In a state known for its abundance of trees, enormity of the Columbia River, and prowess of Microsoft, Amazon.com and other corporate giants, you might not think of it as an epicenter of hot rod activity, but that’s exactly what the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup became when Goodguys rolled into town.

Rick Williams’ 392 Hemi powered ’41 Willys from Bonney Lake, Washington, is resplendent in sparkling silver and candy blue with lots of bright work under hood.

With 2,840 participants and over 55,000 spectators, never mind the crowd. It was the quality of the vehicles that was on par with Goodguys events anywhere in the country.  Whether it was 10,000 of those same spectators that came out to the Friday Night Vintage Drags at nearby Pacific Raceways in Kent, or others who wanted to view the races exclusively, the numbers surprised and exceeded all expectations.

Mark Chace of Vancouver backed the 350 SBC in his flamed '33 Ford with a 5-speed on the left. White Rock, British Columbia's Garry Parsons also rows the gears in his traditional '31 Ford Model A on the right.

While at some events you can expect to see certain types of vehicles, be it street rods, hot rod pickups, muscle cars or restomods, the beauty of the Goodguys Pacific North West Nationals is that there was an abundance of every type of vehicle you could imagine.

Variety being the spice of life and all, there were some that defied categorization, yet there they sat beside others that were definitive of a category, brand or model and here they coexisted without the need for separate areas, unless it was of your own volition.

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A healthy dose of horsepower was evident at Puyallup, and Dennis and Sherrie Akers’ Post Falls, Idaho based chopped ’31 Ford Vicky didn’t disappoint, with a 354 cubic inch blown early Hemi mated to a Turbo 350 transmission.

Without an autocross round at this event for some it may have been a disappointment, while for others this simply meant there would be space for more great cars and trucks. The same could be said for what appeared to be fewer vendors than at most Goodguys gatherings, and upon review some companies might determine after the fact that they had missed the boat so to speak, in terms of additional sales or promotional  opportunities with such a large gathering of the anointed and weather that was near perfection.

While this observation came from the viewpoint of someone in the industry, it may have also be derived from enthusiasts expecting to see certain companies who normally participate in most rodding and many motorsports events, and their absence here was noticed.

Orange and silver '55 Chevy, the work of Chris Holstrom Concepts.

Chris Holstrom Concepts built this slick orange and silver  ’55 Chevy.

Among those that were displaying at the Pacific NW Nationals were Puyallup’s Chris Holstrom of Chris Holstrom Concepts, Craig Morrison from Art Morrison Enterprises in Fife, Spokane Valley’s Pohl Spring Works, A-1 Performance in Vancouver, Revolution Speed Shop in Auburn, Revell/Monogram, the model kit makers, Chicago’s Sprayway, Griot’s Garage, JF Kustoms, Rushforth Wheels, Grundy Insurance, PPG, and Ogden Chrome.

Bomonster, SoCal low brow hot rod art.

An L.A.-based Low Brow Art brand that has developed in the last couple of  years comes with an interesting back story. Reaching the pinnacle of his career, an art director for agencies such as TWBA/ Chiat-Day, notable for their work on Nissan and Apple Computer’s advertising, also distanced himself from the creation of art that first interested him in advertising. Vowing to return to his artistic roots and have an outlet for his work, Bomonster was the result.

There were 300+ model car contest entrants with models of every vehicle type and style.

Hundreds of cars of every description were entered in the Model Car Show, a testament to a resurgence among adults returning to the hobby, and youngsters inspired by both models and full size vehicles they have observed and admired.

While many observers outside the hobby point to myriad other forms of entertainment kids have available to them now versus more limited choices among previous generations, it doesn’t explain the enthusiasm of dozens of boys and girls lined up for more than an hour, patiently waiting to participate in the Revell “Make & Take” model building program conducted at each Goodguys event.

A fine Cabriolet belonging to 'that' Jerry Ruth on the left. Buzz & Angel Watson's '40 Ford ragtop has a 383 stroker in it.

As a part of the program, each child is given a Snap Together kit, and with the help of their parents or some of the volunteers, assembles their own model. From there, who knows how many decide to continue building models, and maybe even one day creating the full-sized vehicle of their dreams or getting an auto industry job.

Jay Breitling's Flathead powered maroon '40 Ford Convertible on the left. Gresham, Oregon's Craig Pierson's fine all steel '34.

Despite what Washingtonians told us about this being the driest Summer on record or the warmest yet, they also say that there is normally precipitation year round. We don’t know what this means for the large number of open cars we saw, but it may be that their owners are impervious to the wet, or they have a desire to feel the wind blow at speed regardless of less-than-ideal weather conditions at various times during the year.

Another exceptional car we spotted at the event was Mel Matsuda’s ’33 Ford Victoria. 11 years in the making, it’s an original steel body on a custom frame, with an ’02 Corvette 5.7 liter engine. We’ll spare the details here for an upcoming feature story, but suffice to say, it’s a beauty.

Mel Matsuda's steel '33 Victoria is a form of fine art, an 11-year pursuit of perfection.

Mel Matsuda’s steel ’33 Victoria is a form of fine art, an 11-year pursuit of perfection.

About as different as you can get from the Vicky, this ’51 Plymouth Wagon has been in the Davis family’s stable for more than a decade, and its 392 Hemi is coupled to a 350 Turbo transmission for a smooth, trouble free cruiser that turns heads wherever it has gone. It’s not your eyesight that’s askew, it’s the 3″ chop and slant to the roof that makes you wonder and gets the looks.

The Davis' '51 Plymouth wagon is a grocery and attention getter. Professionally built and lovingly maintained, this is a hot rod hauler!

A fine time was had by all who attended the Goodguys Pacific Northwest Nationals, which should serve as an invitation to others who didn’t make it to participate in future iterations of this great event. Whether the weather will cooperate is one of those questions you may ask, and get a dozen different answers from as many people, but know that inclement or not it won’t in any way deter those hardy enthusiasts for whom the Pacific Northwest is home.

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