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2012 Goodguys 26th Annual West Coast Nationals

by Dave on August 27, 2012

Last weekend brought the 26th annual GoodGuys West Coast Nationals to the Pleasanton Fairgrounds. I usually go both Friday and Saturday. Friday, while most of the cars are there, the crowds are small. It’s a good day to shoot photos, check out new products, and chat with vendors.  Saturday is packed – especially with the recent addition of late model cars — so on Saturday we go to the swap meet early, then spend the day visiting with friends.

This year my mom’s birthday fell on Friday, so we skipped the show and took her to dinner. She’s 89 and doin’ fine, had three Gin & Tonics, and was cracking wise with the waiter. It was a blast, but it meant doing the entire Pleasanton gig in one day. My brother arrived at my house before dawn the next morning and we were off to P-Town in the woodie. Good thing our mother didn’t want to party all night.

Here’s a little of what we saw at the show:

Gary Clark’s roadster is a real-deal ’32 that was hot-rodded back in the day – but it’s also a good example of headlight placement woes (see our previous post). The cast aluminum headlight stalks may be period-correct, but they turn an otherwise prince of a car into beady-eyed frog.

This roadster pick-up was an AMBR car from the early 60’s. It had been treated to a complete restoration. Remember when those individual side pipes were happening?

Usually I walk right past the low riders, but this tail-dragging Chevy was clean and, unlike many of its compadres, super subtle.



This little gow job was a bit primitive, which made it a standout in a sea of glossy cars. Cobbled together out of real Henry parts, the deck lid featured eight rows of louvers – each of which looked hand-hammered.

Over in the Pro-Builder section, this bare-metal three-window was drawing a crowd. It was loaded with details, check out the knock-offs.

This three-window featured a Bonneville chop and one of Gene Winfield’s signature fade-away paint jobs.

Tacking a passenger-car clip to the front of a pick-up is not an easy job. IMHO this truck could benefit from a re-spray in an old-timey color, but I loved it anyway.

The addition of late model cars allows for the display of entertainment pieces like this Chrysler Imperial. Check out the cross-ram. Check out the interior. My brother thought it looked like a hair salon.

Behind the Imperial we stumbled across this breath of fresh air. The owner had tried to buy this T-RPU back in high school. It vanished for 50 years, until he found it stashed away in a nearby barn. He said he was lucky. If he’d bought it when he was young he probably would have killed himself in it. My brother agreed. Mike actually had a red, full-fendered, Olds-powered T touring in high school.

I’m guessing this is one of the Peckerhead cars out of the Reno area. Cool cars, cool motors, and lots and lots of cool details.

Another sparkler, this one was Hemi-powered and beautifully-built. Although I grew up in the 60’s, the hot rod-show-car thing of that era never really floated my boat. A hot rod should be a hot rod: kinda loud, kinda stinky, a little sinister.

This ’36 roadster was in Steve Moal’s corral. Subtle details like the front bumper and perfect top chop placed it right on the streets of Hollywood in the 1940’s. That’s Dennis Varni’s Deuce tudor behind the ’36. It’s a hot rod.

This Y-block powered A pick-up was nicely put-together by a couple of young builders in the Central Valley. The new owner was quick to point out that it had been featured in three magazines — and was a little upset that the judges hadn’t given him an award. Bummer for him.

This ’48 Anglia panel was owner-built and bitchen. I bought a ’48 Anglia back in 1971 when I was in London. It cost me the equivalent of $90. Completely stock and rated at 8.5 horsepower, a buddy and I drove it to Pamplona, Spain for the running of the bulls. At about 40 mph it took nearly a week to get there.

This channeled Model A could have driven off the set of Leave It To Beaver.

There are thousands of Model A coupes on Deuce rails. This guy nailed the proportions.

GoodGuys again provided the woodies with a large, shaded parking area. It was a welcome hangout after six hours of show-hiking.

This all-original Chevy flathbed was in my top ten. The grandfather of the young guy behind the wheel took the truck on a real estate deal over 50 years ago. He told the kids if they could get it running, they could have it. They did, and they were two stoked dudes. Neither of them could have been more than 16 or 17. It was an absolute pleasure chatting with them. If they’re the future of our hobby, we’re in good hands.






  1. Doug Peterson permalink

    Re: Gary Clark’s ’32. Headlight woes? Nah, they look fine. Maybe not in step with today’s look, but certainly right with lots of hot rods back when.

    As always, thanks for the great photos.
    PD …

  2. Pachi Bengochea permalink

    Nice selection Dave. Wish I coulda been there. Dad scored his name on the Stroker Mcgurk trophy. I’m so happy for him. The list of names on that baby is amazing.
    See ya around.

  3. Bob Painton permalink

    Great job boy’s, keep it up…

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