Weekend Rewind! Goodguys 33rd West Coast Nationals Presented by BASF

If the third time is the charm, how would you characterize the 33rd running of one of the most storied and beloved hot rod happenings in the western U.S.? If you’re talking about the Goodguys 33rd West Coast Nationals presented by BASF held this weekend in Pleasanton, California, one simple adjective will do: Incredible!

Rodders have been flocking to this signature NorCal gathering for more than three decades now and the vibe is just as fun, laid-back, and cool as ever. The Crown Jewel of the Goodguys calendar delivered yet again for 2019, as thousands of cars and countless spectators flooded the Alameda County Fairgrounds for three days of car-crazy fun in the California sun.

We kicked off the festivities with Gary Meadors Memorial Hot Rod Week on Monday, one day after what would have been our founder’s 80th birthday. Four days of cruisin’ to cool shops, stops, and sights culminated in a fantastic Friday at the fairgrounds and the start of another truly special national event. We do four events every year in our hometown of Pleasanton, but there’s always been something distinctive about the West Coast Nationals. The timing, the people, and the location are all key elements to this event, but there’s a bit of Goodguys magic that gives it an extra boost of feeling that’s difficult to define.

Hot rods and street rods have always been the core of the West Coast Nationals, which makes it a perfect home for the America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod competition. As usual, the field was strong for this prestigious award, which is part of the Goodguys Top 12. We had entries from all over the country – Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Washington, and California. In the end, it was George Poteet’s “Three Penny” ’36 Ford roadster, finely crafted by the team at Pinkee’s Rod Shop in Colorado, that took home the top honor. Stay tuned for a full feature on this beauty on Monday at good-guys.com. Joining Poteet in the Top Five finalists were Oscar Gamble’s ’32 Ford three-window coupe, Lynn and Randy Potter’s ’32 Ford roadster, Rich and Bev Staph’s ’32 Ford five-window coupe, and Tim Hughes’ ’31 Ford Victoria.

There was plenty of other hardware to go around, with some of the most coveted trophies coming from Leonard Lopez at Dominator Street Rods, who selected an outstanding lineup for his Builder’s Choice Top 10.

The Goodguys staff also selected finalists for Muscle Car of the Year – Mark Lopez’s incredible ’66 Shelby Mustang – and for Scott’s Hot Rods Truck of the Year Early, which went to Mark McDonald’s ’50 Chevy pickup. Among the dozens of other awards were Brett Ervin’s ’63 Impala wagon for the Fuel Curve Pick, and Tom Walsh’s ’27 T roadster as the Gazette Pick.

There was a lot of heat being generated on the AutoCross course, as well, with dozens of lead-footed racers eager to burn up the track and round the cones in the quickest time possible. The prize for these competitors was a spot on one of the ladders for Saturday’s West Coast Shootout presented by FiTech. There were some familiar names among those in the shootout – as well as those in the winner’s circle. They included Mike Maier, who raced his Corvette to the PRO-X/PRO shootout victory, and Ken Yeo, who took his Corvette to victory in the Street Machine, Truck, and Hot Rod shootout. It was a clean sweep of Vettes in Pleasanton, as Scott Fraser raced his C4 to the All American Sunday shootout win to finish off the weekend.

As if thousands of cool cars basking in beautiful California summer sunshine wasn’t enough, we had a full slate of other happenings, including a massive outdoor vendor midway, two buildings of indoor vendors, an indoor race car display, a huge swap meet, special displays of Cushmans and miniature engines, live music, kids fun, a Goodgals Gallery, three Nitro Thunderfest shows, Spectre Performance All American Sunday, and much more! It all made for an incredibly fun and special hot rod weekend, and we can’t wait to bring you even more when we celebrate West Coast Nationals number 34 next year!

Photos by Steven Bunker, John Jackson, and Damon Lee

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.