The winter sun felt so nice last weekend in Pomona, California.

The old Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, now the Pomona Fairplex, is one of my favorite car show venues. As I strode onto the grounds for the 70th Annual Grand National Roadster Show, it was like greeting an old friend after a year-long hiatus.

If you haven’t been to these fairgrounds, you must see it at least once in your lifetime. It is a surviving glimpse at a bygone Los Angeles County that has been lovingly preserved. Truly, an architecture (and botany) lover’s delight.

It’s also the perfect backdrop for hot rods and custom cars.

If there is any doubt about the health and longevity of our beloved gearhead hobby, one perusal of this granddaddy car show reveals the heart of hot rodding is still beating strong. There were attractions galore with pinups, how-to seminars, the blue-collar Suede Palace, and an entire building devoted to Model A Fords. For 2019, the “Builder of the Decade” award was bestowed to Chip Foose, and a bevy of the cars he’s built over the years was showcased.

Although considered an “indoor car show” the grounds outside are packed with cars and vendors and are an experience unto itself.

Arguably the biggest draw for most folks is the “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster” award and 2019 saw the strongest group of contenders to date.

A trend we haven’t seen in years was the assortment of open touring cars and phaetons that showed up in full force. In fact, over the last 70 years of the show, only five open cars have ever been christened AMBR.

We saw fourteen strong contenders, but two came came to the fore. We went out on a limb and predicted one would be the winner. We were spot on with our prediction, but skipped the obligatory “I told you so,” until now.

After three days of killer cars and corndogs, Rod Shows owner and big-cheese John Buck got up on stage Sunday night and opened the awards ceremony with his signature salutation, “God bless America, and God bless American cars…”

Our sentiments exactly.

The awards ceremony was long; too long in my opinion. Sometimes, I wonder if it’s to build up tension so the reveal is that much sweeter. Either way, as they counted down to the big moment of AMBR winner, the din subsided and the crowd hushed with anticipation.

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Finally it was announced: “The 2019 award for ‘America’s Most Beautiful Roadster’ goes to George Poteet and Pinkee’s Hot Rod Shop for their 1936 Ford Roadster.” The crowd erupted with delight and hot rod history was forever updated. Poteet has won almost every award in hot rodding but AMBR, so this was a long time coming. Go towards end in video below to get right to big moment.

This 1936 Roadster was resplendent in a fetching shade of paint best described as milk chocolate. Little did we know there was a nostalgic connection to the color and the car’s nickname…

We had a chance to chat live on Facebook with George Poteet and he told Rod Authority, “When I was a kid, chocolate milk cost three cents. We took a carton of chocolate milk to the paint shop and they matched the color. That’s why we call it the “3 Penny Roadster…”

By any measure the car was a killer. Eric Peratt, owner of Pinkee’s Hot Rod Shop in Windsor, Colorado, is well known in rodder circles, but now, all those years of hard work paid off as he enters the rarefied air of AMBR winning builders.

Eric was kind enough to talk to us at Rod Authority and he filled us in on the finer aspects of the build.

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“We built the chassis, utilizing a Winters banjo rear-end and independent front suspension. We stretched the frame three inches from the windshield forward, ditched the rumble seat, finished out the trunk, and touched most every surface of the body. The design work and build was done in-house at Pinkee’s, with the exception of the interior and top which were done by Syd Chavers. Of course, the gauges were handled by Classic Instruments.”

For motivation, the car is running a Ford 351 Windsor V-8 backed up by a TKO five-speed transmission.

Eric continued by saying, “There are just so many nuances to this build. There are over 350 parts that were each milled and machined just for this car and yet, most aren’t visible. The one-off wheels — designed by Eric Black and built by Mike Curtis — are the perfect finishing touch, sporting knock off hubs and a special wrench to break free.”

George Poteet and the Pinkee’s gang. Congrats!!

The best part of all this is George and Pinkee’s get to join other legendary builders and car owners on the humongous AMBR trophy, sealing their name forever alongside the other masters of the hobby.

Congrats guys and thanks to Rod Shows for another killer show! See you at the Sacramento Autorama in February!

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