The Goodguys staff of car enthusiasts are well known for throwing some of the very best hot rod and custom car shows all across the nation, but there is just something magical about visiting their hometown show where it all began.
The Goodguys 26th West Coast Nationals Presented by Flowmaster was held in the heart of downtown Pleasanton, California at the Alameda County fairgrounds on August 24th through the 26th. This year more than 3,700 of the west coast’s finest hot rods, classics, customs, and anything cool as long as it’s pre-72 came out and flooded the fairgrounds for our enjoyment.
Now, when we say “the west coast’s finest” what we actually mean is rods from all over the west coast, plus many others that traveled from states as far away as Tennessee and even down from Canada to make this weekend event. Over 70,000 spectators came through the gates eager to gain inspiration, find that perfect part for their project, show their family a great time, or just to relive some good ol’ fashion hot rod memories.
One of the many treats about the Goodguys events is their planning and all encompassing fun for the whole family. The effort really shows as they have something for everyone to enjoy all weekend long including; vendor and manufacturer exhibits, full swap meet and cars for sale corral, Goodgals gallery, kids play area (which included go-karts this year), model and pedal car show, mini engines display hall, Cushman display, valve cover races, nostalgia stage shows, pinstripers brush bash and auction, a Thursday night Kick-Off Party at the Pleasanton Hilton, and the Friday night Hot Rod Bash at the Hilton.
We had trouble writing about all of the mentioned events, much less actually attending and seeing them all in person. So, we checked off a few of our favorites and hit the ground running.
Perfect weather, a breathtaking venue, and the historical downtown atmosphere make the West Coast Nationals one of our favorite stops on the Goodguys tour. With all of the events and things to see, a long weekend is hardly enough time to take it all in, but we can certainly think of worse things than being surrounded by beautiful classics all weekend long.
Swap Meet Action
Every year it seems that good vintage parts are getting harder and harder to find and the prices seem to keep going up. While that is true for obvious reasons, the good deals are still there, they just take a little work on your part! These swap meets are the perfect place to spend hours on end searching for that one piece of the puzzle that you’ve been missing. We got lost for hours among the rows and rows of rarities, cars for sale in all forms of completion, and just listening to some “ol’ timers” talking about the yesteryears.
For these reasons and others, the swap meet and cars for sale corral tends to be one of our favorite parts of the Goodguys shows and events, and always keeps us coming back looking for more great finds and rare parts for the next project.
Hot Rods Galore
Literally, one of the finest collections of custom cars could be seen over the weekend spectacular. We had a hard time picking our favorites as we spent hours and hours drooling on many rides throughout the show grounds. From the classic ’32 Fords, to lead sleds, barn finds, and muscle cars – there was enough american steel of all shapes and sizes to get your blood pumping and make you run back to your garage and start cutting.
This year’s show theme was ’40 Fords Forever so needless to say there were tons of fine examples of 1940 Ford Coupes in all states of restoration, customization, and the like.
It was hard to take ten steps without running into another gorgeous classic. This year we noticed that more and more people are growing fond of the “slammed” look from the old salt flat hot rods and adapting the stance to their classic or custom. The trick here is, to retain the classy lines of the car, but give it just the right stance and we have to admit, we rather enjoy seeing the creativity of these unique builds.
Fun For All Ages
As we mentioned, the family atmosphere of the West Coast Nats is second to none. There are fun events and happenings for everyone in the family. Obviously Dad will be apt to gravitate toward the show fields and drool over the thousands of pristine customs in attendance, while Mom might prefer to shop the vendor areas and galleries or relax in the shade. But the kids will have a ball with the go-karts and main stage shows along with plenty of live entertainment.
And for the “big kids” there’s the mini engine hall where over 30 mini engines of all shapes, styles, makes, and sizes are on display and in working order. Many of the builders were on hand to explain all of the intricate details and what it took to create such amazing working models.
Vendors and Goodies
Walking the show it’s easy to find almost anything you’d be looking for, whether it’s parts for your project or just some cool garage decor. With hundreds of the industries finest vendors, Goodguys vendor row and galleries never disappoint.
Food, parts, and fun – that was all easy pickings and with the smiles on our faces and those in attendance it was probably pretty easy to see that we were in hot rod heaven!
Under the Hood
Walking this show it was easy to see that creative powerplants are also making a come back. The normal 350 sbc is cool when budget, time, and reliability are key – but many people are stepping back into the realm of vintage and building some really cool flatties, 440s, hemis, nailheads, rockets, and more creative transplants.
And speaking of bitchin’ engines and builds, our friends over at H&H Flatheads brought out some wicked builds on display.
You really never know what you’ll come across in Pleasanton. From the mild mannered to the extremely over-the-top, you’ll definitely see it out at the West Coast Nats.
Customs, Colors, & Just Plain Cool
Around every corner peered another killer custom. There were chopped and dropped fords and chevs, channeled dueces, and enough custom and cut street rods to keep us busy for weeks. But somehow we managed to comb the fairgrounds and bring you the best of the best.
There were enough killer hot rods that we literally could have spent all weekend in just one corner of the show, but that just wouldn’t cut it for our readers who demand the best, so we booked it back and fourth to capture this show in all of it’s glory for those that couldn’t be there in person. Stay tuned for our Top 10 Rod Authority Picks, and for more information on this and other upcoming Goodguys events, check out the Goodguys website for frequent updates.
Although, spectators and participants alike come to see all of the great cars on hand, there are also major honors to be had for the top of their class. The coveted America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod Winner went to Garry and Dania Crawford of El Dorado, Kansas who despite very tight competition, took home the Goodguys/Flowmaster 2012 America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod Crown!
Flowmaster America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod Winner:
Garry and Dania Crawford of El Dorado, Kansas 1940 Chevy
Flowmaster America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod Finalists:
- David Rios Los Gatos, CA ’40 Ford
- Mike Holmes Bellevue, WA ’39 Ford Ute
- Roger Hill Vancouver, WA ’39 Chevy
- Brent Scheider Pleasanton, CA ’37 Ford
- Steve Keefer Brentwood, CA ’69 Camaro
- Dan Sobieski La Habra, CA ’32 Ford
- Jerry Logan Hillsboro, OR ’34 Ford
- Tom Pagano Rancho Cordova, CA ’41 Willys
- Scott Van Steenwyk Rossmoore, CA ’33 Ford
- Frank & Mary Lawrence Bakersfield, CA ’48 Chevy P/U
- Mike & JoAnn Walker Wenatchee, WA ’54 Chevy
- Gary Crawford El Dorado, KS ’40 Chevy
- David Rios Los Gatos, CA ’40 Ford
- Mike Holmes Bellevue, WA ’39 Ford Ute
Goodguys Pick – Steve & Peggy Nowotny Vacaville, CA ’28 Ford P/U
- J Rockcliff Rock Star Award – Brent Scheider Pleasanton, CA ’37 Ford
- YoungGuys Nathan Strube Memorial Award – Nick Speridon Pope Valley, CA ’71 Dodge
- Speedway Motors Homebuilt Heaven – Dwayne Rollins Sacramento, CA ’28 Ford
- Speedway Motors Traditional Homebuilt Heaven – Gary & Sharon Mayes Gardnerville, NV ’30 Ford
- Chopped and Dropped – Brian Nieri San Jose, CA ’40 LaSalle
- Dare to be Different – Janey Caravallo San Martin, CA ’57 Nash
- Host Club Pick – Jim Kendall Lafayette, CA ’67 GTO
- Period Perfect – Mitch Doss Winchester, OR ’29 Ford
- Rodders Rep Pick – Bill & Judy Peratt Windsor, CO ’32 Ford
- Rodders Rep Pick – Marlause Klein Bakersfield, CA ’54 COE
- Rodders Rep Pick – Steve & Danya Sisack Sacramento, CA ’46 Ford
- Suede & Chrome Rollin – Silveira Atwater, CA ’31 Ford
- Timeless Traditional – Richard Hinemann Visalia, CA ’25 Ford
- Wildcard Just Cause It’s Neat – Russ & Ru Moen Port Alberni, B.C. ’54 COE
- 40 Fords Forever – Dave West Paso Robles, CA ’40 Ford
Check out the exclusive Rod Authority GALLERY: