Our Goodguys 2016 event season is in the books! The curtain closed last weekend in sunny Scottsdale as the stars and cars of hot rodding gathered for the 19th Southwest Nationals painting Westworld with chrome and color under brilliant, sunny desert skies. What a fantastic finish! The wide-open weekend of fun attracted over 3,400 vintage hot rods, customs, muscle cars and trucks along with giant crowds as tens of thousands of revved up enthusiasts filled the venue.
From Thursday’s Hot Rod Cruise around Phoenix to Sunday’s closing bell, it was 96 nonstop hours of hi-octane excitement. Whatever you wanted, the 19th Southwest Nationals delivered. On the upper paddock, the Top 12 cars of the year were shown together as a group offering fans a look at the nation’s premier 1972 and earlier cars and trucks. They came from across the country to show off in Scottsdale.
But to start off, only 10 of the Top 12 were settled. With another seven custom rod finalists on hand from all regions, we crowned Goodguys 2016 Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year on the awards stage Saturday afternoon. What a group of cool cars! When the final votes were cast, it was Paul and Betty Gilliam of Alabama claiming victory as the coolest custom rod in the land. Shortly after winning the prestigious award, the Gilliams and builder Alan Johnson cruised their sensational ’53 Studebaker over to the Top 12 exhibit to join the elite cast of cars and trucks.
With that, just one more Top 12 spot remained open – the Goodguys 2016 F.A.S.T. AutoCrosser of the Year award. Unique in every way, this award is earned via a checkered flag, not a scoring sheet or expert opinion. With a national cast of 32 gear-grinding G-machines and track-tested trucks vying for the spoils, the winner of Saturday afternoon’s Duel in the Desert presented by BF Goodrich, Spectre Performance, Turnology, and Tremec would need to negotiate five, flawless rounds of mechanical fury.
With qualifying all day Friday as well as Saturday morning, final eliminations began with Scott Fraser sitting on the pole position. Fraser extended his dominance all the way until the final round to square off against defending champion Danny “Who Else” Popp. Astonishingly, Fraser, in his slowest run of the weekend, came up just five one hundredth’s of second too slow in the final, handing the win to Popp. Popp triumphantly claimed the final spot in the Top 12 exhibit rounding out the rousing weekend.
Down on the polo field, automotive mania took the shape of thousands of colorful cars, cruising and carrying on. It resembled a vast sea as every blade of grass was covered with hot rods, customs, classics, and tricked out trucks. Car club banners flew, privateers partied and came together like never before. Somehow, someway, Dean Livermore had to find the event’s top 10 cars for the Builder’s Choice awards. With the heavy hitters parked on the pavement in a jam-packed special Saturday parking area, Livermore succeeded in spotting the best, his picks resembling the stunning variety of cool cars that exit his Phoenix shop each year. A terrific top 10 as we’ve ever seen Dean. Well done!
The show field itself was ringed with the biggest swap meet and Cars 4 Sale corral this event has ever known. It was such demand, all available spaces were sold out 5 weeks prior to the event gates opening. The swappers and sellers enjoyed a brisk business as we gathered for one last blast before the Thanksgiving holiday.
But wait. There was more. In addition to all that, the vendor midway was stacked with heavyweights, still on a west coast layover from the SEMA show. The industry’s top manufacturers held court and didn’t mind the swarms of spectators. They also filled the big top tent offering everything from electronics to wheels, to go-fast goodies, and more. The model car show offered up some fantastic plastic, while the Revell Model Car Make & Take insured every kid went home with a free model kit.
And that was just some of the excitement we experienced last weekend. Looking in the rearview mirror for a minute, 2016 was a dream season. We had a run of great weather, great cars, awesome events, action packed AutoCross, and sensational smiles from coast to coast. We can’t thank you guys and gals enough for supporting Goodguys. It means the world to us, it really does. Before you know it, we will be right back here at Westworld March 10 – 12, 2017 to kick off another exciting year. But for now, the holidays are here. Get in gear and spread some cheer!
Thanks for all the goodtimes…
Click here for the award winner’s list: 19th Southwest Nationals Award Winners
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