Officially, it’s called the Goodguys PPG Nationals, but anyone “in the know” simply refers to it as Goodguys Columbus. After all, this is the “big daddy” of the outdoor car shows geared towards classic hot rods, muscle cars and street machines. Goodguys Columbus has always been a mecca for vintage hot rodders with a taste for early street rods and customs, however, when Goodguys introduced the event in 1998 they couldn’t help but take notice of the undeniable increase in popularity of late-sixties and early seventies muscle cars, and opened up the invite to consist of 1972 and earlier cars.
Historically, the show has been dominated by pre-1949 cars, but the 2008 show marked a noticeable increase in post ‘50s hot rods. In fact, 51% of the 6,000-plus registered cars were 1950 and newer – a Goodguy’s first. It just goes to show that the muscle car and street machine segment of the hobby, have made huge strides in popularity among classic car enthusiasts.
As this surge continues, the aftermarket is blowing up with new and improved products designed for almost every make and model of late-sixties and early-seventies hot rods—and were not just talking tires, wheels, and brakes—some of the most technologically advanced, modern suspension components are now available to convert once ill-handling ’60s muscle cars into corner carving g-machines. You have to remember, when these cars were new, straight-line racing was all the rage, nationwide. So, relatively speaking, there was limited public interest in lateral g driving at the time. As Stock and Super Stock drag cars were bringing home Wallys on the drag strip, Ford, Chevy, and Chrysler dealerships were reaping the rewards in the showroom; Hence the mantra, “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday.”
Today, the Goodguys autocross offers a great forum for suspension and chassis building companies to show the functionality of their wares in front of a huge, captive audience.
It all started in 2007, Goodguys and the folks at Air Ride Technologies put the idea together and began testing the waters by setting up an autocross at a few select events. Widely accepted by spectators, competitors, and vendors its popularity soon made it a premier attraction at selected events. So much so, they’ve added the timed course at nine events for the 2008 season.
“We’ve gotten such a positive response to the Street Challenge Autocross this year that we’ve decided to add it to two of the four Pleasanton events in 2009.” Informs Goodguys Publicity Director, John Drummond. “We’re also looking to add it to other events, but limited space at some venues is an issue.”
Generally the Street Challenge Autocross is open to all show entrants registered at the event, but due to the lack of real estate at the 11th Annual PPG Nationals, track time was limited to Friday only and broken down into two segments. The morning session was reserved for vendor cars, while the afternoon track time was booked only for competitors vying for the coveted Goodguys Street Machine of the Year award. Each SMOY competitor was required to make a minimum of 3 laps around the track in order to remain in contention for the hardware -- a testament to the fact that these big-dollar show cars not only look good, but can handle the rigors of a tightly laid out combination of twist and turns.
With a total of 28 cars going into battle for top honors, we couldn’t help but make note that the lion’s share of the vehicles were 1st-gen Camaros—most notably ’69s. As the field was cut down to the top five, the Camaro was once again among the majority as 4 of the Fab Five were F-bodies, making the Troy Trepanier-built ’70 Nova, aptly named Notorious, the only non-Camaro left on the hot rod stage. In the end Erv Wollar’s, Ring Brothers’ built ’69 Camaro known as Razor took home the 2008 Goodguys Street Machine of the Year award.
Goodguys Columbus, Goodguys PPG Nationals. Whatever you want to call it, it’s one of the most exciting shows of the summer, especially for those into 60s and 70s muscle. And if you happen to be into classic Camaros, it’s a proverbial slam dunk.
There were very few 2nd-gens on the grounds, but we managed to brave the rain to get a shot of Taylor Havener’s ’70. He’s a member of the Young Guys, meaning he’s under 25, so he’s got plenty of time, and a nice foundation to lay down some killer pigment over that primered sheetmetal.