The Goodguys 9th annual Spring Nationals held at the awesome WestWorld facility in Scottsdale, Arizona took place over March 16-18, 2018. The second stop on the 2018 Goodguys tour, the Spring Nationals generally mark the end of winter in Arizona, mild as it might be, and kicks off car show season.
This year, Goodguys deviated from the 1972 entrant model year cutoff and allowed model years through 1987 to be shown and judged at all events. As a result, some of the “newer cars” that stood out included a 1979 Trans-AM and various third-gen Firebirds.
One of the unique features of the Spring Nationals is the Hot Rod Tour which took place on Thursday. The tour started at WestWorld and ended with the TGIF party at Baer Brakes in Phoenix. The Goodguys AutoCross was a present feature with a special 16-car “Spring Shootout” presented by Prestone. Other standard Goodguys features included the renowned swap meet, Cars-4-Sale Corral, Nitro Thunderfest exhibition, burnout competition, and a Revell Models Make-N-Take program for the kids in attendance.
WestWorld is a massive venue, and still, Goodguys manages to pack it full for three consecutive days. This year’s show happened to also coincide with St. Patrick’s Day. While the green worn by the show goers was obviously intentional, we’re left wondering if we just happened to pay more attention to the green cars in attendance or if there actually were a larger-than-usual percentage of green cars, but either way, the theme carried through to the show cars.
For the first time, Scottsdale wasn’t the AutoCross season opener, as all of the Goodguys events in 2018 will have an autocross. This year’s course was a technical one, with some quite fast straights, with fastest time of the weekend coming in at a touch over 43.5 seconds from Scott Fraser’s PRO class 1966 Cobra 427.
With the new shootout program, the quickest 16 drivers were pitted against one another, regardless of class at the end of the event. At the end of the runs, it was Fraser at the top of the heap, his 43.672 over 1.7 seconds quicker than the number two finisher’s 45.400.
Due to the nature of the sounds created by the awesome fuel engines, the Goodguys Nitro Thunder dragster exhibition consisted of vintage dragsters revving the snot out of their big-cubic-inch nitro engines. Whether idling or “up on the chip” the sounds of these engine drew large crowds all weekend long.
The Scottsdale stop is definitely one of the more impressive swap meets on the Goodguys tour, as the climate largely lends itself to rust-free items. As one would expect from the hometown of Barrett-Jackson Auctions, the variety and quality of items in the swap meet was exceedingly high, with some serious automobilia for sale at the show. As I am in the middle of a move, it was a strenuous exercise in self-control to walk away with only photos.
Our Favorite Four
With some serious hardware in attendance, these four cars weren’t necessarily those that won awards, or those that were the crowd favorite, but rather four that really caught my attention as he walked through the aisles of show cars. It should come as no surprise that one of them is a wagon, and one is a restored barn find.
1963 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
You knew there would be a wagon in my favorite four, and this 1963 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon doesn’t disappoint. Outfitted with the original 260 cubic-inch Windsor, this beast puts out a whopping 171 horsepower. Not a ton by today’s standards, but enough to cruise the beaches, as this surf-mobile was obviously designed to do. A C4 three-speed allows for effortless cruising and upgraded front disc brakes with the factory rear drums bring the beast to a stop. Polished American Racing wheels ad a little bling to the otherwise subtle wagon.
The custom tan leather interior and front seats compliment the peach-hued paint on the car, and the rear door handles have been shaved. The rear seats have been removed, with a vintage air conditioning system, disguised as a well-traveled suitcase, in their place. The chrome roof rack outfitted with a period-correct surfboard completes this vintage longroof’s tubular look.
1969 Corvette Stingray
This 1969 Corvette Stingray was found in sitting in a barn in Gold Hill, Oregon by its current owner. The numbers-matching Stingray was assembled in July of 1969 and and has a list of factory options a mile long. Originally Carmine Red, with the red interior, the new owner chose to change the exterior color of the car to a gorgeous, deep black, and reupholstered the interior in saddle tan leather. It still retains the factor AM/FM radio, Rally wheels, power windows, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and the rare factory Four-Season air conditioning.
Under the hood is the factory 350 cubic-inch Turbo-Fire small-block, with a few enhancements to bring its output to 350 horsepower over the original 300 ponies. With 11.00:1 compression, a Winters intake manifold and a 780 cfm Holley double-pumper carb, the 350 Turbo-Fire is a screamer. Power goes through a Muncie M20 four-speed gearbox back to a 3.80:1 posi rearend. With only 85,000 original miles on the car, this Stingray has gone from neglected and hidden away, to loved and on display.
1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am
This stunningly-clean example of a 1979 Pontiac Trans-Am has been lovingly restored with a frame-up restoration. Before the restoration, it was still a remarkably-straight, rust-free California car. Once the body had been painted black, and the Trans-Am decals applied, the interior was replaced and restored to factory original specifications in tan leather. Then, all the gauges were replaced or restored, along with the power steering, brake, windows, and door locks. A new windshield, along with all the door, window, and trunk seals were added. And a new Retro Sound stereo and speakers were installed.
Powered by a numbers-matching 403 cubic-inch Olds engine backed by a Turbo-Hydromatic 350 transmission, the car moves just as well as it did new. It handles just as well as stock as well, thanks to the completely new suspension components installed during the restoration. In addition to looking and performing like a brand new 1979 Pontiac Trans-am, this particular car has been autographed by the Bandit himself, Burt Reynolds.
1955 Chevrolet 210 Post
This gorgeous 1955 Chevrolet coupe is an absolutely pristine example of a tri-five Chevy. Painted in the original India Ivory over Shadow Grey, the resto-modded 210 features LED taillights with a third brake light on the trunk, rechromed smoothed bumpers, and darkened glass all around. Inside is a custom in-dash sound system with six-disc changer, 1400 watt amplifier, and hidden subwoofer. An ultra-leather interior with custom carpet and mats add to the “modified” side of things, as do the tilt column and custom steering wheel.
Under the hood sits a Chevrolet Performance ZZ4 350 cubic-inch crate engine with aluminum heads. A 750 cfm Edlebrock carburetor, MSD Ignition, and coated longtube headers feeding into a 2.5-inch stainless steel exhaust. Power goes through a modern 700R4 transmission with a ratchet shifter, back to a 10-bolt differential with 3.73 rear gears. Power front disc brakes and rear drums are covered by 17-inch American Racing Torque Thrust II wheels, wrapped in Nitto tires. This may look like a classic cruiser on the outside, but it can get up and go with the best of them.