Taking place in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona, we wandered about the fairgrounds hoping to find some immaculate customs at the 18th Goodguys Southwest Nationals, presented by Goodguys Rod & Custom Association. Armed with a camera and voice recorder, we spent a considerable amount of time resonating with the expansive hot rod and kustom culture that came together between November 20-22, 2015.
With several customs, autocross, and classic automobiles in attendance for the festivities, there was plenty to see, smell, and hear. From the candy paint and vinyl graphic one-offs, to the smell of unfiltered American power, there was something for everyone at the prestigious show.
Perusing The Grounds
Complete with doo-wop and oldies hits, trivia, vendors, and hot rod camaraderie, this Goodguys event brought together local and cross-country builders in one place. The showcase of style, flair, and originality was on full display. Hearing fellow car owners exchange tuning and detailing advice left and right made for an inviting experience.
The autocross, always garnering attention from the crowd, put on a show as it was the final competition for the Goodguys 2015 autocross season. With qualifiers taking place on Friday, we heard tires squeal and cones get annihilated by fishtailing rear-wheel-drive monsters. However, it wasn’t the autocross that we were there for as we took the time to find five unique rides that we couldn’t leave the show without mentioning. Mind you, these are in no particular order.
Our Top 5
5. One Crazy Buick
Starting off the list at number five, we have on our hands a custom 1952 Buick Super two-door hardtop. Owning the car for seven years, Allan and his wife were at the show with their beloved custom.
“It’s been awhile, but we’ve actually owned the car for seven years,” the couple said. “The Buick is super reliable and fires on all ends.”
Under the hood of this bad boy is a 350 cubic-inch V8 mill, mated to a TH350 automatic transmission. With just over 30,000 miles on the clock for the new engine, the Buick has fresh power that looks to run for years to come.
Literally a Frankenstein of car builds, this Buick has a front clip off a 1968 Chevy Nova with disc brakes and a 1980 Malibu rearend with coil springs. “It honestly rides like a modern car and has been brought to numerous shows in California with no issues whatsoever,” the couple said.
It rides on a set of BF Goodrich Silvertowns, adorned with hubcaps off a 1957 Cadillac. A Ron Davis custom radiator with a Mark VIII electric fan keeps everything cool in the Buick. “It will idle or run all day, even with the air-conditioning on in the summer, and still not get over 190 degrees Fahrenheit,” the couple said.
The roof is painted a Kandy Apple Red with mini flake, courtesy of House of Kolor. The black and red paint help to complement each other, creating a strikingly appealing Buick that is far from ordinary. Moving inside of the car, a Vintage Air and heating system is coupled with a Custom Autosound stereo with audiophile Infinity speakers.
4. One Raucous Chevy
Peeling away from the last custom, the next great ride we stumbled across at the show was Brent Haines’ 1946 Ford truck. This super custom truck caught our eye from afar with its slammed stance and protruding exhaust pipes from the mill. Coming from Gilbert, Arizona, Brent’s truck spells out aggression, rebellion, and attitude.
Cut from a different grain, Brent’s truck was surrounded by timeless American muscle cars and unmolested vintage automobiles. With so much going on, it’s difficult where to begin on this cool custom truck, which was given the name “F Bomb” by Brent.
Talking power numbers, it is powered by an exposed Chevy 350 cubic-inch V8, mated with a Turbo-Hydramatic 350 automatic transmission to help put down power. Custom fabricated pipes shoot out the sides thanks to a Speedway Motors kit. The wedge chopped top, matte black paint, and intricate pinstriping on the back of the cab and trunk lid add a nice custom touch. The black steelies are wrapped with whitewall Firestone tires, giving the truck an aggressive touch.
The front end has a hood and grille off a 1940 Cadillac, and the suspension components, exhaust system, and the firewall were fabricated by Brent.
“The angled door handles and exhaust tips help add to the theme I was aiming for,” said Haines. “If you look inside, it screams rock-a-billy, punk, and kustom. I built everything on this truck with my own two hands.”
Speaking of the interior, the spiked shifter, various rock-a-billy and Bomb Squad stickers, and the worn dash give off an old school feel that translates well with its rowdy exterior features. The interior also includes Frank Wallac bomber seats, and an authentic B-17 bomber air tank out back was converted into a fuel tank.
“The one thing that really stands out on this truck are the wood planks, which are actually from my grandfather’s barn in Virginia,” Brent said. “The bomber seats are wrapped in hand-woven Mexican blankets and have street signs as backings.”
3. Keeping It In The Family
Moving from darkness to vibrance, we had the opportunity to speak with Ken Massey of Scottsdale about his wonderful 1956 Chevrolet pickup truck. Bathed in a two-tone aqua paint and creamy white along the back of the cabin, Ken’s truck is an amazing and detailed build.
“It actually used to be my dad’s work truck way back in 1956 when the truck first rolled out,” said Ken. “To be honest, I learned how to drive in this truck when I was 13 years old in a small town in Texas. I have so many memories with this truck, it’s unbelievable that it’s still with me today.”
With so much history, and the fact that it was kept in the family, Ken’s truck holds a lot of sentimental value, which keeps this truck glued to his side. Ken’s father sold him the truck in 1973 for $50 since it had an unusable clutch. Bringing it to Scottsdale, he painted it metallic blue, put in a 327 cubic-inch V8, and a T-10 four-speed manual transmission.
Due to other circumstances, the truck ended up sitting along the side of Ken’s house for almost 30 years. “Time was definitely not a friend to this wonderful memory of my past,” he said. “Restoration began in 2013 in my garage and was completed just before this show, on November 17, 2015.”
Being able to witness the resurrection and display of a family-owned truck was a spectacle to see and we can’t complain about the results. It retains its stock trim, sits on a set of 15-inch Rocket Racing Wheels, and has the original bench seat with a modern day touch. The rear bumper has been reversed with a center exiting exhaust, an under-bed gas tank with push button fender fill, smoothed bumpers, hidden wiring, and hidden air conditioner lines.
“I’d like to thank my son Brandon, Gary Atkins, Carl Kuehn, Tom Tyma, Clay Mullis at Full Tilt Hot Rods, Dave Watts at Widow Industries, and Frank Ceballos at Ceballos Customs for all of their help,” said Ken. “I couldn’t do it without them as each of them lent their time and effort to make this all happen.”
2. Pat Neve’s Mercury Lead Sled
An outstanding vehicle that simply couldn’t be missed at the show was Pat Neve’s loud 1951 Mercury lead sled. A crowd favorite, families were snapping pictures of their kids with the miniature version of his creation. Taking home Best of Show in the 2014 Southwest Regionals in Scottsdale, first place at the 2015 Arizona Super Show, and Best Custom at the 2015 Best In The West Custom Car Show in Phoenix, his custom that is quite familiar in Arizona. We were honored to see it in person.
“The powertrain includes a ZZ4 crate engine, an Edelbrock manifold with dual quad carburetors, Ron Francis wiring, and powder-coated Sanderson headers,” said Pat. “It puts down an even 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.”
Furthermore, the engine is mated to a Turbo Hydramatic 350 automatic transmission and custom spindle stainless steel A-arms, and a custom Ridetech air suspension system. “The top has been chopped three inches, all of the moldings have been removed and smoothed,” Neve said. “The door handles are shaved and the front rear bumpers have been molded.”
From top to bottom, Neve’s custom Mercury is dazzling. Other features include a custom dash, Lokar pedals, stainless steel sills, a billet steering wheel, and a Sony 10 stacker sound system in the trunk. This was by far one of our favorite all-steel customs at the show.
1. Beauty And Class
First encountered at the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, we caught up with Robert Anderson and his elegant 1940 Ford pickup. Being awarded Goodguys 2015 Truck of the Year, his custom was on full display and glistening in the Arizona sun.
The truck has a 1 1/2-inch chop, custom back glass, custom front and rear bumpers, custom rear roll pan, grille, and a pancaked hood. “There’s so much to tell you about, but the thing I wanted the most in this truck was a Coyote engine,” Robert said.
Other body modifications include a custom firewall made specifically to fit the Coyote engine, custom inner fenders, and a smoothed tailgate. “The paint is a unique color that I have yet to name,” he said.
This truck is the complete package and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
– Robert Anderson
Rolling back on what Robert mentioned earlier, the glorious truck houses a Ford Coyote 5.0-liter V8 engine, complete with an intake and custom valve cover. The truck spins on a set of Schott Octane wheels, which were painted bronze with polished centers and spokes, all wrapped in Pirelli rubber.
The interior is just as beautiful as the outside, which has a custom leather dash, Classic Instruments gauges, and Wise Guys seats with die-stamped leather inserts. “This truck is the complete package and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” he said.
In The End
With so many automobiles to see and drool over, we enjoyed our time at the 2015 Goodguys Southwest Nationals. Having the opportunity to speak with several car owners, the hot rod community is alive and well in Arizona, and we thank every one of them for their positive attitudes and inviting spirit.
We hope you liked what we presented and hope to bring you more when the 2016 Goodguys show season rolls out. To check out the 2016 Goodguys event schedule, be sure to visit its website for more information.