Goodguys Rod and Custom 9th Del Mar Nationals - Good Times
We Visit Goodguys' Del Mar Event For A Look At Some Cool Cars In Action On The Autocross Course, And On Display.
From the August, 2009 issue of Popular Hot Rodding
By Liz Miles
Photography by Johnny Hunkins, Liz Miles
Goodguys Rod and Custom Association has been around for over 20 years. Their founder, Gary Meaders, started Goodguys in the small, Northern California town of Alamo. Their first car show was held at the Pleasanton Fairgrounds in March 1983, when there were 400 cars in attendance, a pretty incredible turnout for their debut. This show is still being held in the same place, now yielding more than 3,000 cars. Since that first event in Pleasanton, Goodguys has put on almost 500 events, from vintage drag racing, to laid-back all-year get-togethers, to the National events where some of the most prestigious awards are bestowed.
Goodguys isn't just an organizer of events, but host to a culture. The Goodguys roster is over 70,000 members long, making it the largest hot rodding or street rodding organization in the United States. Anyone can visit and show their cars at their events, but members get some added bonuses. Aside from discounts for car show registration, members receive a subscription to the monthly Goodguys Gazette. The first issue was out in 1989, and has evolved into the full color, extra-large publication it is today. (We're subscribers too!) Goodguy's headquarters has had to move twice since its establishment because of the growth it's experienced. The company now has over 40 full-time employees to keep up with the growing hot rodding community. If it's rodding, and if it's hot, we're there. We made sure to pack some water bottles and some folding chairs in the trunks of our '76 and '68 Camaro project cars, and headed on down.
Del Mar is a beautiful city off the Pacific coast, just north of San Diego. It's home to fairgrounds famous for their horse racing. There were no races this weekend, however, and the horses' gallop was replaced with the sound of motor-brewed horsepower. This was Goodguys Rod and Custom's 9th annual Del Mar Nationals. Just weeks after the Goodguys Orange County get-together, everyone in Southern California already had their cars dusted off and ready to hit the show.
Unlike the Orange County get-together, the entries are limited to American cars '72 models and older--although as VIP guests, we did manage to sneak the '76 in for display purposes only. This makes for many more rods and customs, but also more classic American muscle cars. Even with the cut-off year of '72, there were still 2,700 cars entered; this gave the 70,000 attendees a lot to look at.
Over 200 vendors set up their rigs and erected their E-Z Ups and displayed the parts these rodders want to see. We always like to get our hands on what's new, as well as what's tried and true from these guys. What's really neat are the hands-on displays that let you put these parts into action. There aren't just new parts up for sale either; there are old treasures for sale in the swap meet too. If you don't have a project to scavenge parts for, take a trip to the Cars 4 Sale Corral, where anyone can park a project that needs a new home.
This was the first Street Challenge autocross event for Del Mar. Car show participants can actually drive their show cars on the autocross with timed results. I even gave it a shot with my '68 Camaro, which was a blast. The Autocross always draws a crowd, not just from the Pro Touring guys, but from everyone who enjoys the sound of wide-open-throttle V-8s and spinning tires.
This event is only once a year, so if you always wanted to visit SoCal, you'd be doing yourself a favor to make your way toward San Diego for this once-a-year event packed with beautiful cars, deals, autocross, and an all-around good time.
This is one of the few first-gen...
This is one of the few first-gen Camaros that is still with its original owner. Dean Sabey of Seattle, Washington, had plaques, pictures, and documents displayed around the car showing exactly how much this '67 RS Camaro means to him. He bought it months before his '67 honeymoon with Darlene, the woman he is still married to today. Since then, he's swapped out the original drivetrain for a 500hp LS2 and built the entire project from a design that artist Jason Rushforth created.
This '68 Mustang was supposed...
This '68 Mustang was supposed to be a mild street car that Scott Taylor of Sacramento, California, would build for his wife, Laura. Though still her car, the project snowballed into a 490-inch 700hp full-framed race-ready build. This is one of those cars that keeps your eyes busy discovering all sorts of carefully crafted details from nose to tail.
Donny Diffenbaugh of Spring...
Donny Diffenbaugh of Spring Valley, California, loves to bring his cute little girl, Chase, to the car show. The tiny 3-year-old does the best she can to keep this '68 GTO dust-free throughout the show. Donny has had this 468 big-block Chevy goat for two years now, and really loves the low-end grunt of the big-inch powerplant.
This '66 Mustang was built by a company called Fesler Built out of Phoenix. They specialize in customizing American muscle cars and updating them with modern performance parts. This car got special treatment, especially when it came to the body. Though most Mustangs of its kind have a fiberglass front valance, this one was fabricated from several pieces of steel to form this flawless nose that blends perfectly into the body. We borrowed a picture from their website, www.feslerbuilt.com, to show how it came together. It has a Windsor built by Roush Racing with a custom Imagine Injection fuel injection system atop. If you like their style, check out the 2010 special edition Camaro they are producing.
'69 Road Runner
Brje Forslund, born in Sweden, now a resident of Yorba Linda, California, fell in love with classic Mopars. He bought this '69 Road Runner, which still had its original 426-inch Hemi and 727 Torqueflite automatic transmission attached. He pulled the combo and had them rebuilt to produce and then handle 636 hp. The rest of the car was carefully restored to show off the extremely rare Q5-code Seafoam Turquoise Metallic paintjob that has been untouched since it was first sprayed in the factory. The suspension was restored, but unchanged from its heavy-duty torsion bar setup. He did, however, give the car a little upgrade with 18- and 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, matching the ones on his model car on the dash.
Street Challenge Autocross
Normally, you drive to the car show, find a parking spot, unload your chairs and cooler, and sit down for the rest of the day. Yawn! Car shows have changed, and driving your car is part of the new experience. Goodguys introduced the Street Challenge Autocross in 2006, and have events scheduled all year across the country. We were lucky enough to have two Southern California events this spring featuring the autocross. At Goodguy's Orange County get-together, editors from the car magazines rolled up their sleeves and gave it all they had to compete in the Editor's Challenge. One hour of the running time was given to them to produce their best lap times. There was no Editor's Challenge this time around so anyone could drive any time the course was open. This was the first time the autocross was held at this venue, and it was a major success with 478 cars competing. Though there are classes, timed runs, and winners, the atmosphere of the challenge was more fun and less competition. The classes were Street Machine, Vendor, and Street Rod, giving each participant a reasonably fair shot at winning.
SCCA National Champion, Mary...
SCCA National Champion, Mary Pozzi, smoked the competition in her '73 RS Camaro with the best lap of the weekend. She also scored the lowest lap time recorded with Steven Rupp's "Bad Penny" Camaro with a 29.2-second lap on tires that had too low of a treadwear rating to qualify.
Tech Editor Liz Miles swings...
Tech Editor Liz Miles swings her '68 Camaro though the last turn and across the finish line with a big grin on her face. She only got three runs in, but didn't do too bad!
Driving for vendor Detroit...
Driving for vendor Detroit Speed and Engineering, Stacy Tucker wields this '69 Camaro around the course for Fifth Place in the Vendor class. This Camaro is a strong hauler, but DSE's '70 Camaro is a little stronger, running around 2 seconds faster than the '69.
|STREET MACHINE |
|Driver: ||Car: ||Best lap: |
|Mary Pozzi ||’72 Camaro ||29.68 |
|Steven Rupp ||’68 Camaro ||29.93 |
| Chris McCrea ||’65 Cobra ||30.96 |
|James Shipka ||’67 Camaro ||31.81 |
|Liz Miles ||’68 Camaro ||31.96 |
|VENDOR CHALLENGE |
|Ryan Mathews ||’70 Camaro (DSE) ||29.94 |
|Nick Licatta ||’70 Camaro (DSE) ||30.43 |
|Kyle Tucker ||’70 Camaro (DSE) ||30.49 |
|Bret Voelkel ||’66 Chevelle (Air Ride) ||31.25 |
| Stacy Tucker ||’69 Camaro (DSE) ||31.65 |
|STREET ROD |
|Bob McGregor ||’46 Ford ||34.60 |
| Aaron Vukasovich ||’41 International ||35.43 |
| Dennis Russell ||’37 Cabriolet ||35.58 |
|John Bolstad ||’54 Nomad ||37.09 |
|Josue Albizuras ||’57 Chevy Truck ||38.41 |
The fender reads Yenko, but...
The fender reads Yenko, but we have our reservations on the authenticity of the car. There was no information posted by this '69 RS Camaro with the perfectly consistent rusty patina. The vintage American Racing wheels and slapper bars hint that one day this car may have been a performer, but now the wear, tear, and broken parts leave us wondering what had happened. There was no one to be found to claim the car as theirs, so it's a mystery.
Kacie and Sam of Temecula,...
Kacie and Sam of Temecula, California, came down to Del Mar with Napa Auto Parts to help promote the chain. They called out for volunteers to come play their car-facts game show on stage for a chance to win some nice car-care supplies. Our favorite game was the drag race reaction time tree, where people could test their reaction times against the girls' to win a NAPA hat.
Here, Jerilyn Kugel stands...
Here, Jerilyn Kugel stands proudly in front of her '32 "Muroc" roadster that she shares with her husband, Jerry. Together they run Kugel Komponents, which designs and sells specialized salt-flat roadsters and parts. Their roadsters are treated with a sloped-back windshield and other custom cues. This windshield gets removed for race day, where Jerilyn pushes this car to the 200-mph mark. The 650-horse Magna-Charged LS6 motor really helps get it there. It's not every day you see a 200-mph street car.
The Swap Meet
Swap meets are places where hidden treasures are found. This is where people can bring their collection of parts that are obsolete or useless to find a new home. We discovered some really cool stuff, and advise not to carry any cash if you don't wish to purchase anything--this might help keep you under control. If, however, you are looking to bring home some toys, pack a rolling basket cart so you don't have to carry anything.
This tent had magazines for...
This tent had magazines for sale that date back to the early '60s. While digging through, we found some old-school PHR's introducing Project X, our 40-year-old project car.
License plates are a really...
License plates are a really cool part of the car world. Often they are being used as art. At the swap meet, you could buy all sorts of retired plates from all over the United States and Europe! You can't use them to register your car, but they look pretty cool hanging in the garage. I bought several to decorate the garage.
There were also tons of knickknack...
There were also tons of knickknack items and staples for any garage. It was hard to pass this table by without picking up a couple new tools and supplies. Later, when you see the same items at the local hardware store for three times more, you'll be kicking yourself!