The “Grand Daddy Of Them All”, as the Grand National Roadster Show is billed, has seen plenty of venue changes in its 63-year history. And though now firmly established at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, as of last year we saw some changes to the judging process—at least for the contenders for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster, which is probably what the show is best known for.

Previously, a bizarre points system was in place, which saw extra points awarded for over-the-top displays, or just for having fenders, leading to a few questionable winners in the eyes of many hot rodders. The new system takes stance, proportion, and how the driver sits and looks in the car, into consideration. While last year was the first for these new rules, and the winner reflected as much, 2012 brought out a group of contenders who had clearly been built with them in mind, mainly traditional in appearance, and with a wide variety of engines. Many saw it as a return to real hot rods rather than all-out show cars. The ultimate winner in what was a very tight competition was Bill Lindig’s “Indy Speedster”, an amazing exercise in race car engineering in a very streetable package, that saw many miles of bare metal shakedown use before being stripped apart for paint and detailing at SO-CAL Speed Shop.

Of course the AMBR competition is only part of this show. Every year one of the buildings is given over to a special display, and this year it was “Driven Deuces”, with 80 regularly used ’32s displayed. These ranged from well-known cars, such as Gray Baskerville’s old roadster, to a stock coach-built German convertible Victoria. Building 3 this year housed a collection of old race cars, from dragsters to a long-lost lakes racer.

With eight buildings crammed with everything from rods and customs to lowriders and motorcycles, over 250 vendors, the spaces between the buildings filled with participants in the Drive-In display, plus the opportunity to meet many of your hot rod heroes, either working booths or just walking around, you owe it to yourself to visit this show just once. Besides, where else can you wear a T-shirt in January?