In Southern California, March is a pretty big deal, and it's not because we get to shelve the snow blowers. It's because our car drivin' season, which never really ends, kicks back into high gear. This year Goodguys decided to switch it up a bit and run the Del Mar event before the Costa Mesa show, but the result was still the same; two killer hot rod events a scant 30 days apart and separated by a mere hour's drive on the freeway.
The Goodguys events are "something for everyone" deals. Want to check out top show cars? They have thousands. Just want to chill out to music and scope out the offerings from vendors? Yep, they have you covered. But what really gets us wound up is the autocross. Sure, by SCCA standards it's low speed and on the brief side, but that's not a bad thing. Muscle car enthusiasts who would be far too intimidated to venture onto a full-blown autocross track can get their feet wet here first. We've seen more than a few guys get that "I'm hooked" look in their eyes after running a few laps at a Goodguys event. In our opinion Goodguys is doing a huge service to our hobby by exposing people to the concept of beating on our classic rides.
The rules are simple: If you paid for your car to be in the show you can run the cones, provided your car can pass a basic tech inspection. Given the slower speeds (less than 35 mph), helmets aren't required. Again, this helps the event feel less threatening to those new to autocrossing.
As for the shows, they were a blast. Del Mar was for pre-'73 cars only so our '01 Black Betty Z28 was kept out and our '68 Bad Penny project was still getting its new 454 LS engine installed. Still, we managed to snag a few rides in other people's Camaros. Costa Mesa, on the other hand, saw both project Camaros tearing up the asphalt. In fact, the Costa Mesa autocross was so popular that they had to cut it off at 67 cars. It's nice to see that others are as addicted to this driving deal as we are.
Getting there was half the fun
Just a few weeks prior to the Goodguys 10th Annual Del Mar Nationals, we thought it would be a cool idea to throw together a casual cruise to the event one day prior to the show. So we spread the word and gathered up a crew from the Camaro Performers magazine staff, as well as our buds Henry De Los Santos and Sean Haggai from Chevy High Performance magazine to come along. We even coaxed a few industry folks to join in on the fun. Art and Craig Morrison and Matt Jones from Art Morrison Ent., Aaron Ogawa from Hotchkis Performance, Jimi Day from Optima Batteries, Bob Endres and Gil Cormaci from Vortech Engineering, Albert Melchior from Carbon Customs, and a slew of muscle car guys, including The Tennessee Posse (seriously, they came all the way from Tennessee), all joined in on the 90-plus mile cruise.
We met up at Classic Industries in Huntington Beach, California, for coffee, donuts, and a tour of the facility around 9 a.m. With everyone fueled up on caffeine and sugar, we headed south and cruised though the 29-mile windy and picturesque Ortega Highway on our way to BBK Performance Parts in Temecula for some pizza and a shop tour. They even offered up their dyno to those willing to shed the horsepower truth about their hot rod.
After the BBK visit, we made our way down to Tony's Jacal Mexican restaurant in Salano Beach and met up with more cruisers and industry folks for some dinner, bench racing, and an all-around great time.
Even on such a short notice, the cruise was a huge success. With that said, you can bet we'll do it again. Only next year, our goal will be to have at least 100 cars join in on the action. We'll announce the exact date in Camaro Performers magazine and www.camaroperformers.com just as soon as we get the 2011 Goodguys Rod & Custom Association show schedule.