Some things are so big they only need one name. Baseball fans know all too well who The Babe is. Rockers have no doubt who is being referenced when they hear about The Boss. And so it is with the Goodguys PPG Nationals-all you have to do is mention its more common moniker, Columbus, and gearheads across the nation know that the subject has turned to one of the biggest, varied, and most influential happenings in the classic car hobby. This year's edition, the 11th annual, stayed true to form, summoning street rods, customs, classic trucks, and pre-'72 musclecars of every ilk, topped by a stunning array of Chevy musclecars contending for the coveted Goodguys/Air Ride Street Machine of the Year award.
There were a few reasons to worry that this year's Columbus show wouldn't live up to expectations. The event occurred just about on top of this summer's spike in gas prices-along with other economic difficulties. And if that wasn't enough to make one worry for the show's attendance, Saturday afternoon's thunderstorms turned into an outright downpour, elements of which lasted into Sunday morning. We're told that it's the first rain the event has seen in 11 years. But none of that mattered. At this Columbus meet, 6,400 classic vehicles made the scene, as did 100,000 spectators. Both numbers equaled last year's figures, which ain't too shabby. Add in 400 vendors, the largest number yet at a Goodguys show, and Columbus easily comes across as nothing short of a classic-car Mecca.
As for the quality of machines that made their way to the spacious Ohio Expo Center, suffice it to say that there was something on hand to match tastes of all types, from unrestored classics and nice resto-mod cruisers to spectacular no-holds-barred pavement pounders, with just about everything in between. In general, Columbus No. 11, with its wealth of vendors showing off trick new goodies, abundant cool car turn out, and generous helping of spectators, showed that the classic-car hobby continues to enjoy good health. And while the hobby in general is looking good, as evidenced here, the interest in classic Chevys is kicking like a mule.
Of the 28 contestants for the Goodguys/Air Ride Street Machine of the Year award, the vast majority were GM products. First-gen Camaros infused with copious amounts of power and handling combined with modern luxuries and eye-popping paint schemes reigned supreme. In fact, all five of the finalists for the prize were Chevys, with a single Nova breaking up what would otherwise have been a Camaro party. And if further proof of a hale and hearty Chevy scene is needed, all the aspirants had to prove their mettle on Air Ride Technologies' Street Challenge autocross course to be eligible.
In a way, it all symbolizes this automotive extravaganza-enthusiasts got out their prized Chevy rides and proceeded to show 'em off and drive 'em and to hang out with plenty of likeminded souls. That's Columbus. Check it out.