Weekend Rewind! Goodguys 23rd Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals Presented by FiTech Fuel Injection

Goodguys chased the springtime clouds and rain away this weekend for some fun-in-the-sun Good Times at the beach for the 23rd Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals presented by FiTech Fuel Injection! After a soggy start on Friday morning, the sunshine came out in full force for the next two days as hot rodders and car enthusiasts from Southern California and beyond made the scenic Del Mar Fairgrounds the beachside cruising capital of the state!

This has long been one of our favorite spring events, as it’s hard to resist the charm of the beautiful Del Mar venue with its palm trees, scenic views, and Spanish architecture. True to Del Mar Nationals tradition, the weekend got a kick start on Thursday as members of the Over the Hill Gang San Diego host club guided us on a scenic cruise around the San Diego area, one that even took us over the bridge to Coronado Island. Talk about some fantastic sights!

While Friday was a little weather challenged, three buildings full of indoor displays and cars helped us wait out the rain. The new Suede & Chrome building was jam packed with old-school hot rods and ground-scraping customs, while the PPG Lowrider Palace brought all the vibrance and flash of that scene to its building. We had a great mix of vehicles in O’Brien Hall, including contenders for the 2024 Meguiar’s Street Rod Rod D’Elegance crown, the first Goodguys BASF Top 12 winner to be awarded this season.

The Street Rod D’Elegance award is designed to honor a gorgeous, elegant street rod, and we had some fine rides in the running. By Saturday afternoon the field had been narrowed to a Top Five – Jim Fortelny’s ’32 Ford Coupe, Tim Frey’s ’36 Ford Cabriolet, Ramin Younessi’s ’34 Ford roadster, Joseph Gonzalez’s ’37 Ford sedan, and Ken Reister’s ’32 Ford Phaeton. There was plenty of suspense through the weekend as people speculated on which car would take the crown, and we finally got our answer during Sunday afternoon’s awards ceremony, when the envelope was opened and Ken Reister’s phantom two-door ’32 Phaeton was named the winner! Watch for more details on this incredible street rod later this week right here on Fuel Curve.

Elegant street rods weren’t the only vehicles being celebrated in Del Mar. The full spectrum of rods, customs, classics, and muscle cars were being considered for the Builder’s Choice Top 10 presented by Streamline Custom Designs. The Streamline team even crafted some cool clock trophies for its Top 10 awards! As you might expect from a shop of Streamline’s caliber, all the Top 10 picks were on point.


The Goodguys awards team was also out in full force selecting awards and picks throughout the weekend. This included finalist selections for all our regional Goodguys Top 12 awards resented by BASF. The impressive lineup included Bryce Adams’s ’53 Chevy pickup claiming the LMC Truck of the Year Early finalist spot; Mark DeAtley’s ’72 Chevy hauling home the Dakota Digital Truck of the Year Late finalist nod; Wayne Ferrandino’s ’66 El Camino winning the Snap-on Muscle Car of the Year finalist award; Jane Thurman’s ’64 Corvette snagging the Griot’s Garage Muscle Machine of the Year finalist spot; Brian Omatsu’s ’51 Mercury earning the Fuel Curve Custom of the Year finalist nod; and David Rush’s ’59 Impala grabbing the Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year finalist award. Rush’s Impala also earned the Chevrolet Performance GM Iron Builder of the Year finalist award for Steve Cook Creations. And the Goodguys media team got in on the action by selecting Fred DeFalco’s ’50 Olds for the Goodguys Feature Pick.

The Goodguys CPP AutoCross Series put the pedal to the medal on the west side of the fairgrounds, navigating a tight track that put driver skills to the test in both class action and the Classic Performance Products Duel in Del Mar Shootout on Saturday afternoon. Top performers for the weekend included Richard Jung topping the Speedtech Performance PRO-X class and shootout, Eric Sheely winning the Summit Racing PRO class and shootout, Ken Yeo claiming victory in the Forgeline Street Machine class and shootout, Valerie Pichette winning the Sports Car class and shootout, and David Carroll hauling home the win in the No Limit Engineering Truck class and shootout. Bradley Sisson took home the Challenger class win, while Gunnison Jones drove to victory in the All American Sunday class and shootout.

The sun-filled weekend in Del Mar had more to offer, too, with scores of vendors scattered throughout the event, three boomin’ Nitro Thunderfest exhibitions on Saturday, a lowrider hopping exhibition, swap meet, activities for kids, and live music featuring the Latin rock sounds of Santana Soul. No matter where you turned on the fairgrounds, there was something cool to check out or experience.

And of course, there was also the cruising – and lots of it! One of our favorite traditions at the Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals is the cruising along the venue’s main drag. It’s a great way to see and hear so many of these fine rides in action, and it gives this seaside event an energy that’s difficult to match. We can think of no better way to enjoy your vintage car or truck, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to all of you who came out to Del Mar to do some California cruisin’ once again.

Photos by Damon Lee & Terry Lysak

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.