Every winter for 53 years the best of the best have gathered in Northern California to determine the finest roadster in the land. Of course, the Grand National Roadster Show isn’t exclusively for roadsters; there are also plenty of closed hot rods, as well a good showing of customs. This year was no exception.

The show has been altered here and there over the past few years, most notably in its venue. The Oakland Coliseum was its home for decades, but now the show is housed in the San Mateo County Expo Center. Another change that was new for this year involved the handling of the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award.

This year, for the first time, the AMBR had its own class. In previous years, all roadsters in attendance would be considered as long as they fit the criteria (’37-or-earlier model, one resembling such a model, one without roll-up windows, and so on), including roadster pickups and phaetons. The criteria remains the same, but now a vehicle must be entered specifically in the AMBR class to be considered for the big trophy. The brass behind the GNRS felt that there needed to be a way for all of the contenders to achieve some form of recognition. Of the 14 entrants this year, there was one AMBR winner and 13 runners-up, so to speak. It keeps the other entrants, most featuring outstanding craftsmanship, from remaining anonymous.

One of the other noted honors given is the Builder of the Year award. This year’s recipient was Steve’s Auto Restoration, and owner Steve Frisbie accepted the accolade. There were a number of SAR creations on hand for viewing, including the debut of an AMBR contender known as The Baron—a ’37 Ford phaeton originally constructed by Ford of Germany. Frisbie also took the opportunity to debut another SAR creation, the Double Dozen, along with designer Chris Ito. In the near future, these designer roadsters will be handbuilt in extremely limited quantities.

The hosts for the 53rd Annual were Dan and Charlene Cyr and, as usual, they put on an enjoyable event. If you missed it, swing by www.hotrodshows. com on the Internet to see when one of their other productions is coming to your town.