As I left the Inland Empire of Southern California in sweltering heat, I was sure I’d be greeted in kind once I touched down in Columbus, Ohio. Trust me, I had ample time to think about what hell awaited me at my final destination. I sat next to our resident Hot-Rod and Corvette aficionado, Dave Cruikshank, on the tarmac while we taxi’d for what seemed like hours before we took off.
We were assured several times by the pilot and the flight team that the air traffic controllers hard at work in the tower, had absolutely no idea what they were going to do with us. So, at least there was that.
But not to worry, Concerned Reader, Street Muscle’s patience was rewarded by the God of Thunder himself. Odin saw fit to smile down upon us with showers and thunderstorms that left us delayed for some time, but in green lustrous company upon arrival. Ohio was magnificently cool, and with rain washing away the heat of California, we woke for The Goodguys 21st PPG Nationals on Friday.
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, we rolled over to the Ohio State Fair Expo Center first thing in the morning. There was so much to see on the first day alone, we were being pulled in every direction constantly. Awards ceremonies, hundreds of vendors, food trucks, the screech of tires and smell of melted rubber and of course, thousands of classic cars all made it hard to focus on any one thing for too long. For any would-be, “car people,” it was the equivalent to being a kid in a candy store.
From the moment we walked in, we were inundated with gorgeous examples of classic American engineering. Just past the turnstyles and hand stamps were the contenders for Street Machine of the Year basking in the sun like a pride of lions. The top-tier, the upper echelon, the kings of the jungle, so to speak. Their chrome and paint dripping like fangs with saliva, waiting to sink into the autocross course just around the corner.
As your humble editor, I hustled to capture as much of the 6,500 cars, autocross, drags, and burnouts as I could, but even I succumb to fatigue, and in doing so, found myself in the refuge of the great hall in the Cardinal Building on the grounds of the Expo Center. I was pleasantly surprised to find some gems of the show, and some oddballs as well. So, as a teaser for things to come, I will leave you with my top three picks I found inside.
Steve Meyer’s 1969 Chevy El Camino SS Pro Street
First I spied this righteous pro-street monster in the form of a ’69 Chevy El Camino SS. With a big block 468 motivating this thing, most people would call it a day, but not Steve Meyer. He hammered thing into another dimension by topping that big block off with a massive Don Hampton 871 blower, and three, alcohol fueled Holley 750 cfm carbs.
With orange creamsicles dancing on my head, and visions of alcohol fueled burnouts not far behind, this Elco really brought me back to life after being in the sun all day. It was the only pro-street style build in the Cardinal building and the thing announced it’s presence with those giant slicks like a sumo wrestler stepping into a crowded elevator. Let’s just say this thing was tough.
Milt Carley’s 1967 Mustang GT500
Next we have this seemingly ordinary ’67 GT500 if there were ever such a thing. I mean let’s be real, there is no ordinary GT500, but this one has something up it’s scaly sleeve. A late model powerplant from a 2003 Mustang Cobra. The 4.6L supercharged V8 crafted by the hands at Ford, made 400hp and was backed by a buttery six-speed gearbox.
Nicknamed the Terminator by the Special Vehicle Team(SVT) at the blue oval headquarters, this GT500 has the heart of a relentless killing machine, and enough muscle to rival that of Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. It even lets you know who it’s proverbial master is with a Skynet license plate frame. For those of you unfamiliar with Terminator lore, do yourself a favor and give it a watch, if for nothing else but to understand this builder’s reference.
Kyle & Sharon Atkins’ 1977 C10
Finally, as I was wrapping up the day I saw this gorgeous woman in a black dress in the center of the room all alone, and I couldn’t not ask her to dance. I would have kicked myself for the rest of my life if I had. So, I put my most confident face on and waltzed right up to her. She was a midwest gal from America’s heartland, not far from here in Ohio, actually. Born in 1977 makes her 41, but she didn’t look a day over 25. She was this stunning ’77 Chevy C10.
Owned by Kyle and Sharon Atkins, this pretty thing was quickly woo’ed by me and my Canon 70d. Putting power to the ground with a late model LS1 and a 4L65E transmission, she had no problem boogying on the dance floor. Wearing earrings made of chrome and carbon, the subtlety of her elegance was not lost on me. The carbon inlay on the hood is entirely real and set in the stock hood by the way.
So, that wraps things up for me on Opening Day here at the 2018 Goodguys 21st PPG Nationals. Street Muscle Magazine and Street Muscle Facebook will be on the ground all weekend with live feeds and more great content, so stay tuned and let me know what you think of my picks. You’re not going to want to miss the announcement of Street Rod Of The Year, and Street Machine Of The Year as well!
Check back through the weekend.