Goodguys Spring Nationals Return For a Third Time

In the classic car world, Scottsdale, Arizona is usually synonymous with the big-dollar auto auctions, particularly Barrett-Jackson’s three-ring circus. Yet, that would be a disservice to all of the awesome events that take place in the somber southwestern valley city. Each year for the past three years, Goodguys Rod & Custom Association has canvassed the Westworld of Scottsdale fairgrounds and filled it to the brim with some of the coolest customs, wild and wicked street machines, and bare-knuckled muscle cars you’ve ever seen – and this year was no different.

Crowds and cars: filling up both the upper lot space and the lower fairgrounds with classic iron, this year's 3rd Annual Spring Nationals packed 'em in.

Common to localized car shows are the usual crowd of nearby hot rodders with their polished  trailer queens, Sunday drivers and rough-and-ready street cruisers. Unlike the small time shows, Scottsdale brings out a whole new ilk of ‘rodders whose portfolio of American iron is unlike anything that you’ve seen prior.

While the morning’s temperatures were a wee bit on the brisk side, the cool mesquite air was just fine for the parade of heavy-breathing, high horsepower ground pounders and high-revving small blocks.

Kicking off well before the listed March 9th-through-11th weekend dates, the 3rd Annual Spring Nationals welcomed in crowds via a Hot Rod Tour Thursday morning, which directed participants through the Arizona town, touring various hot rod shops.

Love velocity stacks? So do we. Of course, we found them on just about everything - from nailheads to late-model HEMIs made to look old school.

Old school induction was just as cool, ranging from stock to shock!

That night, and as the Hot Rod Tour came to a close, the party only got started. Friday morning fired up with the Goodguys Autocross as early-comers poured in from across the continent (we’re not exaggerating here), resulting in a “TGIF Party” held at Squeeg’s Kustoms.

The following morning welcomed in an impressive crowd, filling in both levels of the fairground, both in the parking lot near the show building, and below in the grassy bowl.

Miles upon miles of polished chrome, aluminum trim and rich woodgrain glimmered as the southwestern sun broke through the morning overcast, gratefully cranking up the temperatures.

Too Much To Take In

If there is one complaint with every Goodguys’ event that we attend, is that despite walking nearly every square inch of the event for the three days, we still didn’t have enough time or energy to catch it all.

While a way-cool tiki-themed Dormobile VW microbus pulled us in with intricate hand-carved wood details, others swarmed around an over-the-top Transformers-themed ’10 Chevrolet Camaro that took the yellow-and-black paint scheme to a whole new level inside and out.

Be it a vintage 'rod or hard-edged muscle car from the 1960s, the devil is in the details.

We love us some hand-stenciled door art, and this year's Goodguys was rife with it.

Over the loud speakers pumping out oldies from the 50’s through the 70’s (although we hesitate to call Led Zepplin “oldies”), we could hear the shriek of high revs and the familiar howling of tires emanating from the autocross course on the other side of the show pavilion.

BangShift’s Chad Reynolds offered his silky smooth voice to announcing the play-by-play, as vintage roadsters, classic trucks, and even modern-powertrain-equipped muscle cars zipped through the cones, hacking away at their track times.

Beneath the massive Quonset hut-on-steroids show pavilion were row-upon-row of manufacturers and vendors offering their wares for bargain prices.

Many the professional and do-it-yourself hot rod builder walked away with smoking deals on digital gauges, seat covers and serpentine pulley systems. Parents looking to eke out a fun memory for the kiddies, participated in a Model Make N’ Take.

All the while, Goodguys’ judges walked the hundreds of cars picking their favorites for the many different classes of show winners. It was close to mid-morning Sunday that the upper parking lot was cordoned off for the Winner’s Circle Finalists.

Cars on display the two days before – and even some tagged early that morning – were invited to the upper lot to be scrutinized further for the honor of taking the win in their respective class.

We found us some sweet oddly shaped -headed legends like a couple of Gen II HEMIs and a W-headed 409.

The swap meet and vender sections were great for those with the cash. Everything seen here as for sale...well, everything, but the lovely Barrett-Jackson models.

A Dollar Short

It never fails. While walking the fairground-wide swap meet, we stumbled across a bunch of goodies that would’ve completed our project cars – specifically a date-coded iron HEMI block with a matching pair of heads – that we just didn’t have the cash for.

Man, I guess it pays to come prepared…with a lottery ticket, maybe. Nonetheless, we couldn’t believe some of the cool stuff we came across like Hilborn injection setups, W-shaped 348 and 409 heads. and much more.

It's amazing that you could walk into a Goodguys event and drive home in a beautifully-restomodded Galaxie.

Heck, there was even a complete ’69 sun-bleached GTO 400 4-speed (Carousel Red with white interior) that was pulled from a desert field.

As Sunday came around, Goodguys’ Super Sunday Get-Together welcomed in all the late-model muscle and domestic-powered machines you could imagine; from DeTomaso Panteras touting 351 Ford plants, modern Camaros, or the occasional import with a transplanted LS motor, Goodguys’ new Sunday “welcome wagon” to all makes of muscle and rods is quite the success, especially as all entries to the Super Sunday festivities get a free pass as the autocross.

By that afternoon, as all the awards were dished out to the very deserving class winners, it was time to pack it in and make the long haul back home.

So, although I could drive home with that HEMI motor in the bed of my truck, I knew that my classic car that I’ve been tinkering with – or any of the projects you might be working on currently – would be more than welcome at a future Goodguys meet, and that put a big smile across my face.

Vince Vaccaro brought out his amazingly original supercharged Shelby 289 sleeper to the autocross course...and clearly has no problem the Wide Oval redlines.

The Goodguygs AutoCross continues to be a show stopper for many in attendance, and will sure to continue to bring 'em in.

Goodguys Builder’s Choice Award Winners:
Paul Hayden, Chandler, AZ ’69 Camaro
Mike Fairfield, Scottsdale, AZ ’67 Nova
Bill Kraus, Phoenix, AZ ’55 Chevy Bel Air
Armando Torres, San Jacinto, CA ’65 Buick
Burt Parker, Lake Havasu, AZ ’67 Chevy
Marls Bosak, Litchfield Park, AZ ’67 GMC Pickup
Jay Kaufman, Scottsdale, AZ ’41 Chrysler Newport Roadster
Jeff Hess, Woodland Hills, CA ’65 Chevy Impala
Eddie Aston, Waddell, AZ ’40 Ford
Richard Walpole, Queen Creek, AZ ’33 American Speed Roadster

It's hard to believe that the most iconic automobile for hot rodding is 80 years old. Goodguys' saluted the '32 Ford by giving it it's own show section.

Goodguys 2012 Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year Finalist
James Eudy, Bakersfield, CA ’62 Chevy 409 Bubbletop

Goodguys 2012 LMC Truck Parts Truck of the Year-Late
Tuong Lai, Oxnard, CA ’57 Ford Pickup

Goodguys 2012 Hemmings Muscle Car of the Year Finalist
Clarke LaMont, Calgary Alberta, CAN ’62 Chevy Bel Air Conv

Goodguys 2012 Intro Wheels Muscle Machine of the Year Finalist
John Dwyer, Gilbert, AZ ’69 Ford Mustang

Goodguys AutoCross Winners:
Truck Class: Dan Ault, Gilbert, AZ ’68 Chevy C10 – Time: 41.081
PRO Class: Bret Voekel/Ridetech, Jasper, IN ’48 Ford – Time 54.744
Hot Rod Class: Jim Sheridan, Julian, CA ’34 Ford roadster – Time 36.755
Street Machine Class: Robert Pierik, Tempe, AZ ’71 Chevy Camaro – Time 37.052

Yup, that's a Viper-powered T-bucket. Some hot rodder's wife has a huge life insurance payout coming her way.

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About the author

Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw is a self-proclaimed "muscle car purist," preferring solid-lifter camshafts and mechanical double-pumpers over computer-controlled fuel injection and force-feeding power-adders. If you like dirt-under-your-fingernails tech and real street driven content, this is your guy.
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