July, 2016 -- Now in its 19th year, Goodguys PPG Nationals is one of the biggest and most exciting car shows in the country. Here, more than 6,000 Rods, Customs, Classics, Muscle Cars and Trucks invade the Ohio Expo in early July. For anyone who loves brightly colored Detroit sheet metal, the rumble of V8s, the smell of racing fuel, and burning rubber from the burnouts, this is the place to be. Every year this Goodguys flagship event draws more than 100,000 spectators, but given the three days of fantastic weather this year, the PPG Nationals may have set a new record. Attendees travel thousands of miles to participate in this event. Some even drive their cars for 2,100 miles, the distance the Long Distance award winner drove his 1957 Pontiac Wagon. The show also attracts many of the top builders in the country who compete for prestigious awards, such as Street Machine of the Year and Street Rod of Year. To take home this prize, a car needs to be the best build - period. Here are some of the highlights from this year’s show.
This year 18 top custom builds competed for the coveted award of the Street Rod of the Year. Cars in this contest are pre ’49 custom Hot Rods built in the more traditional look. These are true show cars with no expense spared. This year’s winner, a 1939 Oldsmobile, named “Olds Cool,” had already won the Detroit Autorama Ridler award in January. No doubt it will be the car to beat in future competitions this year.
As with their counterparts, the street rods, the 18 cars competing for Street Machine of the Year were also quality builds, but they are required to be between the years 1954 to 1972. More than just show cars, street machines are required to be fully functioning road worthy vehicles. To prove this, they must make two laps around an obstacle course of a code-laden autocross track. Although best times win only bragging rights, a little “hot dogging” never hurts when it comes to impressing the judges. This year’s winner was a much refined 1969 Mustang, tricked out with all the latest performance technologies.
With so many fantastic custom cars at the show, it is easy to find cars that deserve special recognition. Goodguys parades these cool classics on the final day of the show, giving out a variety of awards, such as Wonderful Woodie, GTO Pick, Mighty Mustang, and Chevelle Pick – just to name a few. What a treat it was to watch this stellar lineup roll by.
Our ears are still ringing, but what a sight it was to see Gassers and real Muscle Cars performing burnouts and wheelies at the National Trails Raceway Friday night. Smoke ’em if you got ’em!
The top two cars in the pro-class, with the fasted times for the day, faced off in a one lap run around the autocross track. Speed is vital, but hit one cone and the penalty will probably cost you the contest. Both drives made perfect runs, but Danny Popp edged out another hard charging Vette by a split second.
Every year Goodguys gives away a car at the PPG Nationals in Columbus, OH to the lucky person who has the key that starts the car. This year's winner of a 1932 Ford Hi-boy Roadster was Gaylor Schroeder from Covington, WA. Andrew Potsko was Gaylor's stand-in, and to the delight of spectators, and particularly his wife, his key turned over the engine. Congrats to Gaylor and Andrew!
Goodguys unveiled next year’s giveaway car, a totally custom 1963 ½ Ford Galaxie. Someone with the lucky key will fire this baby up at the 2017 Goodguys PPG Nationals.
You don’t have to go far to find your next favorite car at any Goodguys show, and it is never truer than at the PPG Nationals. Here are some more of the eye-candy spotted around the Ohio Expo Center.