August 2nd, 2010

The Goodguys 28th All-American Get-Together

Text and Photos by David Fetherston

It’s amazing how smoothly the Goodguys shows do run! Walk in or drive in, and the place is organized and well set out, even though it’s packed with over 3,000 hot rods, customs and trucks. The two-day All-American Get-Together, held this year on March 27-28, is one of the few shows that mix virtually any form of modified, custom or stock vehicle.

On the grounds of the Pleasanton Fairground, there were restored classic trucks, new and old hot rods, customs and muscle cars. A quick walk of the Car Corral field filled with cars for sale, showed off what enormous interest there were is in everything with wheels. There were high-dollar Deuces, Dodge 4×4 military wagons, Model Ts, old show cars, work-in-progress vehicles and some truly fine classics for sale. The variety in cars matched the variety in prices—some that made your eyes roll and others that got you thinking, “H-m-m, do I have the space for another car?”

The swap meet was jumpin’ all weekend. It was filled to the rim with vendors, both large and small, selling anything from trinkets to bumpers to rusted hard-parts to new interior kits and headliners.  The face of most swap meets has changed so much in the past 10 years with the availability of eBay, it was a relief to see so many people just poring over the vendors’ booths.

At some Goodguys shows, they have taken to having a small indoor car show section. At Pleasanton, the center core of one building was filled with maybe 50 custom vehicles. There were some classic cream puff customs looking fabulous, as usual from James Hetfield, Mike Gray and John D’Agostino, Marcos Garcia and Jim Noteboom. These customs were there in competition for the Goodguys West Coast Custom of the Year Award, with its pewter statuette and $1,000 prize.

James Hetfield’s Slow Burn 1936 Auburn boat tail speedster took home the award. Last year, his 1937 Ford was one of the top five finalists. The car roadster was built by Rick Dore and Darryl Hollenbeck for Hetfield. With over 3,000 vehicles on the grounds, it was a fine display of American horsepower. Filling the parks and roadways were a mass of restored and custom trucks, Deuce coupes, roadsters, chopped Mercs, Cudas, Mustangs and even the old GTO.

Hidden away among this forest of colorful sheet metal was some other intriguing machinery:  Deane Monroe’s ’56 Jaguar Mark-VIIM was re-engineered with a GM front clip and powered by a Chevy crate motor; Mike and Stacy Bolton’s orange ’50 Willys Station wagon was running a 5.0L Ford; and then there was the fascinating GM performance E-Rod with its LT-3 conversion that will make any street rod or street machine smog-legal.

The texture of the show is what we think brings in so many cars and spectators. Their expectations of a grand event are fulfilled with not only the variety of cars, but with the number of vendors who turn up to show off their tricks, trinkets and hard parts. This group included Brizo, GM Performance, Painless wiring, PPG, Detroit Speed & Engineering, RaceDeck, Baer brakes, Bell Tech and Vintage Air. If you were looking for information this was the place. Every company had its tech support running in high gear, so if you wanted answers, they were there for the asking.  Pinstripers Brush Bash was also racing along all weekend. Remember, if you’re going to a Goodguys event and want something special, these bash events are the perfect place to get your cell phone, toolbox or make plans to get your car stripped.

Having been to all 28 All-American Get-Togethers, I have to say, apart from the West Coast Nationals, this is one of our favorite shows. We think the richness of the vehicle types and the quantity has been amazing over the years, especially as the quality has grown enormously. The show was blessed with a perfect weather weekend. All the Goodguys crew had happy faces from John Drummond to the master himself, Mr. Gary Meadors, who spent the weekend visiting with the participants and enjoying the warmth he has brought to the sport for the past 30 years.

Dave and Vickie Bell from Livermore, CA, showed off their super ’07 Shelby-ized Mustang. It was updated with 18-inch black alloy wheels, new hood, racing stripes and carbon fiber lip spoiler.

Mark and Lori Cole showed off their super red and silver ’67 Corvette coupe. Their nicely updated and lightly modified Vette featured a 454 LS6 with a Tremac five-speed, American wheels, side pipes and an engine compartment trimmed with classic accessories.

If you have been around customs on the West Coast for a few years, you will remember John Gimelli’s cool purple—then green and now bronze—’49 Cadillac. John is one of those “never stop till you drop” kind of guys. This is now his third complete body makeover and color change on this Cadillac. John entered the Cadillac in the Goodguys West Coast Custom of the Year.

Christian Corona showed up with his bagged, and now slammed, ’48 Chevy custom pickup from Ripon, CA. It’s powered by a stroked-six, and is painted in metallic gold over wide-whites.

John Gimelli is a prolific builder of outlandish and stylish customs. This is his current work-in-progress—a ’40 Cadillac coupe limousine. It’s powered by a 500 cube Caddy V-8. John also had another custom at the indoor side of the show.

Ruth Mock showed off this brilliant Red ’40 Willys pickup powered by a 383 V-8. The custom bodywork is mostly smoothed and shaved, and the little beastie rolls on Americans.

Air Ride hauled in its super autocross Camaro for the Pleasanton event. This is one of the best handling Gen-I Camaro’s ever built.

Greg and Penni Tidwell from Modesto, CA, arrived in style with this grand Pink ’62 Cadillac convertible. It’s a classic Cad but jazzed up with a new and outrageous paint job and custom grey leather interior.

Rich Schreiner arrived from Sacramento with his slick Tangelo custom ’71 Chevy Blazer convertible. Powered by a 572 big-block, this wild ride was a sure eye-catcher at the Goodguys event.

Need a new dream? Someone had done ton of hard work on this ’46 Ford coupe and was ready to give it up for $5,500. Already chopped and shaved, full TCI air bags and set up for a small-block.

The Goodguys Giveaway Car this year is this brilliant yellow Mustang Boss Snake. Designed by Koucher Kustoms and built by RPM, the Mustang will make someone a happy camper when it’s awarded.

Dave Phar from Fremont, CA, showed off his slick ’54 Buick custom in the Goodguys West Coast Custom of the Year events. Finished in candy red and orange, this super clean Buick was a nice change from the usual Chevy custom.

Dave Houston ’32 Chevy coupe was one of the most innovative new hot rods at the show. Its beautifully chopped and channeled body is powered by a Jimmy-six. The Chevy features a wild induction system with five Stromberg 97s and a slick header exhaust.

Dan Elpin from San Ramon, CA, had his smart yellow and black ’74 Plymouth Duster up for sale in the Car Corral. Dan wanted $11,550 for the gorgeous 340-powered Mopar.

Another beautiful and unusual custom was the ’59 Lincoln two-seat roadster that Mike entered in the Goodguys West Coast Custom of the Year event. Finished in baby blue metallic with a vanilla interior, the Lincoln sits high on custom billets.

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