The Grand National Roadster Show is an exposition of how far hot rodding has come. The AMBR competitors show us where it's heading, and the Suede Palace reminds us where it all started.

Many of the nostalgic rods and customs that fill the Suede Palace are genuine survivors from the '40s, '50s, and '60s. Others are new projects; traditionally built in faithful compliance with the way hot rods were built "back then". Virtually every vehicle in the Suede Palace was built by its owner or by a group of friends or a car club. Traditional style is reflected in the cars, the owners, the live music, the pin-up girls, and even in the handbuilt trophies (created and awarded by the numerous participating clubs).

Organizers Alex (aka "Axle") and Celeste Idzardi have made the Suede Palace one of the most distinctive corners of the Grand National Roadster Show—part party and part museum. Every rod in the GNRS, in this magazine, and in America, can trace its roots to the earliest hot rods, and the Suede Palace is a salute to those roots.


Best of Show: Dave Mock's '40 Ford coupe

In 1980, David Mock's flamed '40 coupe was photographed by STREET RODDER's Geoff Carter. The Anchorage, Alaska–based rod was sketched in a Dave Bell "Henry Hirise" cartoon in this magazine in the Sept. '80 issue, and appeared on the cover and as a feature the following month. In 2013, Mock's '40, identical to the car in the 33-year-old photos, was perched in the Suede Palace, where it won the highest prize.

Mock bought the coupe in 1969, and committed himself to building a traditional rod using no components from later than 1957 (decades before that approach became a movement). The '40, nicknamed "Come Go With Me", has moved from Alaska to Arizona (where David and his wife, Sue, live during the winter). Seeing the car at the Grand National Roadster Show, looking weathered but not at all dated, was a real kick.