Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 Grand National Roadster Show Exposed!

                                                             What the fuss is all about...

Now that our coverage of the 2012 GNRS has been printed in the May issue of Hot Rod Deluxe, I can finally show you what really happened there. Those who know me can attest to my disdain for car shows. While it's nice to take in the details of a car while parked, I've never understood how that can be considered an event. Cars were meant to be driven and in my opinion, are best viewed in their natural habitat - blasting down a city street or punishing a race track. End of sermon.

My younger brother Mark, on the other hand, is a major show fan and has even done hard time as a show promoter himself. He talked me into joining him at the 50th annual GNRS at San Francisco's Cow Palace several years ago and I actually enjoyed walking among the many iconic show cars I'd only read about before. Meeting some of the famous builders/owners was also a rush. The experience gave me some appreciation of the fabrication and design skills involved and exposed me to the passion required to take a concept sketch to 3-D realization, just like with a hot rod. Shortly after that trip, I became a member of some show car build teams, myself. And just last year, I began work on a book about show cars. So when I got the 2012 GNRS gig, my first move was to invite brother Mark along. The only way I could afford to pay him back.

The drive from Oregon to Los Angeles was a mind numbing affair, but for a quick stop to shoot a historical show rod for the book project. Two days after blowing town, Mark and I jangled into L.A. at sunrise, road weary and anemic, thanks to limited sleep (in the car, at some of California's edgiest truck stop parking lots) and our strict peanutbutter & jelly diet (banker's orders). The following are my photos of the adventure (Copyright Gosson Bros 2012) that SourceInterlink chose not to print. I believe you deserve to know what they've been hiding. The deeper question is, why? More will be revealed...

First stop was the Petersen Automotive Museum, where we dragged ourselves down endless hallways littered with amazing machinery. We somehow stumbled into a "Forbidden Zone" (according to Petersen security personel), triggering a Code Red status throughout the facility. There were some tense moments before we finally spotted an opening and bolted to freedom down the decrepit streets of the City of Angels. The angels we saw on those streets appeared drawn and broken, but supplied a nervous color, enhancing our tourist experience.

                                      Brother Mark, soaking up some culture in front of the Pete.
                                         In the parking garage.
            Some people! This guy took up three parking spaces, right next to ours. Jerk.
            Gosson Bros tourist snapshots at the Pete. They made us delete our shots of the Forbidden Zone.

 We waited for a thousand forevers at this parts counter before realizing it was only a display. Very funny... All we needed was a u-joint and some blue LocTite.

Nothing could be more conspicuous than a pair of small town Oregon mossbackers trying to negotiate the labyrinth of freeways to Pomona. Traffic was extremely dense, but we didn't see a single Smart Car, or even a hybrid - just regular gas suckers, most with only a driver at the wheel and no human passengers. We arrived at Pomona extra crispy and camped out in a killer parking space we scored near a port-o-potty. Sweet. This was livin'! We both felt like James Brown, once inside the gates of the L.A. County Fairgrounds. Here's a small sample of our favorites, sprinkled among the seven main buildings.

Every available inch of asphalt on the Fairgrounds was covered with local rods and customs that cruised in for the show. Space was so tight, some had to park sideways!

                        This guy had a great spot and nobody parked anywhere near him. Go figure...

I ran into an amazing number of people I knew, all of us a long way from home. One example: These are old pals from New Jersey.

This car represents some of my homies who were there working the show. They know who they are - do you?

  The NHRA Museum (next door to the show) had us over for dinner and their salute to Dean Moon. It was    a grand celebration and we were honored to crash the party...

Brother Mark saved our seats next to (personal hero) John Peters' Freight Train - that month's HRD cover car.
      Minutes later, the evening's speakers arrived and a mob scene ensued. No one complained though...
 Can you name the following rod and custom pioneers? Post your guesses in the COMMENTS box. Hint: These first two characters go by "Chico" and "Shige". I want one of these shirts SO bad...

We ate everything that wasn't nailed down (thanks to Greg and the Moon Men!), hopped into our transportation module and hightailed it back to God's country, where we jumped back into the frying pan of everyday life. Love the road, love coming home. It was a great honor to hang with these amazing people and get their insights into the evolution of the hot rod revolution. Mark and I are now more inspired than ever and full of dangerous ideas...

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