Weekend Rewind! 20th Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals

Goodguys did its best to extend the summertime cruisin’ fun this weekend by going back to the beach for the 20th Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals. Hot rods and Southern California go together like palm trees and sunshine, and there was an abundance of all those elements as thousands of cool rides descended on the picturesque Del Mar Fairgrounds, just steps from the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.

We’ve been eager to bring the Goodguys Good Times back to Southern California and judging by the tremendous turnout, it looks like hot rodders and car enthusiasts in the area were equally excited to get together for a fun-filled, sun-filled old car weekend. The rides were shined up, the engines were revved up, and the participants and spectators were amped up for three days of beachside cruisin’ fun.

The beautiful Del Mar Fairgrounds, which has attracted celebrities and the high-society elite for decades, makes a natural backdrop for the Meguiar’s Street Rod d’Elegance competition. This coveted Top 12 honor recognizes the beauty and elegance that goes into premier-level street rod construction and attracted a great lineup of competitors. The Top Five was a true dose of eye candy and made it challenging to crown a final winner. The title was ultimately bestowed to Gary DeVine’s ’32 Ford Roadster Pickup built by Galpin Auto Sports.

Speaking of elite builds, custom car painter extraordinaire Charley Hutton presented the Builder’s Choice Top 10. It’s never easy to narrow down the selections in Del Mar, but Hutton always does a great job of selecting cars and trucks that not only look great, but also have top-quality construction and details under their skin. Here’s a look at what caught his eye.

The list of winners extended to a number of Top 12 finalists selected during the weekend. This included Joe Casillas’ ’63 SS 409 Impala for the Billet Specialties Muscle Car of the Year; Josh Hodges’ ’69 Camaro for the Griot’s Garage Muscle Machine of the Year; Dan Gernstein’s ’56 Ford F100 for Scott’s Hotrods Truck of the Year Early; Joe Schenk’s ’57 Lincoln Mark II for Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year; and Mike Dauster’s ’67 Chevy C10 for LMC Truck of the Year Late.

The Chevrolet Builder of the Year finalist selections went to J-Rod & Custom for their recently finished ’67 Chevy Suburban for GM Iron and Lakeside Rods and Rides with a ’35 Ford 3-window for GM Retro Iron.

The Goodguys media team chose Joe Stupor’s 2-door ’59 Brookwood wagon for the Fuel Curve Pick and Danny Canizales’ ’55 Chevy with a ’55 Aljo camper trailer in tow for the Goodguys Feature Pick.

There was some speeding at the beach being done as racers put their skills to the test on the Goodguys CPP AutoCross course. Some of the best AutoCrossers in the Western U.S. came out to compete in class competition and the CPP Duel in Del Mar Shootout. Greg Thurmond claimed top honors in the PRO-X class and PRO-X portion of the shootout in his bright orange ’65 Corvette, while the PRO class saw a split victory, with Scott Fraser taking the class win in his C4 Corvette and Wes Drelleshak claiming the shootout victory in the Sheely ’65 Shelby Daytona replica. Richard Jung raced his ’68 ’Vette to double-up class and shootout wins in the Forgeline Street Machine class, and Dick Speed did the same in the LMC Truck class in his ’56 F100. Dennis Russell claimed the top spot in the FiTech Challenger class in his ’33 Ford. There was a great turnout of late models running in the Wilwood All American Sunday class to finish off the weekend, with Eric Sheely claiming both the class win and taking the top spot in the All American Shootout.

There was much more to soak in beyond award winners, as the fairgrounds was packed with four-wheeled attractions. A fantastic Indoor Car Show complemented all the fine rides outside, highlighted by the bright and flamboyant PPG Lowrider Palace in the Exhibit Hall. There was also a great variety of aftermarket and specialty vendors both inside and out, a sizeable swap meet, plus three Nitro Thunderfest drag car exhibitions. A Saturday Burnout Competition provided a fantastic spectacle of noise and smoke, while live music and kids activities offered welcome diversions during the weekend.

It’s hard to say how many more warm-weather beach weekends remain in SoCal this season, but we can’t imagine any that will be more enjoyable for vintage car fans than the past three days at the Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals. The sun, the surf, the great cars and trucks, and the laid-back Goodguys participants made it a seaside spectacle that will be tough to top. Thanks to all of you who joined us for this endless summer beachside cruise!

Photos by Steven Bunker, Marc Gewertz, Terry Lysak, & Tyler Clemmensen

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.