For Muslims it's Mecca, and for Catholics it would be the Vatican, but for devout gearheads the yearly pilgrimage would have to be the Goodguys mega event in Columbus, Ohio. Each year thousands of hot rodders embark on the journey to the Ohio Expo Center for what is arguably one of the biggest shows in hot rodding, and 2009 was no exception. For one reason, it's the event where Goodguys crowns the Street Rod and Street Machine of the Year. Another reason is that it's where they give away a badass ride (this year was a Nova built by Precision Coachworks) to one lucky Goodguys member. For these, and many other factors, this has become a show that should be on every car enthusiast's bucket list.
Did we mention this show is big? The good part is that it gives visitors a chance to check out nearly 6,500 very cool rides. The bad part is that space is at a premium so the autocross is only ran on Friday. This lets the Goodguys staff convert the track over to an additional 200 parking spaces for the very busy weekend. Oh well, we would certainly rather have one day of cone madness than none.
Our '68 Camaro happened to be in the area, so we drove it over from nerby Dayton, Ohio, for a little fun. Since the auto-x is ran just one day, only two groups could participate: Vendors' cars, and cars competing for the Street Machine Of The Year (SMOTY) award. Over 30 rides competed this year for the SMOTY, and as is typically the case, a large chunk of them were Camaros. Last year they added the rule that in order to be eligible for the award, entrants were required to run the autocross. The times don't count towards getting in the top five, but points for style and effort are factored in. After all, it would be hard to give top honors to someone who babied their ride around the simple course.
Saturday started out great, but that infamous Midwest weather kicked in and the event was deluged with rain for a few hours. Luckily none of the cars were actually made out of sugar (although some car owners act as if they are), and the precipitation eventually subsided. Last year, four of the top five cars were Camaros, but this year the final five was a bit more balanced, with a Ford, a Mopar, a Pontiac, and a couple Chevys in the mix. The top pick ended up being a completely off-the-hook '62 Corvette built by Roadster Shop.
Next year when we make our pilgrimage back east for this event, we'll be pulling for a Camaro to take the top spot.