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2018 Goodguys Speedway Motors Homebuilt Heaven Awards

Goodguys and Speedway Motors had another great year in 2018 celebrating the true heritage of hot rodding – vehicles built primarily by their owners at home. The Speedway Motors Homebuilt Heaven parking areas give special attention to these home-crafted rides at every event, with two awards – Homebuilt Heaven and Traditional Homebuilt – also bestowed at each event.Speedway Motors, homebuilt heaven

At the end of the year, all event winners are posted online so the public can vote on the yearend winners. For 2018, those winners are Clayton and Betty Dodd earning the Homebuilt Heaven honor with his ’65 GTO-Camino, and Scott and Shannon Smith taking the Traditional Homebuilt Heaven award with their ’53 Ford Ranch Wagon. These yearend Homebuilt Heaven winners will each receive a $500 Speedway Motors gift certificate and custom Speedway Motors jacket. Congratulations, Clayton, Scott, and Shannon!

Homebuilt Heaven

Clayton and Betty Dodd | Davenport, IA | 1965 GTO-Camino

The Goodguys 2018 Speedway Motors Homebuilt Heaven winner is Clayton and Betty Dodd’s slick ’65 GTO-Camino from Davenport, Iowa. The hybrid car/truck and Chevy/Pontiac earned its initial Homebuilt Heaven award at the First Kentucky Nationals in Lexington.

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Clayton tells us he found the ’65 El Camino body shell in Minnesota – though it was a solid car that had come from California. He paired it with parts from a GTO he sourced from Texas. This included the entire GTO front sheet metal clip, doors (to which Clayton added the El Camino glass and window frames) and quarter panels. The taillights came from a ’64 Pontiac LeMans wagon. “The rear bumper I had to do a little Chip Foose work on” to get it to fit, Clayton joked. He said he did about 75-percent of the metal work before turning things over to Midwest Rod and Restoration (Wapello, IA) for final finessing and the two-tone PPG finish.

Clayton owned his own transmission shop until late last year, so handling the mechanical chores came naturally. He installed an LS engine topped with dual four-barrel carbs in the rebuilt chassis and backed it with a 700R4 automatic transmission. The lowered suspension is finished off with 17- and 18-inch Raceline wheels. The Pontiac transformation is carried over inside with a GTO dash (filled with AutoMeter gauges), plus GTO bucket seats and console.

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“Everything I do is self-taught,” Clayton told us. The 69-year-old enthusiast said he worked on the car every day, completing the project in less than a year and a half. “I thought I’d better get something done before it gets too late,” he said.


Traditional Homebuilt Heaven

Scott and Shannon Smith | Naples, FL | 1953 Ford Ranch Wagon

The Goodguys 2018 Speedway Motors Traditional Homebuilt Heaven honor went to Scott and Shannon Smith’s ’53 Ford Ranch Wagon. Based out of Naples, Florida, the sleek two-door wagon is the result of an eight-year off-and-on build process.

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The wagon started out as a basket case. “I got it from my father,” Scott said, adding that car stuff “seems to be what we do.” Scott installed a Fatman Mustang II-style IFS and an AccuAir rear four-link with air springs all around to achieve the sleek stance. That appearance was enhanced with 18- and 20-inch Foose wheels wrapped in whitewall tires from Diamondback Classics. Power came in the form of a ZZ4 small-block Chevy crate engine topped with an 8-Stack EFI system with FAST controls and backed by a 700R4 transmission. The engine breathes through a Borla exhaust.

Though hot rods are just a pastime – “I’m from Detroit, so it’s always been a hobby,” Scott said – his day job running a collision shop helped with the bodywork. Scott cleaned things up by shaving the emblems and fuel door, adding a visor, swapping on side trim from a different year Ford, converting the rear windows to one piece, and reshaping the rear wheel openings. The Toyota gray and “out of the can” white paint came from Axalta.

Inside, Scott installed front bucket seats, a Lokar shifter, and Vintage Air, and then crafted a bamboo wood trim floor in the cargo area. He turned things over to C&C Hot Rods for the gray and white leather upholstery. It’s all topped with a creative surfboard headliner.

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Scott and Shannon made it to a couple Goodguys events last year, taking home the Traditional Homebuilt award in Charlotte. Winning the yearend voting is a great reward for a hobby that, according to Scott, “keeps me out of bars and keeps me out of trouble.”

Editor, Goodguys Gazette

Damon Lee began snapping photos at car shows when he was 10, tagging along with his father to events throughout the Midwest. He has combined his passion for cars and knack for writing and imagery into a 20-year career in the automotive aftermarket, writing for titles like Super Chevy and Rod & Custom and, more recently, working for respected industry leaders Speedway Motors and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.