One of the joys of living in California is the year-round car scene – no salted roads, no hurricanes, no dead batteries and stale gas after months of sitting, and if you’re always out cruising, you may not even feel the occasional earthquake! For the past two years, the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association has been taking advantage of the fair skies and 70-degrees-in-November SoCal climate by holding their year-ending event in beautiful sea-side Del Mar, California. The 2nd Fall Del Mar Nationals brought car enthusiasts from as far as Canada to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, just north of San Diego, for three days of car show enjoyment November 23-25, 2012.
Palm trees and clear skies in November - California is definitely hot rod heaven.
The venue at Del Mar, which also hosts the San Diego Fair each summer and thoroughbred racing in the fall, makes for an interesting place to hold a car show. Two large indoor pavilions hosted a variety of vendors, special events, and cars on display, while the “black lake” of asphalt outside had special areas set aside for homebuilt projects, woodies, muscle cars, deuces, daily drivers, trucks, and young owners, on top of a challenging autocross course, swap meet, and car corral for those looking to provide you with your next project vehicle.
Salt of the Earth
While it’s possible to spend an entire day at a Goodguys show just looking at the ‘regular’ cars on display, there always seems to be some special themed exhibits to draw your attention as well. In our case, we made a beeline to the Bonneville Salt Race Car display, where the same creativity and passion that kindled the original hot rod movement back in the 40s and 50s was still burning bright. It’s only fitting, as both drag and land-speed racing saw their start in SoCal, fed by participants from military towns like San Diego and engineering talent from the epicenter of aeronautic industry in Los Angeles.
The 1970 Harley Davidson streamliner, owned by Kent Riches of Vista, California, is smaller in diameter than some pairs of pants we own. Another intriguing land speed work-in-progress was this rear-engine modified roadster, powered by a 200 cubic inch Model A engine with a custom 3-valve twin cam head, mated to a FWD Ford Escort transmission. They're hoping for 200 MPH in 2013.
Slingshot dragsters always draw a crowd, even when they're just sitting quietly, minding their own business. Fire them up and let them rev a bit on uncut nitromethane, though, and people gather ten-deep despite the noise and smoke. While these relics will never break the beams in competition again (and as a matter of fact, their driveshafts are missing for safety), at least a new generation can get an inkling of the bravery and skill it took to race them.
The Revell "make and take" booth was a huge hit with kids and parents - snap-together '69 Camaro models were given out for young hot rodders to assemble and keep.
Lots to See, Lots to Do
One of the challenges to the hot rod hobby has been to make sure there’s a ‘next generation’ of enthusiasts, and that’s a task that Goodguys has taken head-on. While the hot rod and custom scene may have begun as a youth movement, today the most frequent impression the outside world gets is that it’s a world that includes only those with the cubic dollars necessary to pay for a half-million dollar build – in other words, “old people”. It’s reassuring to see special activities at the Goodguys events that are designed to plant that seed in today’s kids and teens.
Another nod to the changing demographic among car enthusiasts is the addition of Super Sunday, when domestic vehicles of all ages, not just 1972 and earlier, can participate in the Goodguys fun.
While vintage vehicles might be inaccessible to a 20-something on a limited budget, the cars of the 70’s and 80’s are reaching the bottom of their depreciation curve, and just like earlier cars, they’ll provide a canvas for the next generation’s artistic expression, perhaps with a little inspiration from seeing what’s possible at a Goodguys meet.
The Hot Rodders of Tomorrow program takes teams of high schoolers and pits them against one another in a race against the clock to tear down and rebuild a small-block Chevy using only hand tools. The cam and crank remain in the block, and referees are on hand to make sure proper procedures are being followed and safety rules obeyed. So you might be wondering why one of the kids is in a helmet - he's the designated crewmember who does the under-engine work, and is thus in the most danger of bumping his head or having an engine component dropped on his bean.
Better Bring Some Walkin’ Around Money
Of course, if the acres of cars on display happens to inspire you, Goodguys provides an outlet for that desire in their “for sale” car corral and swap meet section. We spotted everything from basket case trailered shells perfect for those looking to turn their retirement hobby into a full time job, to perfectly restored musclecars ready to roll (for the right price, of course). Cars, parts, and memorabilia were all in good supply at Del Mar.
One of the more interesting (in an offbeat way) cars we saw in the Corral was this Nash Metropolitan with a Toyota engine swap.
Those looking for vintage parts were well served, but for sheer volume and variety, nobody had the guy selling collectable license plates beat.
More in Store
Of course, there’s too much going on at a Goodguys event to do it all justice in a single piece, so don’t forget to check out our Top 10 Favorites article!
Car Show Results
2013 Hemmings Muscle Car of the Year Finalist – Jerry Parisi, Carlsbad, CA – 1960 Pontiac Ventura 2013 Intro Wheels Muscle Machine of the Year Finalist – Steve Keefer, Brentwood, CA – 1969 Camaro 2013 Street Rod Headquarts Truck of the Year – Early Finalist – George Cameron, Bonita, CA – 1950 Chevy
Goodguys Builder’s Choice Top 10
Larry Henderson's 1951 Henry J
Ben Von Kleinsmid, Newport Beach, CA 1932 Ford
Chandler Family, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 1940 Ford
Tom Kelly, Bellflower, CA 1957 Chevrolet
Larry Henderson, Carlsbad, CA 1951 Henry J
Hilton Vail, El Cajon, CA 1955 Chevy Pickup
Scott Van Steenwyk, Rossmoor, CA 1933 Ford
Paul Friedrich, Anaheim, CA 1957 Oldsmobile
Mike Toberman, Anaheim, CA 1955 Chevy
Andy & Mary Houchtelin, Bakersfield, CA 1960 Ford Pickup
Steve Keefer, Brentwood, CA 1969 Camaro
Goodguys Pick – George & Joyce Cowman, Poway, CA 1937 Buick
Best Ride on American Racing Wheels: Don Walker, El Cajon, CA 1965 Chevy
Best Ride on BFG’s: Larry Johnson, Vista, CA 1972 Dodge Challenger
Best Ride on Billet: Dean Hart, Escondido, CA 1950 Mercury
Chevy Truck Pick: Chuck Cena, Temecula, CA 1969 Chevy C-10
Chopped and Dropped: Chuck Elliott, San Juan Capistrano, CA 1950 Mercury
Chris Alston Chassisworks Mighty Mustang: Denver & Coroline Wells, El Mirage, AZ 1967 Mustang
Coker Tire Best Wide Whites: Mark Hopkins, San Marcos, CA 1956 Ford Victoria
Cool Camaro: Travis Wells, St.George, UT 1967 RS/SS Camaro
Ford in a Ford winner Chuck Waltman's 1956 Ford Pickup
Cool Convert: Earl Asbury, Poway, CA 1966 Cadillac
Cool Corvette: Peter, San Clemente, CA 1963 Corvette
Cool Cruiser: Thomas Crellin, Spring Valley, CA 1953 Lincoln
Cool Custom: Mark Henry, Lakeside, CA 1947 Monarch
Dare to be Different: Jorge Torres, Hemet, CA 1950 Plymouth Coupe
Deuce Doin’s Pick – 80th Anniversary: Jose Serrano, San Diego, CA 1932 Ford
Eckler’s Classic Chevy Pick: Wayne Arguello, San Diego, CA 1961 Chevy Impala
Fat Fendered Pick: Chuck Parker, Litchford Park, AZ 1937 Ford
Flowmaster American Thunder: Dave Pepper, Lakeside, CA 1972 Chevy Suburban
Ford in a Ford: Chuck Waltman, Temecula, CA 1956 Ford Pickup
Ford Muscle Pick: Bill Sandretto, Fallbrook, CA 1967 Ford Mustang
Ford Truck Pick: John Hemphill, Studio City, CA 1947 Ford Truck
Goodguys Gazette Pick: Jim & Tami Austin, San Diego, CA 1949 Chrysler
Goodguys Staff Pick: Dave & Denise Snyder, Norco, CA 1951 Chevy Suburban
Goodyear Ya Gotta Drive `Em Pick: Al Coloman, Tucson, AZ 1961 Pontiac
Bob & Leanne Kleiner's 1954 Kaiser Manhattan 2 Door
Host Club Pick Bob & Leanne Kleiner, Glendale, AZ 1954 Kaiser Manhattan 2 Door
Hot Hauler: Dwayne & Martha Richardson, San Marcos, CA 1953 Ford F-100
Hottest Hot Rod: Gerry Sevigny, Bonsall, CA 1940 Willys
Jet Hot/ HPC Coatings Young Guys Pick: Zane Graham, Oceanside, CA 1971 Camaro
LMC Trick Truck Corral Pick: Jim & Brenda McWhorter, Bakersfield, CA 1957 Chevy Truck
Lokar One Fine Deuce: Ray & Kris Hamblen, Fallbrook, CA 1932 Ford
Long Distance Award: Raymond Witt, Ontario, Canada 1946 Ford Convertible
Magnum Axle/Real Hot Rod: Gary Loope, Corona, CA 1929 Ford
Meguiar’s Magnificent Masterpiece:
John Souza, Alpine, CA 1951 Ford
Rick Blank, Poway, CA 1955 Ford
Memory Lane: Ken Alden, San Diego, CA 1961 Pontiac Ventura
Mighty Muscle Pick: Walter Gefron, San Diego, CA 1967 Ford Mustang
Mopar Muscle Pick: George Bittle, Oceanside, CA 1967 Dodge Charger
Period Perfect: Jim Bostick, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 1955 Chevy Gasser
PPG Paint Pick: Edward Evans, San Jose, CA 1952 Ford Pickup
Preacher’s Pick: Nancy & Vince Ciccia, Vista, CA 1960 Chevy
Real McCoy Award: Daniel Daviess & Burnham Family, Danville, CA 1929 Ford Roadster
Restored Award: Ted Shilts, San Diego, CA 1956 Ford Victoria
Right on Resto: Dean Harrison, Temecula, CA 1936 Ford
Rodders Rep Pick:
David Hughes, Chula Vista, CA 1969 Camaro
Adam Robinson, Escondido, CA 1966 Chevelle
Alan Behrse, Victorville, CA 1929 Ford
Bob & Sandi Johnson, Phelan, CA 1954 Studebaker
Sexy Sedan: Ivan Gorbulev, Murrieta, CA 1968 Nova Chevy II
Shoe Box: John Souza, Alpine, CA 1951 Ford
Slick & Smooth: Ric Longo, Temecula, CA 1956 Ford
Slick ’60s: Richard Abate, Orange, CA 1961 Impala
Snap-On Innovation Award: Rob MacGregor, San Bernadino, CA 1969 Chevy C-10