Anyone who’s anyone in the arena of Muscle Cars or Hot Rods knows the Goodguys PPG Nationals in Columbus is as big as it gets. Not only because of the 6500 cars in attendance, hundreds of vendors, autocross competition, and cavalcade of events, but because of the announcement of Street Machine and Street Rod of the year.
All year long builders and owners of high-end custom rods, and muscle cars vie for the opportunity to stand among the best of the best and throw their hat in the ring to win one of the most coveted awards in custom cars.
Goodguys has some strict rules for those in contention starting with the eligible years, which include street machines 1954 through 1987. The cars must also run a mandatory, two laps, on the Goodguys Autocross. While Autocross lap times do not determine the overall winner, style points are a factor. Finally, the judging committee looks for a, “Cutting edge street machine which combines masterful build quality with extreme performance. Quality of craftsmanship, body & paint, overall engineering, the three F’s (fit, form & functionality) stance, and overall creativity in design and concept is what the selection committee will seek,” according to the Street Machine Of The Year Breakdown.
We are talking about the cream of the crop, the builds that make even the most scrutinizing of hot-rodders drool with a slack-jawed gaze. The Street Muscle team got the chance to be front and center when the top 5 finalists were announced. Among the names in the running for this years PPG Street Machine Of The Year Title were, Stuart Adams, Jeremy Miranda, Vic Buraglio, Ring Brothers, and Mark Berger, but like the highlander, there could be only one.
While any of the top five could have been standing in the winner’s circle because of their build quality, the judges finally narrowed it down to the top dog. Stuart Adams and Detroit Speed with their slick and classic ’69 Camaro aptly named, TUX. As you can probably surmise from the pictures of the, now Street Machine Of The Year, it gets it’s name from it’s timeless styling and James Bond’esque’ good looks in a black bowtie.
Kyle Tucker joked while interviewing before accepting the SMOY award that he, “went to the Bobby Alloway school of picking colors and I tried to pick the best PPG black I could.” “It’s either black or Chevy orange, and its Chevy orange on the engine and transmission.” So, it’s not all black tie or the least bit stuffy. A quick peak under the hood reveals that, along with a monster, “kurt Urban built LS3 with a Harrop supercharger.”
The runners up were equally amazing, and boy are we glad the task of choosing a winner wasn’t bestowed upon us. It would have taken us forever to decide. Just take a look at the finalists! You had the electric ’72 Javelin from the master craftsman that are the Ringbrothers. Produced for Prestone, the Javelin is a vision in, “Prestone Green.”
Mike Ring was credited by the winner of SMOY for giving the crowd at the Goodguys Autocross a big, smokey burnout. That act urged some of his fellow competition to respond in kind. If the personality of the Javelin could be exemplified by any one action, the burnout it produced was it. The Hellcat power plant under the hood of the Javelin nicknamed, “Defiant,” made easy work of breaking the 335/30/20 Michelins loose.
There was also Vic Buraglio’s ’69 Dodge Charger in white that was made to replace a Charger he had in his younger years. The Charger was the lone Mopar among the five finalists, and Troy Gudgel explained that, “Vic said he wanted a Hemi, it had to be white, and it had to have the one thing that was the most important, the green interior.”
Other interesting points about the car that Troy stated were, “we stretched the wheelbase 3 inches, recreated the whole front end, got rid of the false scoops on the doors, and hand built the aluminum bumpers and hood.” Those aluminum bumpers and a whole host of other parts on the build happen to have a gold tint to them instead of an expected chrome. The reason for this is the nickel plating which matches gold accents on the wheels and interior.
Yet another car in the running was Mark Berger’s ’65 Mustang in, “grey.” Making over 700 horsepower, the Roadster Shop really got the Mustang dialed in. It showed on the finalists stage as well as on the autocross course. While it might not be as flashy as some of the other finalists, the Mustang more than made up for it when it came to performance.
Whenever a car is more go than show, we respect that. The battleship grey Mustang was a departure from the flashy, metallic, show cars that lined the rows at Goodguys, and seeing the simple yet elegant interior was refreshing.
Lastly, was our pick to win. There was something about the ominous blue glow emanating from the interior of the Miranda Built ’69 Camaro, that set us on our ear. The gunmetal exterior was enough to make us take a step back and admire the Camaro, but when we peeked under the hood and saw the LS powerplant draped in carbon fiber, we knew there was more that met the eye.
Moving to the interior of the car, it was apparent that the folks at Avant-Garde Design weren’t interested in producing anything less than stellar to go with Jeremy Miranda’s gorgeous Camaro. We’ve all seen diamond stitching before, suede headliners, contrast stitching, etc…but to use interior lighting to highlight all of those things on the Camaro really made it stand out among the competition.
So, there you have it. All five finalists produced cars that would rival anything on the street or anywhere else for that matter. Not only did they prove themselves on the asphalt and around the cones of the autocross, but they strutted their stuff on the main stage and were rewarded with ooh’s and aah’s from the thousands of spectators in attendance.
In the end, though, there can only ever be one winner, and we couldn’t be more happy for Stuart Adams and Detroit Speed. They truly deserve this illustrious honor, and we look forward to seeing what they come up with next. As for us at Street Muscle, we’ll keep our ears to the ground and let you know about all the happenings in hot rodding. Until next time, keep the hammer down.