An extensively modified 1936 Packard has been named America’s Most Beautiful Roadster at the 68th edition of the Grand National Roadster Show — the world’s longest running indoor auto show.
Built by Troy Ladd’s Hollywood Hot Rods, the retractable roof 2-seater named the Mulholland Speedster took the highest honour in hot rodding over 12 other roadsters. The show had over 1,000 of the world’s hottest custom vehicles — customizations, restorations, race cars, street cars, hot rods, trucks, muscle cars and suede vehicles — drawing some 40,000 show-goers to Rancho Cucamonga, California.
The Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) award carries with it recognition with a 3-metre high trophy that is adorned by names such as George Barris, Andy Brizio, Boyd Coddington, Barry White and Chip Foose, and a $10,000 cheque. The car is owned by collector Bruce Wanta, who has won awards at various concours events for his classic roadsters.
“In the 68-year history of the AMBR award we have seen a steady evolution of the art form of the roadster as builders continue to come up with new and innovative ways to modify these very traditional vehicles,” said John Buck, producer of the Grand National Roadster Show. “This year’s winner was no exception, as Troy Ladd brought one of the most spectacular and highly detailed roadsters we have seen to date.”
A 6-year project, the Mulholland Speedster features a Lincoln Zephyr V-12 (supercharged) behind the Packard grille that was the centrepiece of the built-from-scratch car. The builders estimate that roughly 80% of the car’s body was hand-formed before being painted in Mulholland Merlot. The suspension system is height adjustable, with the gold-plated wheel covers also formed by hand.
The electrically retracted hardtop pulls back to unveil a tobacco leather interior, and for rain protection when you step away from the car, there are umbrellas spring-loaded into the doors.
Also recognized during the closing ceremonies of the Grand National Roadster Show were America’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle (awarded to Colorado’s Ken Reister) for the Chip Foose designed Xpression (which matches up with Foose’s Impression roadster), the Al Slonaker Memorial Award (to Ron Manier, for a 1957 Chevy Nomad) for most original, and best craftsmanship and engineering outside of the AMBR winner, and the inaugural Pete Chapouris Memorial Award (to Matt Gordon for a 1932 Ford Roadster) for the design that best honours the style and custom of traditional hot rodding.