5 Minutes with Marilyn Meadors

Marilyn Meadors is the ultimate co-pilot.

She was at Gary Meadors’ side when he founded Goodguys in 1983 and, in the decades since then, has watched the organization grow, all the while sharing in her husband’s passion for celebrating and driving cool cars.

Meadors has always been a mainstay at Goodguys events, accompanying Gary to shows all over the country and greeting members young and old with a smile. Since Gary’s passing in December 2015, Meadors has scaled back her attendance at events, but her passion for cars remains strong, as does her desire to keep Goodguys going for the next generation of gearheads.

“After all these years, our events are still family-oriented, fun to attend and catered to the enthusiast,” Meadors said. “I hope it will always remain that way.”

We chatted with Meadors about the early days of Goodguys and her 50-plus-year marriage to Gary.

GG: Goodguys has grown a lot in the three years since Gary passed. How do you think he would feel about the new things the organization is doing now?

Marilyn Meadors: He would be so proud of [our son and Goodguys President] Marc and his crew. They have done a really good job keeping it all going. I’m really proud of the way Marc and the crew have developed more visual things at the events – having things that excite the young people. And he would be really impressed with how the AutoCross continues to grow, I think. It’s fun to go and see the action. There’s always a big crowd around the AutoCross, and it makes for loud noises and fun, which Gary would appreciate!

GG: You’ve attended Goodguys events all over the country. Do you have a personal favorite? 

Marilyn Meadors: My favorite has always been [the Heartland Nationals] in Des Moines. It’s in the Midwest and the people there are just great. They’re just down-to-earth wonderful people and to me, the people make the event. They have a huge fair there every year, so it’s actually more like a small city. People have their family reunions at that event, which I love.

GG: What’s your favorite thing to do at a Goodguys event?

Marilyn Meadors: We loved to watch and see how many baby carriages would come in, and how many kids. That’s how you keep the hobby alive; keeping the kids interested. Over the past few years, I’ve seen so many more young builders coming through, which is great.

GG: Do you have plans to attend any Goodguys events in 2019?

Marilyn Meadors: I haven’t attended many since Gary passed, maybe five or so. It’s still really hard for me to go. The community has been so wonderful to me, though, and they always have such nice things to say about Gary, but it’s still very tough for me to go to the events.

GG: What’s your ultimate dream car?

Marilyn Meadors: That actually reminds me of a funny story. Years ago, I had a Cadillac Escalade that was perfect because we could drive our dog back and forth from California to Arizona. Gary just hated that car! He would tell me, ‘You’re totally ruining my rep!’ This went on for a couple years and one day he said, ‘You need a new car; let’s go down and get you whatever car you want!’ Now, having been married to this man for 54 years, I knew what his game was. We went to various dealerships, and he fell in love with a BMW 650i, a sports car. I kept reminding him that this car was for me and supposed to be ‘whatever I wanted.’ He said, ‘You’ll love it!’ When we left, I joked, ‘Thanks for the car I really wanted!’ and he grinned. That was my ‘dream car;’ I just didn’t know it!

GG: Gary had quite the car collection himself. Which is your favorite?

Marilyn Meadors: My favorite car is the last car Gary had built. It’s a Chrysler Town & Country convertible woodie. It’s such a great car. We took it cross country several times and it’s just so comfortable. The thing weighs about 5,000 pounds, but it’s so fun. I also love the ’29 roadster, too, which is really different to ride in than the Chrysler. But I love them both.

GG: What’s your favorite thing to do that’s not car-related?

Marilyn Meadors: I like to travel. I have some girlfriends and we do things together. We have taken several trips in California, going wine tasting, and even zip-lining. There are four of us, and we’ve been all over California. I’ve always loved to travel. Gary and I were very fortunate to have had lots of friends to go travel with. We had a great life. We had some hobbies when we were younger – we bowled, went water skiing – but after we formed the business, it really took over. As far as hobbies, they were all car-related.

GG: Over the years, you’ve met plenty of famous people thanks to Goodguys. Are there any celebrity meetings that stand out in your mind?

Marilyn Meadors: Actually, yes. Years ago, we were doing an event in Southern California and we got word that there was a gate crasher…and it turned out to be O.J. Simpson! This was way before [his trial]. He didn’t buy a ticket and tried to talk his way in because of who he was. He had a big bodyguard with him and he thought he could do whatever he wanted to do! Well, we sent him on his way! It was just so strange!

GG: You’ve been with Goodguys since the beginning, as have many of your employees. Are you still very close to the Goodguys team?

Marilyn Meadors: I love the fact that the majority of them have been with us so long. Some of them got their 20-year rings last year, and some have been here even longer! We have some employees who started with us right out of high school and are still here. They are just the best people, all of them. I like to bake them cookies, which they really appreciate. I just love our team. We are a family.

Ashley has been writing about cars and people since the 2006 when she was an associate editor at Hot Rod & Restoration. She has remained active writing about cars for the Goodguys Gazette where she has chronicled builders, new products, and performed exclusive interviews. Her passion remains Hollywood gossip. She is founder and president of The Ashley's Reality Roundup dot com