Rod Authority’s Top 10 Picks From Goodguys West Coast Nats

When it comes to attending a Goodguys event with the mindset of finding a “Top 10” – you might not grasp the enormity of said task. You see, Goodguys is known for bringing out the best of the best in every category, so if it’s high-end street rods that keep you up at night, then you’ve definitely come to the right place. But that’s not all, if it’s pre-72 and super cool then you better believe it will probably be in attendance among the thousands of other bitchin’ machines on display.

So when it came time to boil down the “best of the best” at this year’s Goodguys 26th West Coast Nationals Presented By Flowmaster we certainly had our work cut out for us. This year we wanted to do something a little different, and rather than basing our best picks solely on an actual “scorecard” of mods we decided to branch out and find some of the more cool and unique rides for your viewing pleasure. Without further ado, and not necessarily in any particular order – we present the Rod Authority (RA) Top 10 Picks!

Al Traille’s 1932 Ford Roadster

Walking through the show grounds and clicking off photos like a rapid-fire machine gun, it’s nice to stumble across a home-built family hauler with a unique and refreshing twist. When we first laid eyes on Al Traille’s ’32 Roadster we knew that the owner would be somebody that we would get along with. And sure enough, beers in hand, Al Traille approached us as we were admiring his creation and we were able to chat and find out more about this fresh custom cruiser. 

Like many longterm home-built projects, Traille has spent the better part of a decade slowly piecing together his perfect vision of what a Roadster should look like. Picking up the body and frame back in 1996, Traille and his close group of friends and family definitely had their work cut out for them. The first phone call placed was to the chassis experts over at TCI Engineering because Traille knew just how important the proper foundation for a build can be.

Next up, Traille swapped in a 1964 327 with fuelly heads, and bolted up an Offenhauser intake with triple deuces to complete the right vintage look with a bit of modern performance and reliability. Some of the exterior changes include ’36 Ford headlights, ’40 Ford wheels, and 1958 Harley Davidson taillights to round out a bit of the unique flavor that Traille was after.

Building from the ground up with a few close friends to lend a hand has it’s perks, but also some drawbacks. But slow and steady wins the race, as is the case with Traille wanting to take his time and get everything just right the first time around. That’s not to say he didn’t learn a few things as he went, but throughout the build his main goal was to build a simple and clean driver that he and his family could enjoy.

We’d say he more than accomplished that, and the unique blend of colors and mods makes this Roadster stand out from the sea of other ’32s scattered around the show fields.

James and Lucy Sanchez 1950 Cadillac

There is just something about the perfect lines of a fifties Cadillac and when we stumbled upon this beauty we knew there was more to the story of this super clean restoration. James and Lucy Sanchez are the very proud owners of this beautifully restored 1950 Cadillac and have owned it for about 11 years. However, this perfect specimen isn’t just an old find, James received this Cadillac from his Father who was the second owner and had owned it for more than 20 years.

James knew that his Dad wouldn’t just give up his pride and joy for no reason, and within days after receiving the keys his father passed away. Knowing how much his dad loved this Cadillac, Sanchez did what any good son would do and set out to fully restore this now family heirloom. First thing he had to do was sell his other project and focus on the Cadillac. After a few years, and having sold his other cars, Sanchez was able to tear into the ’50 giving it a complete top-to-bottom resto.

New paint, suspension, interior, revamped drivetrain – we’re talking the works! But the goal was to have a reliable driver that was capable of keeping the families fond memories of growing up at car shows around for generations to come. James assures us that this Cadillac will remain in the Sanchez family and will always keep his father’s memory alive. Great car, great build, and even better cause – that’s the kind of hot rod we like to share here on Rod Authority!

Kevin Scott’s 1961 Chevy Impala Bubbletop

Kevin Scott set out on the journey to build something different back in March of 2010. Knowing that the ’61 Bubbletops are quite the score, Scott and his friends spent the better part of two years dialing in the look and presence that this custom machine demands.

Beginning with a robust powerplant, Scott tells us that the ZZ383 Chevy High Performance crate motor puts out about 425 horsepower and 460 ft./lbs. of torque and is equipped with a Holley 650 double pumper carburetor, March Performance pulley setup, an Edelbrock intake manifold, and sparked by a MSD 6AL ignition. 

The mean stance is courtesy of a full Ridetech air suspension system all the way around matched with Boyd Coddington wheels. The staggered fitment of 20×8 and 22×10 paired with Toyo Proxes 245/35/20 and 285/30/22 complete the hot rod rake with a bit of the new school that Scott was after.

Interior comforts come from the leather bench seats, Billet Specialties steering wheel, Dakota Digital gauges, and a completely custom built center console. The loud and proud look is achieved via a House of Kolors organic green and mercedes black color combo. Scott tells us, “Changing the paint colors to something so bright and bold was the best improvement that was made on the car, it definitely stands out now,” and we couldn’t agree more!

Kevin would like to thank Machados Auto in Livermore, CA, Ridin High Sittin Low in Tracy, CA, and Carters Auto in Fremont, Ca as he said he couldn’t have pulled it off with all of their help and support.

Ron Isabel’s ’31 Ford Pickup

Ron Isabel shared his 1931 Ford Pickup with us and the first thing that hit us was the radically low stance mimicking the old salt flat hot rods that were channeled to sit only centimeters off the ground. Not only is the stance of this wicked pickup menacing, but the overall look and feel of Isabel’s build is just down right wicked!

Ron shared with us that the build took about six years to complete working on it off and on as he could. Besides for the mostly hidden air suspension setup, another little detail that most people won’t catch on to is the “custom” air scoop. This scoop actually isn’t a custom built piece, it in fact was an original boat motor air scoop that Ron purchased brand new from Vic Hubbard speed shop back in 1967. To find a new use for it only adds to the cool personal touch that Isabel has put into this Ford pickup build.

Little details like the dimpled died and molded visor, and yellow headlamps add some custom flair to Ron’s creation. With many other ’31 trucks out there, he wasn’t really concerned about the who’s who or the what’s what of the custom world. Ron wasn’t chasing any of the latest and greatest trends or trying to mimic someone else’s version of hot rod tradition, he was simply after one thing – a cool custom truck that he could cruise and have some fun with. Again, sticking with our theme, Isabel’s ’31 was built to drive!

Brian Nieri’s 1940 LaSalle

This year’s winner of the Goodguys West Coast Nats Chopped and Dropped Award was Brian Nieri and his amazingly crafted 1940 LaSalle. As you see here, this is no stock LaSalle or just a mild custom. In fact, Brian and his friends at DeRosa cut and chopped the flow necessary to be placed in the top ranks of the Chopped and Dropped category.

You had to of known that there would be some cool customs among this motley crew of unique rods, and finding it’s way into our top picks for more reasons than just the flow and beauty of it’s lines – Nieri’s ’40 stands out for other reasons. Yes the color and sheetmetal mods scream killer custom, but it’s also rather rare to see a “last year” LaSalle set to the chopping block, and even more rare to see one bathed in such absolute perfection. 

Every panel both inside and out of this gorgeous custom has been massaged to reflect the style and flow of the aggressive exterior. Inside, a plush white leather tuck ‘n roll accents the luxury touches along with the wide whites paired with 1957 Caddy hubcaps finishing off the Cadillac classy theme.

Orv and Shirl Elgie’s ’36 Ford 5-Window Coupe

Orv Elgie has been around the block more than once. In fact, his two most recent builds were a pair of tan 1940 Ford Coupes that he had brought out to the Goodguys Pleasanton show from Bend, Oregon and he immediately received an offer from someone wanting to buy the matching set.

Best part of the story was Elgie had no plans on selling the Fords and had not even listed them for sale. But all things happen for a reason because deep down Orv Elgie was itching for a 1936 Ford.

So a deal was struck and the new owner happily toted away his two 1940 Fords and Elgie was on the hunt a ’36. He came across a beautifully restored 1936 Ford 5-window coupe that was a little further along than he would have liked, but this one spoke to him and had a very special quality that caught Elgie’s attention right away.

This Ford had retained all original glass! Not only is that an extra “cool” factor that helped Elgie’s ’36 get bumped into our Top 10 picks, but that is a super rare find that you just don’t come across everyday.

With the restoration pretty much complete, including a plush leather interior, and a Corvette drivetrain swap, all Elgie told us he added was the right amount of accent color to the exterior. A fine-line green pinstripe draws the green accent color from the wheels and created the culmination of both clean and classy. Congrats Orv, she’s a beauty!

Gary and Nancy Pettigrew’s 1951 Ford “Woody”

There’s just something “California” about a Woody so needless to say, they came out in full force in Pleasanton. Surfboards strapped to the roof, and Beach Boys tunes radiating through the air, these iconic machines really are a steadfast part of the automotive culture.

Woodies are special to American automotive history and to the hobby of street rodding in general. The big three all made Woodies in some form or another from the 30s to the 60s so no matter your preference, there is a Woody out there that might just peek your interest.

Take for example Gary Pettigrew’s ’51 Ford, many Shoebox and Ford lovers naturally gravitate toward this iconic Woody and there are a few great ones out there. But Pettigrew wanted to depart from the mainstream a bit and added a few custom touches of his own including hood louvers and some subtle interior updates.

Woodies have been featured in major motion pictures and car shows since the 1930′s, which has made these rods an icon in automotive history and Pettigrew’s example of an American Classic tipped our scale and put his Woody on top of the pile (no pun intended) to make it’s way into our Top 10 picks.

Jack Luna’s 1959 Rolls Royce

We can say with certainty, here’s something you just don’t see everyday. Jack Luna was on a mission to build something unique, and to say he accomplished that would be a huge understatement. Luna took a chance and put his custom spin on this classic Luxury sedan.

Taking and cutting into a perfectly good 1959 Rolls Royce is not something that a “normal” person would ever think to do. Which is why we love the custom and hot rod culture, because “normal” is quite subjective, and there’s not much of it going on around here!

Luna began with the right stance via a complete air suspension setup mated with wide whites and Ford steelies to bring the Rolls from luxury to Rod status. Next on the list was massaging the body with some custom molding and shaving leaving the exterior and lines much more clean and flowing than the ones set by the factory.

The finishing touches include a satin black lower half with red paint accents and pinstriping and topped with a glamourous yet still custom rod approved rainbow flake two-tone split. Elegance meets harsh in a dramatic yet subtle combination – yup, nailed it!


Henry Gong’s 1956 Nomad

As you can tell, we tried to stay away from the “big name” cars and/or builders this time around to give a chance to the “everyday” guy and the killer home-built haulers in attendance. Henry Gong may have enlisted the help of some all-stars like Cole Foster and the Salinas Boys with the build of his fantastic ’56 Nomad, but you better believe this thing is still daily driven! 

Henry tells us that the perfect stance was achieved via an AccuAir Suspension complete air suspension setup outfitted by Cole Foster. The gorgeous and classic paint combo was laid down by Marcos from Lucky 7 in Antioch, California and the plush but original looking interior was brought to life by Ken at Howard’s in Salinas, California.

But have no fear, Henry played a huge roll at every stage, and the major goal throughout the build was to ensure that he would still have a car he could drive and enjoy when all was said and done. He might have went a little further than he originally planned on, but that’s half the fun right? There’s no denying the “cool factor” that oozes from Henry Gong’s ’56 Nomad which earned him a spot in our Top 10.

Mitch Doss – 1929 Ford Model A

We couldn’t go an entire Top 10 without including a beautifully traditional Model A! Mitch Doss and his 1929 Ford Model A represent times come and gone, but the preservation of this history remains important in the hot rod and automotive culture of today.

Mitch painstakingly restored every nut and bolt to the original condition, and worked even harder to maintain a period correctness that is seldom this perfect – almost like the ’29 was plucked right out of a barn somewhere in middle America after sitting for nearly 80 years. But that is not the case; it takes a ton of work and time to rebuild a Roadster with all of the right parts and restore it to full driving condition in such a way that it could have been driven exactly like this decades and decades past. And for honoring the past and the history of this ’29 Ford Model A Roadster, we commend Mitch Doss and add him as the final recipient for this year’s Goodguys West Coast Nationals Rod Authority Top 10.

About the author

Mike Alexander

With over a decade of automotive print and editorial experience, Mike Alexander enjoys shooting and writing about cars, and has several projects cars in his stable.
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