Weekend Rewind! 23rd Colorado Nationals presented by Griot’s Garage

Car enthusiasts got a full dose of high-altitude hot rodding this weekend as the Goodguys 23rd Colorado Nationals presented by Griot’s Garage rolled into the scenic Ranch Events Complex in beautiful Loveland, Colorado. Lingering summer temperatures and plenty of sunshine made for three days of hot fun as a record number of hot rods, cool customs, classic cruisers, muscle cars, vintage trucks, and other great rides brought some Goodguys Good Times to the front range of the Rocky Mountains.

Based on the incredible turnout we witnessed on Friday, rodders from the Rocky Mountain region have been anxiously awaiting the return of this signature September event. The facility quickly filled up with a full spectrum of colorful rides and you could tell that people were happy to be enjoying an in-person car event – some of them for the first time in many months. The cool cars and cool views extended throughout the day and into the evening, as Pinkee’s Rod Shop and Mash Lab Brewing welcomed everyone for a truly memorable TGIF party.

Pinkee’s owner Eric Peratt couldn’t sleep-in the morning after the party, though. He was back at the Ranch Events Complex bright and early on Saturday to start scoping out candidates for his coveted Builder’s Choice Top 10. His final lineup was consistent with the qualities you’ll find in the fine rides crafted at Pinkee’s – clean lines, great craftsmanship, and classy style.

Beyond the Top 10, Goodguys also made finalist selections for several Meguair’s Top 12 awards. This included David Gruthoff’s ’69 Shelby GT500 picking up the Billet Specialties Muscle Car of the Year finalist nod, Don Heidt claiming the Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year finalist spot with his Kindig-built ’52 Pontiac convertible, and Gordon Noggle winning the Scott’s Hotrods Truck of the Year Early finalist award with his ruby red ’56 Chevy pickup built by Revision Rods and Rides.

We also chose finalists for the Chevrolet Performance Builder of the Year honors. The GM Iron went to Chris Carlson Hot Rods for the ’49 Cadillac built for Bruce Conwell, while the GM Retro Iron went to Murray Kustom Rods for the ’32 Ford coupe built for John Hornbrook. Both cars are prior Meguiar’s Top 12 winners – the Cadillac was the Goodguys Custom of the Year back in 2018, while the Deuce is the 2021 Tanks, Inc. Hot Rod of the Year.

The Goodguys media team found some great eye candy in Colorado, too. We selected Kevin Zerby’s Hemi-powered ’36 Ford for the Goodguys Feature Pick, and the chopped and customized ’69 VW Bug of Shannon Waltz and Brandon Hines for the Fuel Curve Pick.

The twisty canyon roads of the Rocky Mountains were nothing compared to the tight-corner course carved by racers in the Goodguys CPP AutoCross Series during the weekend. Some of the series’ heaviest hitters were on hand and found spots in the winners’ circle – and in the Saturday Western Sates Shootout. Josh Leisinger came down from South Dakota to claim the PRO-X class and win the PRO-X portion of the shootout in his Summit-sponsored Corvette, while Scott Fraser brought his fresh C4 Corvette from California to do the same double-up trick in the PRO class. In the Forgeline Street Machine class, Bill Graves Sr. claimed the class win in his ’66 Corvette, but mechanical problems prevented him from running the shootout. This left the door open for Kurt Chenoweth to win the Street Machine portion of the shootout in his ’70 Dodge Challenger. Colorado local Don Yarbrough found the winners’ circle yet again in his ’55 Chevy pickup in the LMC Truck class and doubled up by claiming the Truck/Challenger portion of the shootout, beating FiTech Challenger class winner Tom Adjutant and his ’64 Acadian wagon in the final round. We had a great selection of later-model rides show up to race in the Wilwood All American Sunday class, where Blake Slaven topped the class field and Greg Paine claimed the top spot in the All American Sunday Shootout.

A wide range of car-crazy sights and activities kept things interesting throughout the weekend in Loveland. This included the Specialty Auto Auction inside the Bud Event Center, where enthusiasts could bid on new rides to cruise home. There was also a four-car Nitro Thunderfest exhibition reverberating against the Rockies, plus a smokin’ Burnout Competition on Saturday. Add in an expansive swap meet, kids fun, an active vendor midway, live music, late-model rides on All American Sunday, and more, and it’s no wonder the Colorado Nationals was better than ever this year!

This Weekend Rewind provides a great taste of the 23rd Colorado Nationals presented by Griot’s Garage, but there’s nothing quite like experiencing this high-altitude event for yourself. If you’ve never been, we encourage you to start making plans to join us for some Goodguys fun in colorful Colorado next year!

Photos by Todd Ryden & John Jackson

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.