Carrying On Tradition At The 15th Annual Goodguys Del Mar Nationals

With the sun shining and the sounds of tires screeching, the 15th Annual Goodguys Del Mar Nationals had plenty going on. Located near the beautiful shores of Southern California, we highlight the prestigious celebration as well as our top picks from the show.

Taking place at the fairgrounds, the vehicular raucous and festivities lasted from April 10-12, 2015. A three day event filled with over 2,500 classic cars, street rods, and track cars, the radiant locale only rose in temperature from all the stylish automobiles and blistering engine heat. The sultry smell of barbecue, piercing race fuel, open headers, and the roaring of hot rods were all prominent, emanating out of the venue completely unfiltered.

Journeying with the thought of raw power at the autocross and the smell of smog-exempt American muscle cars, we were filled with excitement and anticipation. Armed with our cameras and affinity with American muscle and hot rod culture, we explored the place in search of genuine show stopping beauties.

From hot rods and classic cars, there were also surf woodies in attendance for the locals.

Plenty Of Fun Under The Sun

Chip Foose brought his winning Detroit Autorama creation to the Del Mar Nationals.

Complete with an outdoor car show, indoor car exhibits, a competitive autocross, renowned vendors, and an engine building challenge, the event had plenty of hoopla for first timers, muscle car enthusiasts, and even the hot rod faithful. In particular, Goodguys hosted the Autocross for Kids program, an event held to promote cancer awareness and support for patient’s families.

Constructing a tightly built cone course, Goodguys challenges participants to blaze through the track as fast as possible. In full force, there were several track-ready cars in attendance that sped around the compact course. Everything from street rods and muscle cars to trucks competed for the best lap time and bragging rights.

Aside from the autocross, there was showroom beauty in all directions at the event.

From completely tuned machines to lightly modded street cars, the autocross course tested each participant’s suspension with sudden hairpins, radical curves, and thin s-turns. Always a crowd favorite, the autocross brings everyone together and molds them all into one entity.

The cheers from the stands, the whiff of burnt rubber, and each driver’s determination on the course culminate into boisterous excitement. Watching the muscle cars and trucks navigate the track like a small sport compact was truly amazing.

In other weekend activities, there was also the Hot Rodder’s Of Tomorrow engine challenge, which pits high school auto shop students against each other in a race to see who can tear down and rebuild a small-block Chevy V8 engine the fastest. Aimed at the true gear head, this challenge is designed not only to promote mechanical prowess but also quick and logical thinking under tight time constraints.

With an estimated 2,500 cars registered for the show, there was one if not several cars for each attendee to appreciate and drool over. Featuring blown muscle cars and fabricated rat rods to vintage and classic American muscle, beauty resonated in all directions at the fairgrounds.

The Autocross For Kids was just one of the festivities taking place in conjunction with the car show and tasty grub.

Our Top Picks From The Show

Dead To Rights

Not in any specific order, let’s go over our top picks from the Del Mar Nationals. Passing by the vendor booths, we couldn’t help but stop to feast our eyes on this custom truck. Nicknamed “The Punisher,” this tricked out 1954 Ford F-100 lives up to its name.

Deep dish is the name of the game for The Punisher.

On display at the Speed Freak apparel booth, Punisher was built by North American Speed & Performance (NASP) over a period of 12 months. Speaking of the build, the Punisher has a NASP 2×4 boxed FAT TIRE chassis with independent front suspension.

A 460 cubic-inch Ford Racing V8 motor rests under the hood that is rated at 600 horsepower. Notably, the Punisher’s engine has an 11:1 compression ratio, Ford Racing high flow aluminum heads, and hydraulic roller cam.

The Punisher has a Tremec six-speed manual transmission and a Currie Enterprises 9 inch Ford rear end, which help put power to the pavement. What’s more, the wide offset wheel setup gives the Punisher a nice stance with 22 inch fronts and 24 inch rears.

Fully custom, every inch of the Punisher is tastefully modified. Other modifications include one piece power windows, narrowed stock running boards, custom roll pan and air cleaner cover, widened steel rear fenders, and power steering and brakes.

Clean inside and out, The Punisher looks to be a beast on the streets.

The Green Hornet

Meandering about the fairgrounds, we encountered this 1923 Ford Model T. Resurrected into a beastly rat rod, this dark green Model T has a 1967 Ford Mustang 302 cubic-inch V8 engine transplanted into it with a blower to top it off.

The Old Guys Rule decal on the chrome distributor was only fitting upon this 92 year old Model T. It is honestly crazy to believe that the Model T is almost 100 years old!

Owned by Dick and Linda Thompson from Chula Vista, California, this Model T resides close to Del Mar and meshes nicely with Goodguys’ vibe and festivities. The Thompsons mentioned this blown Model T was 100 percent home built and the craftsmanship shows the couple’s strict attention to detail. This Model T may be archaic, but its rebirth into a rat rod only keeps this aging relic relevant in the ever changing car scene.

Meaty and beastly, this Ford Model T is tough enough to keep up despite its age.

Purple Power

Don’t be fooled just because it’s a Polara.

Owned by Jerry Keller, this second-generation Dodge Polara caught our eyes from the shiny stack sitting under the hood. The hefty 426 cubic-inch V8 motor looks very capable and the inside of the Polara told us even more.

Fitted with a full roll cage, seat harnesses, Grant steering wheel and a custom dash, this Dodge Polara looks ready to race. Even in the rear, the Polara has a wheelie kit and safety chute attached, only proving this beast looks as great and it drives fast.

Originally manufactured to battle against the Ford Galaxie 500 and the Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Polara’s are truly a rare sight and this one in particular was one we couldn’t pass on.

We couldn't stop looking at this Dodge Polara, it was literally polarizing.

Red Rocket

Andrew Mossman’s 1933 Ford 5-window coupe is a tastefully built hot rod. With meaty tires in the rear, side exhaust, painted rear axle and various chrome engine and suspension components, this Ford 5-window stood out from the rest.

The all-polished BDS blower and carburetors, this Ford’s 355/350 cubic-inch engine block only adds luster to the already firetruck red 5-window. Not to mention, this 33 Ford has an all-steel body!

Although this 5-window coupe may be heavy, it is curvaceous, burly, and a nice tribute to hot rod culture. Coming all the way from Corrales, New Mexico, we were glad we got to see Mossman’s beautiful red riding hood that is his 33 Ford 5-window coupe.

From the ground up, this Ford 5-window is clean and mean.

Mellow Yellow Roadster

Traversing the fairgrounds, we noticed there were even nicer vehicles indoors. Bright and yellow, we had to double take at Hillside Customs 1965 Shelby Cobra Roadster.

FE Specialties in Auburn, California built the custom Shelby Aluminum 427 cubic-inch block. Bored out to 496 cubic-inches, this Cobra’s engine produces 750 horsepower and 690 pounds of torque.

A Tremec T56 Magnum, six-speed manual transmission and massive 305/35-18 Toyo Proxes R888 tires in the rear help channel all that raw power to the pavement.

This Cobra Roadster had a classy appeal to it that had us drawn in.

Back to the Cobra’s internals, the motor has Blue Thunder aluminum heads, Crower titanium rods, and Race Tec pistons that produce a 10 to 1 compression ratio.

The red stripes complement the yellow paint, giving the Cobra roadster attitude. As for the interior, the dark green seats and dash is contrasted well with the splashes of yellow and red on the steering wheel, instrumentation, and shifter.

Almost Gone In 60 Seconds

Visiting the realm of restomods, we stopped to take a look at this 1966 Pro Touring Ford Mustang Fastback. The custom charcoal grey and silver striped Mustang has the aesthetics similar to the 67 Shelby GT500 from the Hollywood film Gone In 60 Seconds.

This Mustang is fresh from front to back.

Under the hood, this Mustang has a 351 cubic-inch Windsor Ford Performance circle track motor with a power output of 402 horsepower and 512 pounds of torque. A Tremec TKO-600 five-speed manual transmission and a modified Currie rear end with 3.73 gears brings this Mustang’s power to ground level.

A full Wilwood disc brake system gives this Mustang plenty of stopping power. This Mustang has a Wilwood clutch, brake pedals, and master cylinder to stop the custom 19 inch Billet Specialties wheels.

Clearly one of the fresher Mustangs at the show, we can understand why this Mustang was inside. It’s clean outside, mean under the hood, and a show stopper at close range and afar.

This Mustang looked too good to not take pictures of.

Take It To The Cleaners

We wondered why this Ranchero was sitting all on its own.

Tony Breunig of Encinitas, California, brought his cherry 1971 Ford Ranchero to the show this year. We were surprised this car did not get that many looks as this Ranchero deserves some recognition.

Swapped with a Chevrolet 350 cubic-inch SBF/TKO engine cranking out 350 horsepower, this Chevy-powered Ranchero is pure bliss. Settling for simple design aesthetics, this Ranchero really only has a front lip to give it a lowered stance in the front.

However, we couldn’t take our eyes off of the deep dish wheels that are tucked under this Ranchero’s fenders. The wheel setup adds a nice touch of finesse to the already great looking Ranchero.

Swapped with a Chevy engine, this resurrected Ranchero was a nice addition to the cars on display.

Refreshingly Red F-100

Parked next to the autocross, this fully custom Ford F-100 was a true neck breaker even from afar. Its sparkling, candy paint glistened in the warm California sun, asking for attention.

With placards and build photos lying next to it, this F-100 is nothing short of spectacular. The roof was chopped 6.75 inches, frenched taillights, and added louvers sourced from a Model A hood are just a few of the features.

This Ford F-100 had us snapping so many pictures of its utter beauty.

In particular, the front end is even fitted with headlight bezels from a 1965 Ford Thunderbird, giving the F-100 pure elegance. However, the spiked center wheel caps and exhaust stacks behind the truck’s cabin remind you this F-100 is not only classy, it’s a hot rod at heart.

Inside the F-100, we can see the candy paint carries into the custom dash that is glossy and soothing to the eyes. Being sneaky, the builder also mounted the switch panel beneath the dash to produce a more simple and refined appearance.

From the wheels to the lights, this F-100 was tastefully modified.

Voluptuous Vicky

Cruising on foot through the show lot, we stumbled across this Sikkens Yellow 1932 Ford Vicky. Owner Jim Robinson did an exquisite job with this blown hot rod, which traveled from Weatherford, Texas.

Baring all, this Vicky has a 335 cubic-inch supercharged dual quad V8 engine, aluminum heads, and a serpentine pulley system. A Turbo Hydramatic 700R4 automatic transmission and a Ford 9 inch rear axle with 3.73 gears gets this Vicky rolling when the pedal hits the floor.

As clean as this Vicky is outside, it is even more immaculate inside. The custom two tone tan leather interior is plush and has VDO gauges with a polished billet cluster.

Once again, the blown hot rods take the cake for their eye popping aesthetics.

First In Class

All black and all business, this first generation Buick Riviera is simply a black beauty. Dropped to the floor with its whitewall tires and classic wheels, this Riviera looks to cruise low and slow.

The rich black paint and the decision to hide the headlights behind a billet grille cover gives the Riviera a clean sleeper look from the front. The owner looks to have kept a majority of the car original, even inside.

The hood of this Riviera wasn’t open, only giving this car more allure. Shiny, immaculate and clean from head to toe, this Riviera was looking mean on the scene at the fairgrounds.

All black and all business, this Buick Riviera is classy and simply immaculate.

Riding Into The Sunset

The Del Mar Nationals gave attendees a little dose of everything under the warm California sun.

When all was said and done, we enjoyed not only the festivities and the sunny California weather but also the cars. Every year, Goodguys Rod & Custom Association puts on a great show and this year’s Del Mar Nationals was nothing short of spectacular.

With several Goodguys events scheduled across the nation, the Del Mar Nationals was a great way to kick off the car show season. To find out more information about where Goodguys will be next, be sure to visit their website or Facebook page. We hope to see you out there next year!

With so many cars in attendance, beauty spread in all directions at the Del Mar Nationals.

Photo gallery


About the author


Nic Aguon is a graduate from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and mass communications and holds a passion for sleek and unique automobiles. Serving as a Staff Writer for multiple publications at Power Automedia, Nic pledges to bring readers clean and concise storytelling that hits the nail right on the head. A jack of all trades, his interests range from imports to American muscle, hot rods, and Kustoms.
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