The front range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado is a special place. With majestic mountains in one direction and big-sky open plains in the other, it’s a region that relishes in open spaces and the great outdoors. And for gearheads, one great way to take in those grand vistas is behind the wheel of a cool vintage ride!
For two decades now, Goodguys has brought its special brand of four-wheeled fun to the front range by hosting the Colorado Nationals at the Ranch Events Complex outside Loveland. It’s a wonderful venue, with plenty of grassy open areas and close proximity to cities like Denver, Fort Collins and Cheyenne. And the early-September timing adopted a few years ago has proven to be smart, as the 2017 event saw plenty of sunshine and cool, crisp evenings.
After a rockin’ full day of showin’, shinin’, AutoCrossin’ and other four-wheeled festivities on Friday, Eric Peratt and his team at Pinkee’s Rod Shop welcomed everyone over to the shop for a fantastic TGIF party. Hundreds of rides showed up for a laid-back hangout with great grub from food vendor trucks, not to mention live music and a glimpse inside a shop where so many top-quality award winners are built. Participants could even grab a brew at the new in-house micro brewery Peratt recently built adjoining the shop. What a combination!
Peratt was up early Saturday morning after the party to start selecting the Top 10 rides for Builder’s Choice awards. The custom-built trophies came direct from the Pinkee’s Rod Shop CNC machine and were coveted by the select group of vehicle owners who received them, including several repeat Builder’s Choice recipients from previous Goodguys events. These were just 10 of more than 80 awards handed out through the weekend, though. Other noteworthy honors included finalist selections for Custom Rod of the Year, won by Bob Dees’ ’57 Ford convertible; Muscle Car of the Year, earned by Tony Kondrotis and his ’69 Mach 1 Mustang; and Truck of the Year Early picked up by Chet Jackman in his ’34 Dodge.
The mile-high happening also marked the resounding return of Goodguys AutoCross, which had been on hiatus since the PPG Nationals in early July. The full-throttle action kicked off shortly after Friday’s opening bell and throttled hard right through Sunday afternoon. The winner’s podium included Jared Leisinger in his Summit Racing-sponsored Corvette in PRO, Andrew Chenoweth’s ’70 Challenger in Street Machine, Don Yarbrough and his ’55 Chevy pickup in Truck, and BJ Penrod in Hot Rod wheeling his Factory Five ’33 Ford. Bob Gawlik picked up the Shootout spot for the Duel in the Desert in his ’68 AMX.
For those without a cool ride to race or show – or those simply wanting to add to their collection – Specialty Auto Auctions hosted a classic car auction on Saturday with plenty of fine iron on which to bid. You could also see – and hear, and smell, and feel! – Nitro Thunderfest cars firing off throughout the weekend. Add to that a sensational swap meet, lots of activities for kids, live music, vendors and Johnsonville’s World’s Largest Grill, and you had enough excitement to keep your fun meter pegged all weekend long.
Cool rides, great views and fun folks – the Colorado Nationals is definitely a first-class happening for all gearheads in the Rocky Mountain region. As the awards wrapped up on Sunday afternoon, we were envious of those rodders who could take in that spectacular scenery through a vintage vehicle as they made their way home.