Iconic legends of pro street at the annual Grand National Roadster Show

Thirteen iconic pro streeters from the 80s and 90s were brought together for a once-in-a-lifetime appearance at this year’s GNRS

Photographers: ProStreetMafia

The annual Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS) is a massive, invite-only show that hosts two of the custom automotive world’s most prestigious awards: America’s Most Beautiful Roadster and the Al Slonaker Memorial Award. The GNRS is a must-do event, and it never fails to attract huge crowds.

Hosted across nine halls at the LA County Fairgrounds, each hall caters to a specific genre, with one dedicated to a unique theme every year. For this year’s 74th running of the GNRS, the theme was iconic pro streeters from the 80s and 90s. Event promoters did a fantastic job; never before had so many legendary pro streeters been brought together to the same place at the same time. This was, without doubt, a once-in-a-lifetime gathering, so let’s check out some of the more renowned machines in attendance..

Rick Dobbertin
1965 Chevy Nova

SM, Oct-Nov ’83

Twin turbos blasting into a Roots supercharger atop a big-block! It was jaw-dropping stuff in the early 80s, and thanks to that induction system alongside tonnes of detail and polished stainless, Rick’s Chevy II went so far beyond anything before it and blew everyone away. Joe Caldwell purchased the car a few years ago and has sunk a lot of money into it.

He had the crew at Blown Mafia completely disassemble the car, redo all the chrome and polish it to get it looking as good as ever! It was simply spectacular among the legendary pro streeters, and remains hugely popular.

Rick Dobbertin
1985 Pontiac J2000

SM, Dec ’87 & Apr ’22

The greatest of all time – few would argue! Many punters believe this car has still never been matched. If Rick’s Nova was ahead of its time, his J2000 was from another universe. It won everything worth winning, was featured on magazine covers all over the world, and was the major drawcard of the very first Street Machine Summernats!

Hot Rod voted it their Car of the Year for 1986 and included it in their ‘Top 100’ list in 2008. As storied in our April 2022 Time Machine feature, it languished in a warehouse for some 15 years before Matt and Debbie Hay came to the rescue; they’ve now started bringing it back to its former glory.

Mark Grimes
1965 Chevy Malibu

SM, Oct-Nov ’87 & Mar ’23

As seen in our recent Time Machine feature, Mark’s blown, big-block Malibu is still just as jaw-dropping as its award-winning 80s form. Since its completion, PRO ONE has only had two owners: Mark and Rob Bennett. Mind you, they swapped it back and forth a couple of times!

Other than a select few updates like swapping to an EFI hat, ditching the manual for an auto and some minor paint touch-ups, Rob has kept the Malibu as-is.

“I can’t bring myself to make any changes,” he says. “I don’t understand people who buy a magazine car and then want to go and change it.”

Mark Grimes
1987 Chevy Eurosport

SM, Oct-Nov ’88

After searching for quite a long time, Mark was finally able to buy this car back about two years ago. Very little had been changed, but it was rundown from 15-odd years in storage.

The tyres, fuel hoses and most rubber had suffered dry rot, not to mention a host of superficial damage. Mark fully resprayed the Eurosport and had all the graphics reapplied.

It suffered chassis damage during the rebuild, which also had to be repaired, putting Mark through hell. GNRS was the car’s first outing since the resto, and it wowed ’em.

It attracted plenty of attention, especially with its twin-charged small-block Chev that’s now running EFI.

Matt and Debbie Hay
1988 Ford Thunderbird

SM, Oct-Nov ’88

Matt and Debbie Hay’s groundbreaking pro street Thunderbird won the coveted Top Pro Street Award at the 1988 Street Machine Nationals and made Hot Rod’s Top 10 of the year.

Even today, its twin-B&M blown, DFI-injected 351W is an amazing piece of engineering.

The Hays reacquired the car in 2013, repainted all the pink and rebuilt much of the rest, debuting it among much fanfare in 2014.

It featured in a Doritos Superbowl commercial with Chance the Rapper in 2019 and has now been immortalised as a Hot Wheels model.

Norm Infanti
1966 Chevy II

SM, Dec ’89

This car is known for its super-aggressive stance; most of the blown small-block is out of the bonnet due to the extreme rake and slammed ride-height. Since finishing the car in the late 80s, Norm has never relinquished ownership, and if you’re thinking the car’s a County Fairgrounds poser, think again.

There are loads of videos showing the British Columbia, Canada resident turning heads while cruising the blacktop in the wicked-loud, tube-frame beast.

For a while, OUT LAW sported a Top Fuel-style carbonfibre hat. However, Norm and many others now agree it looks much better with the original twin-fours.

It’s such a time capsule, and it screams power and insanity, with a nasty ‘don’t mess with me’ persona –
as every pro streeter should!

Gary Buckles
1971 Chevy Camaro

SM, Mar ’94 & Jul ’21

With its insane rake, stretched nose, monstrous rear rubber, smooth exterior and ultra-slick, and all-metal interior (complete with airbrushed spanner on the floor), it’s little wonder SM dubbed Gary’s Camaro a trendsetter when we first featured it in 1994.

Gary’s owned the Camaro the whole time! Other than a repainted exterior and odd patched crossmember from racking up 80,000 ground-scrapping kilometres, it’s still the same head-turning, trophy-winning icon that it was at the ’93 and ’94 Du Quoin Street Machine Nationals. Even the original Corvette-sourced TPI 350 is still going strong!

Rod Saboury
1969 Chevy Camaro

Legendary Corvette drag-racer Rod Saboury bought this genuine Z28 new in ’69 and used it as transport for his high school prom. After drag racing it throughout the 70s – including winning Super Stock at the 1977 NHRA Summernationals – Rod retired the car from racing in ’81 and turned into a ground-pounding pro streeter.

It was an instant hit, and essentially became the blueprint for the innumerable pro street Camaros that followed over the next four decades! Rod gave up ownership for quite a few years before buying it back in the 90s.

These days, the 6/71-blown small-block is topped with driver-friendly EFI, and he’s gone back to a manual gearbox! How much fun would it be rowing gears in this influential beast?

Dawayne ‘Big D’ Baugus
1995 Chevy Camaro

Originally built in his shop as a promo vehicle for Rockford Fosgate car audio and Meguiar’s, Big D’s Camaro won a host of awards before and after migrating to Australia, where it featured in the Top 10 at Street Machine Summernats 12.

Dawayne sold the car after returning to the US, but bought it back two years ago. It needed a lot of fixing, including a substantial number of fiberglass repairs, along with a full respray and the undoing of several alterations. Unlike a lot of the other pro streeters, Big D has kept the grumpy mechanical injection atop the Camaro’s angry, blown 508ci big-block.

Bret Voelkel
1970 Ford Mustang

Many will recognise Bret as owner of Ridetech and Air Ride. As proven by this blown, injected ’70 Mustang he built in the mid-90s, he’s always been a hardcore car guy.

The eye-catching Stang has long been a street/show car, rather than a wannabe drag-racer.

It featured all the must-haves of the 80s and 90s, including pastel colours and obligatory graphics. In addition to a full-custom chassis, Bret neatly converted the fastback to a hatchback.

The Muzzy is a true survivor, with Bret owning it the entire time; it’s also a notable FoMoCo product in a sea of GMs!

Mark Abbott
1965 Chevy Chevelle

Few people will own the same car for 50-plus years, but Mark Abbott is one of them. His grandfather bought this Chevelle new, before handing ownership over to Mark in 1971. Starting later that decade, the So-Cal resident turned the car into a back-halved pro streeter dubbed Quick Silver. Very little has changed in 40 years; it even retains most of the paint from the original build.

After a string of tough small-and-big-blocks, it now sports a healthy, BDS-blown 461 big-block. Competing in ISCA, the Malibu featured far more detail than your average pro streeter, yet Mark still racked up a tonne of miles and raced it hard. A quintessential pro streeter!

Jonathan ‘Hoss’ Nagel
1958 Chevy Corvette

Originally a graduation gift from his father, this ’Vette has been a big part of 50-year-old Hoss’s life. The main builder, ‘Goub’, did most of the custom work 30 years ago, while Hoss was still at school.

It features Pro Chassis front and rear clips to give it the signature pro street stance, and hold fat rear meats. Under the BDS scoop and twin-fours is a 6/71 Littlefield-blown, 488-cube big-block.

For his last day of school, Hoss towed it down to the carpark and did a big, smoky farewell burnout. The ’Vette went onto feature on multiple magazine covers, including the January 1990 issue of Hot Rod.

Jim Bell
1972 Chevy Vega

Built by Jim Bell around 1982, this car is now owned by Jerry Garry. In the April 1986 issue of Popular Hot Rodding, the Vega was voted one of ‘America’s Best Hot Rods’. Having lusted over the car as a kid, Jerry snapped it up when he stumbled across it in 2012.

It had experienced a hard life as a drag car and needed a mild restoration, but the original custom paint, chrome and detail remained. Building a new engine to place under the original polished tunnel ram, Jerry has kept the signature velocity stack air cleaners. If you ask me, they make the car!


It’s a very broad term that’s hard to define, but you know one when you see one. As pro street borrows heavily from 70s and 80s Pro Stock racers, requirements begin with modified rear chassis rails to accommodate ultra-fat rubber.

Other typical pro street features include skinny front tyres and a blower, carbs or injection out the bonnet, along with rollcages, race buckets, parachutes and wild paint. While pro street cars can be raced, often they’re not. Rather, their focus is on aesthetics and overall style, while retaining some degree of streetability.