Goodguys PPG Nationals: The Big One In Columbus, Ohio

ColumbusThe super-large Goodguys PPG Nationals in Columbus, is akin to the NBA’s All-Star weekend. That is to say; it is a massive event full of the highest accolades the association has to give. You’ll find everything from annual, new product awards to the Street Rod of the Year and Musclecar of the Year winners. With over 6,500 cars that show up for the event, it takes a choice facility to host the event and the Ohio Expo Center certainly fits the bill.


Creativity takes center stage at a Goodguys event. This golf cart is a perfect example of how car enthusiasts transform anything into their passion.

It never fails to amaze us how many people attend a Goodguys’ car show and find the exact part they happened to be searching for to complete their own project. We saw guys walking around with front fenders, bomber seats, and one man with a 1932 Ford steel hood. Stopping by the swap meet area is mandatory for all enthusiasts, because you never know what you are going to see. It’s always interesting for us to see what parts are popular in different areas of the country and what these parts are going for. The Columbus swap meet is almost a complete show within the show.

Finding the part that you've been looking for is one of those great moments at a Goodguys car show. From bomber seats and front fenders to a vintage Ford hood, you can find almost anything at the swap meet.

The Other Shows Within The Show

Speaking of a show within the show, the PPG Nationals features two buildings that hold special events of their own. One of those buildings hosts the cars that are in contention for the PPG Street Machine of the Year and the Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year competitions. The contenders are lined up side-by-side with the street machines on one end and street rods on the other end of the building. All day Friday and Saturday, spectators can get a close up view of these cars until the awards are announced.

A late-afternoon shower on Friday proved to be nothing more that a free car wash for the six-thousand or so cars that showed up.

Across the Columbus grounds is the Cardinal Hall, a newer facility in the fairgrounds – opened in 2016 – that is used as an exhibition hall and trade show facility amongst other activities. For the PPG Nationals, the Cardinal Hall’s open exhibit area hosted the prestigious Goodguys Trendsetter Reunion. For those not familiar with this special honor, since 1998, the Goodguys have recognized a young builder with the “Trendsetter” award. Previous winners have examples of their work on display in this building. These trendsetters include builders like Chip Foose, Troy Trepanier, Tim Strange, and the Ring Brothers.

You see a little bit of everything at Goodguys' biggest event of the year.

Cars, Cars, And More Cars

In addition to the cars in the buildings, cars filled the lots surrounding the Bricker building, where the inside vendors were on display, and the Celeste Center where the Street Machine and Street Rod of the year contenders were housed. Just about every square inch of the facility was covered with cars, vendors, or an exhibit of some kind. Let us not forget, there were plenty of concessions on hand as well.


Scott Swan’s 1972 Austin Mini.

On our travels through the lots at Columbus, we managed to spot of few cars that seriously piqued our interest. While we do love the traditional builds, we still have a soft spot for builders that think outside the lines and do something different – even if they miss the target in an area or two. We also like the odd and unusual, plenty of which can be found at any major car show.

Perhaps the oddest little car we spotted was a 1972 Austin Mini that is owned by Scott Swan of Valparaiso, Indiana. The little Mini, and trust us … it was very mini, is powered by a 1,380cc transverse-mounted engine with a four-speed transaxle.

These cars were very successful as race and rally cars in the 1960s and 1970s. As luck would have it, the owner appreciates the rally nature of this car and actually took the Mini out on the autocross course earlier in the day.

1947 International K-Series Pickup.

A Couple Of Trucks

We also spotted a 1947 International pickup that had been treated very well. The International Harvester K-series trucks were very popular after the war because of their durability, modern design (at that time), and low cost. This one was a local product from Clarington, Ohio, and had been fitted with a SBC 350 with a Turbo Hydromatic 350 auto transmission. The paint scheme was a real eye-catcher, and the truck’s bed was done up very nice. The bed wood was not a fancy or exotic species and could have been done by a skilled do-it-yourselfer at home, but great care had been taken in the work. The bed slats were painted to accentuate the body paint, and there was an International logo embedded in the center of the bed.


Boyd Warner’s 1947 DIVCO delivery truck.

Two things will always make us stop and take a second look at shows: COE trucks and DIVCO delivery trucks. We were lucky enough to spot Boyd Warner’s 1947 DIVCO truck that was done up in a Dairy Queen scheme. These delivery trucks became known as milk trucks through daily dairy deliveries, so the DQ connection seemed very appropriate.


Dale Boesch’s 1934 Ford "Cobra."

For those that keep a sharp eye when walking through the show, you can usually find a real gem hidden somewhere out of mainstream view. This 1934 Ford “Cobra” was that find for us. What made Dale Boesch’s 1934 Ford convertible unique was the powerplant.

Hidden under the hood was a Ford 4.6 SVT Cobra modular engine. This car has made the rounds and is very recognizable despite its murdered out black appearance. It was built by Boesch Auto Body in Humphrey, Nebraska, with nothing but the finest components.

Ridetech’s Instinct electronic shocks took home a new product award and promises to be one of those products that hot rodders seek to help with suspension issues.

New Product Award Winners

The Goodguys Best New Product display, located in the Bricker exhibit building, was the perfect place to find out about the latest and greatest products to hit the market and make an impact on the hobby. New products compete in five categories and a people’s choice award:

  • Engine and Transmission
  • Suspension, Tires, Wheels and Brake Components
  • Paint and Car Care Products
  • Body, Glass and Interior Components
  • Electrical Components and Accessories
  • People’s Choice (Voted on by event spectators)

Ridetech's R-Joint and Classic Instruments' Bel Era III instrument panel garnered special attention.

A couple of our sponsors were treated with best new product awards with Ridetech taking home accolades for their Instinct electronic shocks and their new R-Joint that is designed to replace heim joints, delrin, polyurethane, and rubber bushings. Classic Instruments‘ Bel Era III instrument cluster for 1955 through 1956 Chevy Bel Air has been displayed prominently all year long at each Goodguys show and continues to attract attention.

Currie’s crate 9-inch rearend for Chevy C10 trucks continued to be popular among spectators.

Currie Enterprises‘ Crate 9-inch rearend for C10 trucks display was popular with the spectators. The Chevy C10’s have been popular for a couple of years, but the Ohio show had a disproportionately large amount of C10’s displayed this year.


Dakota Digital’s new BIM-22-2 Tire Pressure Monitoring System helps remove the guesswork in tire pressure by displaying it in your instrument panel. And lastly, Rocket Racing Wheels took home some jewelry for their Rocket Attack Wheel, a dual direction, semi-forged wheel. Great strength at a fraction of the price of a forged wheel.

Stay Tuned

Look for upcoming articles with the Classic Instruments’ Street Rod of the Year contestants and winner, and our Trends from the PPG Nationals feature articles. You’ll be surprised at some of the trends we spotted during the show. Yes, there is still a metric buttload of ’32 coupes and Tri-Five Bel Airs turning out, but some of the other vehicles are turning up in numbers as well. Stay tuned for more feature articles from The Big One at Columbus!

Why go to a car show as a regular car enthusiast when you can go as a super hero?

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About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
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