. 4, which housed a record 15 pre-1938 topless vehicles vying for the tall America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) trophy and the $10,000 check presented by the L.A. Roadsters Club.
With HOT ROD Deluxe’s content being partial to historical hot rods, we all wondered how the James Bobowski-owned Eddie Dye ’29 Ford would perform in a very challenging field. (The roadster appeared in the pages of Hop Up in March 1952.) Spoiler alert: It didn’t win.
The honor ultimately went to the Martin Special, a ’31 Ford roadster on a ’32 frame now in its third incarnation since the early 1980s, thanks to the vision of owner Dave Martin. Some might remember that he raced it in bare metal at well over 100 mph in the Silver State Classic Challenge in Nevada.
Dave teamed with Scott Bonowski of Hot Rods & Hobbies (Signal Hill, California) to create a strong AMBR contender that takes some cues from the 1950s Kurtis Indy race cars. Moal Coachbuilders worked on the torsion front suspension, whilst Tom Malloy’s crew at Ed Pink Racing Engines assembled the 500-horse small-block Chevy. Bolted to a Richmond five-speed gearbox, the chrome-less V8 features Brodix aluminum heads and a Borla fuel injection system. Neat details include the race-inspired Evod rims, along with the Winters Performance quick-change. The whole package and the insane detailing truly made Dave’s entry a worthy winner. —STEPHAN SZANTAI
PUNCHED: Close to 100 louvers adorn the rear lid, although most visitors missed dozens more punched in the bellypan.
SHARING SIZE: Dave Martin (left) and builder Scott Bonowski can take this award home, but the 91⁄2-foot-tall perpetual trophy will stay with the promoters, a.k.a. Rodshows. Its wooden base will now receive a 69th plaque listing Dave’s name.
FAST, TOO: There is no denying the Martin Special offers great proportions. And it runs fast, too. Rodela Specialty Fabrication made the fantastic exhaust system, which travels through the frame.