The Goodguys PPG Nationals In Columbus, Ohio - Better Than Ever
With Runnin' And Gunnin' Added To The Showin' And Shinin', The Goodguys PPG Nationals In Columbus, Ohio, Has Raised The Bar For Their Premier Event Of The Year.
From the February, 2009 issue of Popular Hot Rodding
By Johnny Hunkins
Photography by Johnny Hunkins, Robert McGaffin
For many hot rodders, the pinnacle of the event season is the Goodguys PPG Nationals, held the second weekend in July at the Ohio state fairgrounds in Columbus, Ohio. It's a huge gathering, with thousands of cars sprawled across the hundred-acre venue. Veteran attendees know better than to go for just one day-this show needs all three days to get the maximum benefit.
The Goodguys gathering in Columbus is huge for a reason-if you stick a pin in a map at Columbus and draw a 500-mile radius around it, you'll find 75 percent of the country's hot rods inside that small circle. Columbus is hot rod central, and few places outside the Ohio state fairgrounds are large enough to host the event at the level Goodguys members are accustomed to.
For 2008, the Goodguys Rod & custom Association experienced an epiphany of sorts. For some time, the number of muscle cars at their events had been on the rise, and the acceptance of them among the more staunch street rodders has finally been realized. The turning point came as participants, along with key vendors involved with handling and suspension components, realized their dream of holding a live-action autocross. Called the Street Challenge Autocross, this event has turned out to be a crowd favorite, with hundreds of spectators (and show-car converts) turning out for the action.
The Street Challenge Auto...
The Street Challenge Auto Cross is always a popular event at any Goodguys show, but at the PPG Nationals in Columbus, it's required for all cars entered in the Street Machine Of The Year competition. Here, Glen Baugus wrings out his '72 'Cuda through the tight course.
The Columbus event has always been home to the Street Machine Of The Year event, in which the top builders battle it out for honors in a build style we've come to know as Pro Touring, or g-Machine. The build style is characterized by max-effort suspensions, grippy tires, big brakes, and flexible powertrains. As Pro Touring cars become more exotic and packed full of the newest technology, many in the hobby wondered if there was a commensurate level of real performance to go along with all that style. When handing out the SMOY award in years past, there was always that nagging question: These cars can talk the talk, but can they really walk the walk?
Already a rousing success, the Street Challenge autocross would be the perfect crucible in which to test the mettle of the SMOY competitors at this year's PPG Nationals. So it came to pass that a bevy of high-end muscle cars-some deep into the six-figure price range-hit the timed autocross in mind-bending fury. With that said, at this point in time, the actual lap times don't affect the ranking or judging, they merely proudly reinforce, or embarrassingly disprove a car's status as a bona fide performer. Perhaps at some later date, the autocross lap times will be the basis of ranking, or perhaps a maximum lap e.t. could be established for SMOY entrants. Either way, we can't complain. It's the right move for this stand-out class of cars.
At the end of the day, Erv Woller of North Lake, Wisconsin, won the Street Machine Of The Year contest with his '69 Camaro, but to say that the PPG Nationals is just a playground for high-end muscle machines would be false. We enjoy coming to Columbus every year because of the tremendous variety of cars, from high end, to Joe six-pack. Man can't live on a diet of '69 Camaros alone, and the Columbus crowd gave us a great selection of makes and models to salivate over. We've tried to show here the range of machines at Columbus this past July, and hope you'll make the effort to join us next year when we visit again!
Pardon Me, Sir ...
... but do you have any Grey Poupon? You'll have to forgive Tod Weston if his '70 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow is a bit cartoonish, but it really does represent the best of both worlds. "I had the Rolls Royce, and I always loved Hemis as a kid," says Tod, "so I thought, why not put two great things together?" Yes indeed, why not? Tod is a real estate lawyer from Fort Lauderdale, FL, so what better way to break the ice with clients at the golf course than with a Rolls powered by a 472ci Ray Barton-built Hemi? Tod credits Little Joe's Hot Rods in Denver, NC, for putting his highbrow Hemi together.
Street Machine Of The Year
The country's top award for a performance-based Street Machine was presented to North Lake, Wisconsin's Erv Woller. Woller's '69 Camaro. Known as "RAZOR," it was built by the Ring brothers of Spring Green, Wisconsin-the same team that produced last year's Street Machine of the Year winner. That's the first time in the 14-year history of the award the winning car was produced by the same build team in consecutive seasons.
Featuring a two-tone gray and orange design, "Hunter" leather interior, carbon fiber hood and decklid, a Detroit Speed & Engineering Quadralink suspension, and one-off custom Budnik wheels, Woller's Camaro exudes class and ingenuity. Both Mike and Jim Ring, known for their ability to design and fabricate parts from carbon fiber as well as their finesse in body and paint applications, completely repainted RAZOR during a 96-hour period over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The car debuted June 27 at a Goodguys event in Nashville, and when the car hit the sunlight, they saw some flaws they knew would not serve the car well in Columbus at the Street Machine Of The Year judging. "It was a painful decision," says Jim Ring. "Mike and I were at each other's throats and our wives may never talk to us again. It had to be done. You build a car like this for this event and this award. It means everything."
Woller expressed his gratitude for all the hard work of the build team. "When you embark on a project like this, you become family with everyone involved in the car. It's a project that takes a lot of resources and countless hours. I couldn't be prouder."
Part of this year's award criteria mandated that all eligible vehicles take part in a demanding three-lap autocross. Woller strapped himself into RAZOR and cranked out three very impressive lap times with a best of 18.466 for the 1,000-foot course. In the end, RAZOR defeated the largest field of contenders ever (28 cars) for the Street Machine Of The Year crown. The top five finalists for this year's award included Kevin Alstott ('68 Camaro), Gary Abraham ('70 Nova), Woller's RAZOR, Jeff Hanson ('69 Camaro), and James McLeod ('69 Camaro Convertible).
|BY THE NUMBERS |
|“RAZOR” 1969 Camaro |
|Erv Woller, North Lake, Wisconsin |
|OVERALL FABRICATION |
|Constructors: ||Ring brothers, Spring Green, WI |
|Design concept: ||Sean Smith, SS Design |
|Interior & design: ||Upholstery Unlimited |
| ||(Steve Pearson) |
|Carbon fiber body components: ||hood, decklid, |
| ||rear bumper, and brake duct air intakes |
| ||all custom fab by Ring brothers |
|Machined parts: ||custom-machined taillight bezels, |
| ||rear fuel filler, shifter plate, gauge bezels, |
| ||ignition switch plates, hood hinges, |
| ||wheelhouse vents by Ring brothers |
|Engine: ||GM Performance all aluminum |
| ||ZL1 big-block, 454 ci |
|Transmission: ||Viper T-56, six-speed manual |
|Front: ||Detroit Speed & Engineering |
| ||hydroformed front subframe |
|Rear: ||Detroit Speed & Engineering Quadralink |
|Paint: ||BASF RM line |
| ||(Mineral Gray and other custom blends) |
|Wheels & tires: ||custom Budnik wheels, |
| ||18x10 front; 19x12, rear; |
| ||Goodyear tires |
|Gauges: ||custom by Classic Instruments |
|Exhaust: ||Flowmaster Super 44 |
Deal Of The Decade!
You can browse through swap meets and car corrals all summer long and never come across a deal like this. In fact, Mark Fannin's '71 Chevelle is the mythical dream deal you always hear about and search for, but almost never find. Here's what we mean: Mark wants $25K for his '71, which runs 10.80s with pump gas on pure motor. It's a super clean, straight, rust-free street car with new Lexus paint, a perfect interior, and a rollbar. Under the hood is a 489ci big-block with an Eagle stroker kit, Dart Pro 1 heads, Victor Jr. intake, 830 Holley, and a mild roller cam. Running gear includes a built Turbo 400 with a TCI 3,800-stall converter, a 12-bolt rear with 4.10 gears, and Mickey Thompson drag radials. We're not usually into pimpin' other folks cars for sale, but c'mon, people, some reader needs to step in and grab this up. Give Mark a call if you're interested (937-320-0801). This thing spanks our '68 Chevelle (Project Street Sweeper) for about half the price.
Bobby Alloway of Alloway's...
Bobby Alloway of Alloway's Hot Rod Shop built this sweet small-block-powered '68 Camaro for a customer. We don't know much about it, but it sure was hustling through the Street Challenge Autocross. We're chasing it for a feature, and hope to have it for you later this year.
We stopped by the Toyo Tire...
We stopped by the Toyo Tire booth in the manufacturers' midway and talked with Toyo spokesmodel Bianca Smith (26). We asked Bianca to pose with the Proxes S/T tire (size 275/40R20) on Gene Gerber's '29 Ford (Springfield, IL). Bianca has modeled for Import Tuner, Super Street Bike, and Modified magazine, so she was well prepared for our camera!
The '64-72 GM A-bodies get...
The '64-72 GM A-bodies get all the glory these days, but the earlier ones are actually much smaller, and had quite a few innovations that never survived. Much like today, there was a gas crunch, and manufacturers rushed to produce lightweight, thrifty cars with style. Take, for, instance the Olds Starfire with its all-aluminum turbo V-8, or the Pontiac Tempest with its rope driveshaft, rear transaxle, and independent rear suspension. This '62 Buick Skylark is owned by Terry Stinehelfer of Bucyrus, OH. It's got a 215ci aluminum V-8, stroked to 266 ci. Terry built it as a "phantom GSX"-his interpretation of what a '62 GSX would look like.
Carb manufacturer Barry Grant...
Carb manufacturer Barry Grant (left) gives one-on-one carb advice to one of his customers-Ken Guge of Kokomo, IN. Ken has a Road Demon in his '28 Ford and was pleased to get the lowdown from the man who built his carb. Note the Badman inline four-barrel carb in the foreground; we'll be dyno testing one of the first production units in a few months.
Columbus and the PPG Nationals...
Columbus and the PPG Nationals is the place where the Goodguys Giveaway car-a '70 Chevelle built by Precision Coachworks and Air Ride Technologies-was awarded to one lucky winner. But before that happened, it was time for one last flog through the autocross course. Hmm, who should drive? How about veteran racecar driver and LeMans winner, Scott Pruett?
This absolutely gorgeous street...
This absolutely gorgeous street rod is a breathtaking interpretation of a '27 Ford roadster. It's owned by Michael Chetcuti of Livonia, MI, and has a 392ci late-model Hemi backed by a 727 Torqueflite trans. Workmanship on the '27 was absolutely stunning.
Equally stunning is the '70...
Equally stunning is the '70 Nova known as "Notorious." Owned by Gary Abraham and built by Rad Rides By Troy, Notorious is one of the baddest alternative fuel muscle machines we've ever seen; a 572ci big-block is inflated by a F-2 Procharger, and fed a diet of E85. It makes over 1,000 to the wheels. The suspension is all Detroit Speed & Engineering; a hydroformed front subframe up front and a Quadralink four-link in the rear do a really good job of keeping this beast planted on terra firma. We've been begging Troy to let us shoot this for you-and we think the deal is just about done.
Dan The Cable Guy Forgotten...
Dan The Cable GuyForgotten muscle cars are a favorite topic around the office, and one we've always admired is the unsung '67-69 Thunderbird. These cars were sleek, powerful, luxurious, and have a look that's still sexy well into the 21st century. We don't know why these never caught on, but that's fine with 28-year-old Dan Scarbro, a cable service technician from Englewood, Ohio. Dan paid just $800 for his '68 T-bird, which came with a standard 429ci big-block-the first year for the Lima-built big-block. Dan did all the work himself, including the flat-black paintjob-right out of a Rustoleum can! Dan says the pinstripe job was done by Shane Syx.
We're suckers for a freak...
We're suckers for a freak show like this! It's a real '69 Camaro that has been chopped, cut, spliced, shortened, and narrowed in every dimension imaginable. About the size of a go-cart, Manny Powell's '69 is powered by a very much life-sized 6-71-blown 454 big-block. Powell is from Newark, OH.
When we saw Steve Davis (Grove...
When we saw Steve Davis (Grove City, OH) drive by in his '70 Cougar, we chased him down in our golf cart. He almost got away-his 428 Cobra Jet had a lot more sauce than our Briggs & Stratton, but he ran into traffic. This really clean example is mostly stock with a cam and a C6 trans. Yet another great muscle car that gets little attention!
Sometimes you see a simple...
Sometimes you see a simple car that is just right-not fancy or powerful or tricky-just plain nice. Sam Ramondelli's '68 Nova presented a sweet silhouette, so we shot it. It's a clean four-speed car with a hot little 327. Sam lives right there in Columbus, OH, and has owned it since 1982, so don't try to talk him out of it-we tried, and failed miserably.