Over 3,500 hot rods and temperatures hovering around the century mark provided an incendiary weekend as the 31st West Coast Nationals presented by Flowmaster, rocked the Pleasanton Fairgrounds. A highly combustible combination of candy colored cars, legendary figures, fast friends and bustling midways came to life as the Goodguys “Crown Jewel” sparkled bright.
Shining brightest of all was Buddy Jordan’s “Renaissance Roadster.” Coach built by Steve’s Auto Restorations, Jordan’s candy red 1933 Ford roadster was crowned America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod Saturday night capping a huge year for the San Antonio-based Machine. Earlier this spring it captured the Ridler award at the Detroit AutoRama. With the big win last weekend, the Renaissance Roadster now becomes one of Goodguys Top 12 Cars of the Year.
While Jordan and thousands of other elder statesmen represented baby boom hot rodders, the next generation got plenty of limelight as well. After a season-long search for the SEMA Young Guns, contenders, 22 year old Zach Johnson was chosen as the Goodguys representative for this fall’s Battle of the Builders at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Zach and his charcoal grey, Pro-Touring 1970 Camaro have a good shot to win as other finalists from around the country gather to compete for the first-ever Young Guns crown.
As the West Coast Nationals featured blazing hot fun at the fairgrounds over the weekend, the rodding revelry began on Monday as the Gary Meadors Memorial Hot Rod Week took hundreds of locals and out-of-towner’s on four consecutive days of tours in and around the Bay Area. A special tip of the cap to Dave Mock of the Danville Dukes for coordinating the daily drives!
When Saturday morning dawned sunny, the grounds began to swell with a sea of pre ’72 stunners. By 10am, all of the special parking areas filled up. The Builder’s Choice (featuring selections by Leonard Lopez of Dominator Street Rods), the Deuce Doin’s, Trick Truck Corral, Mighty Muscle and others featured the country’s finest iron. Held in the tree-lined grove, it was packed with hi-performance machines. On the other side of the fairgrounds, the Good Wood gathering hosted by the Santa Cruz woodies featured termite delights of all makes and models, surfboards mounted to roofs.
Inside the exhibit buildings and throughout the midway, over 300 vendors set up shop offering the latest and greatest performance parts. The Nitro Thunderfest, featuring the Fuel Curve Funny Car gave drag race aficionados a taste of top fuel. Throw in the Blackhawk Museum concours car exhibit, the magnificent model engine display, a killer swap meet and Cars 4 Sale Corral, Cushman exhibit, the Goodgals Gallery and other traditional activities, and you begin to grasp the size and scope of the longest-running Goodguys national event.
As the weekend came to a close, over 75 award winners paraded through the amphitheater, accepting accolades and driving home with some well-earned hardware. The 31st West Coast Nationals burned bright folks. The cars, the people and the passion for fine vintage iron made it one for the books. Set your calendars for August 24-26 the 32nd annual “Crown Jewel!” See you then!