Weekend Rewind! Goodguys 14th Nashville Nationals

It was a fun-filled hot rod weekend in Music City, courtesy of Goodguys and the 14th Nashville Nationals! Three days of cool cars, great people, and good times came to the banks of the Cumberland River as we took over Nissan Stadium for a hard-charging springtime celebration.

The Tanks Inc. Hot Rod of the Year competition has taken center stage in Nashville the past several years, and that tradition continued with an incredible lineup of contenders vying for this year’s top honor. More than 25 pre-’49 hot rods took part in Friday’s Hot Rod of the Year reliability run, which covered more than 100 miles and included both city and country driving, plus burnouts and blasts down the drag strip. By Saturday afternoon, the filed had narrowed to five contenders: Ron Meis’s ’27 T roadster, Scott Hawley’s Deuce five-window coupe, Amadeo Angelo’s ’36 Ford three-window coupe, Ray Enos’s ’30 Model A roadster, and Rick Bolea’s ’33 Ford coupe. When the votes were tallied and the envelope unsealed during Sunday’s awards ceremony, Amadeo Angelo’s ’36 Ford, built by Roseville Rod & Custom, was named the winner! Watch for a more detailed look at this killer coupe tomorrow.

While the hot rods were out cruising on Friday, the car count at Nissan Stadium was steadily growing as rodders from around the region cruised into the spacious facility to show off their stuff. The selection was stunning and the quality incredible, reflecting the skill and attention to detail of the builders – both professional and home-brewed – in this part of the country.

There were dozens of standouts that earned awards and picks including Bobby Alloway’s Builder’s Choice Top 10, Clarence Goodwin’s ’61 Impala that snagged the PPG Dream Car award, and John Martin’s drag-influenced ’34 Ford coupe nabbing the Fuel Curve Pick. We also selected a Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year finalist going to Frank Howard’s ’56 Pontiac, and Danny Bouchard’s ’58 Ford F100 earning a Scott’s Hot Rods Truck of the Year Early finalist spot. Muscle cars got in on the action, too, with Billy Pope’s ’69 Trans Am getting the Muscle Car of the Year finalist nod, and Johnny McConnell’s ’66 Charger picking up the Griot’s Garage Muscle Machine of the Year finalist spot.

An all-new AutoCross course challenged cone-dodging racers who all wanted a chance at competing in Saturday’s Music City Mayhem Shootout sponsored by Optima. Top qualifiers (and class winners) were Josh Leisinger in PRO-X, Chris Smith in PRO, Bill Graves in Street Machine, and Patrick McGinnis in Truck. When they duked it out Saturday afternoon, Corey Williams ended up capturing the PRO-X / PRO shootout title in his ’72 Camaro, while Tim Molzen topped the Street Machine, Hot Rod, and Truck shootout in his ’63 Dodge Dart.

While the threat of rain kept the skies cloudy Friday and Saturday, the fun was only dampened by a few sporadic showers. Most of the weekend was calm and comfortable, with all of the event activities happening as planned – from the three Nitro Thunderfest exhibitions, to Saturday’s Burnout Competition, two a full swap meet and fantastic vendor midway. Being Nashville, there was naturally some great live music on hand, great food, plus fun games and activities for the kids. All that, plus the excitement of downtown Nashville was just a short walk over the pedestrian bridge crossing the river. How cool is that!

It’s always a fun time when Goodguys rolls into Nashville. If the rumble of hot rods is music to your ears, then you’ll want to mark your calendar to make it to Music City next year when the Nashville Nationals returns.

Photos by Damon Lee, John Jackson and Steven Bunker

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.