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By Jan Wagner - syndicated weekly columnist/photojournalist
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GOODGUYS 4th Annual Del Mar Rod & Custom Nationals – Coming Soon

 


A previous GOODGUYS show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds (photo from GOODGUYS)

The GOODGUYS Rod & Custom Association will be holding their big show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on April 2, 3 and 4. I missed it last year so, no doubt to entice me to attend this year, they sent me some of these pictures and let me know that their upcoming show in Del Mar will expand to include vehicles up to and including 1972 models. Last year, as you may recall, entries were limited to pre-1964 cars and trucks.


Plymouth Super Bird

For those of you who may be too young to realize the significance of this change, please allow me to enlighten you. As far as automobiles go, the late 60s and early 70s could be described as the era of Detroit muscle cars. Large displacement engines powered the cars that ruled the streets. If memory serves me correctly, these figures and certainly many others were especially important: 340, 360, 383 and 440 – and those were just the MoPar (Chrysler) cubic inch numbers!

These muscle cars, driven by their rear wheels, were big and loud. All of them were easily capable of “laying a patch” – the popular vernacular for burning rubber as they overpowered their steel belted radial tires, causing them to spin. Laying a patch referred to leaving tire’s width patches of black rubber on the road.

I had a bright red Plymouth Duster 340. Its engine was a 340 V8 with a four-barrel carburetor. That car was especially good at laying patches. Perhaps even more fun to watch was the billowing cloud of white tire smoke that fully enveloped the rear wheels as I floored the accelerator. The tires spun, the exhaust roared and the car barely moved forward. That was not bad for a car with a three-speed automatic.

With all the excess power that car had, combined with its terrible braking and cornering capabilities, it was a miracle that I didn’t kill myself driving it or at least get thrown in jail. Today’s high-powered cars can turn and stop, too, and they are relatively fuel efficient and reliable.

Anyway, that is why adding cars and trucks between 1964 and 1972 to the GOODGUYS show in Del Mar is a really big deal. If you watched any of the recent Barrett-Jackson auctions on the SPEED CHANNEL you saw just how popular they still are. If not, let me give you an idea. My red 1970 Duster 340 sold new for under $3,500 in Canada (and cars were more expensive in Canada than in the U.S.). At Barrett-Jackson (www.barrett-jackson.com), muscle car after muscle car crossed the auction block for at least $50,000 and occasionally well over $100,000! Can you believe that? These stratospheric prices are driven by people trying to relive their youth by buying cars they could not afford at the time or sold, perhaps not realizing the investment value of what they had. Oh how I wish I still owned my Duster 340, although Chevys were arguably more popular than Chrysler and Ford products, so that may be reflected in current prices at auction.

I don’t mean to give you the impression that Detroit muscle cars will be the only ones at the show. According to the Press release, there will also be “2,000-plus vintage hot rods, street rods, wild customs and classics.”


Coupe on display at the Del Mar Fairgrounds (photo from GOODGUYS)

Featured car corrals will include: “Deuce Doin’s” – comprised of ‘Lil Deuce Coupes and roadsters, “Homebuilt Heaven” – for all owner-built vehicles, “Good Wood” – for all those beautiful “woodies,” “Wide White Way” – for cars fitted with extra-wide whitewall tires (remember those?), “Young Guys” – open to vehicles of owners and builders 25 years and under, and, as you now know, “Muscle Reunion” – for 1960-1972 street muscle.

Boyd Coddington’s customized automotive creations are legendary. This show will include his latest car, which is called “What The Haye.” Its name and styling inspiration was derived from a 1930s-era Delahaye, with a powerful Viper V10.


(photo from GOODGUYS)

As a special treat, Boyd Coddington himself is scheduled to be in attendance and pick his favorites in the show. In addition, editors and staffers from Street Rodder, Custom Rodder and Classic Trucks magazines will do likewise. PPG will award a “Dream Car” trophy and Eagle One will select the show’s “Street Rod d’Elegance.” Criteria for the judging will be based on subjective evaluations of “the quality of craftsmanship, body and paint execution, fit, form, functionality, stance and overall creativity of design and concept” (now that’s a mouthful).


(photo from GOODGUYS)

If you missed the Barrett-Jackson auctions and can’t wait for their upcoming auction in Los Angeles (June 25-27 at the Petersen Automotive Museum), I have some good news for you. On Friday and Saturday, April 2 and 3, Mecum Collector Car Auctions will host “Mecum at GOODGUYS,” a two-day collector car auction at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The preview will begin at 9 AM on Friday, with the auction commencing at 1 PM. There will also be a preview on Saturday at 9 AM, but the auction will start at 11 AM. Let me caution you to bring along someone who will provide you with an objective voice of reason – ideally someone who is familiar with the resale value of the cars that you may be bidding on.


(photo from GOODGUYS)

You’ll have plenty to keep you busy at the show. There will also be period music, a used auto parts “Swap Meet and Cars 4 Sale Corral,” technical and how-to seminars, a “Manufacturers’ Midway” with shopping and activities for kids. The awards will be handed out on Sunday afternoon on the Entertainment Stage.

General admission will cost $15 per day, $12 for seniors (60+) and $6 for children ages 7-12. Remember to consider carpooling, since parking at the Del Mar Fairgrounds will cost you an additional $7. For more information or to pre-register online go to www.good-guys.com.

This promises to be a very cool event for car people. Hop in your favorite cruiser and I’ll see you there!


A previous Goodguys gathering (photo from GoodGuys)

As always, please share your stories and send your comments to AutoMatters@gmail.com. Enjoy the archives and more at www.AutoMatters.net. Drive safely and do join me again next time.

 

Copyright © 2004, 2006 Jan R. Wagner – #92r2 AutoMatters

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