Weekend Rewind! Goodguys 35th Griot’s Garage Pacific Northwest Nationals

Let’s hear it for party time in Puyallup! Goodguys brought the four-wheeled festivities to Washington this weekend for our annual summer bash on the upper left coast. And the 35th Griot’s Garage Pacific Northwest Nationals delivered with three days of sun, fun, and hot rod happenings that had engines revving and kept smiles on the faces of everyone cruising the Washington State Fair Events Center all weekend long.

People in the Pacific Northwest like to joke that summer in the Seattle area lasts from July 5 through mid-August. That’s when you can reliably expect the sorts of conditions that feel like summer to the rest of the country, like sunny skies and warm temperatures. So, it’s a good thing that Goodguys plans its annual trek to the area in late July to make the most of this slice of summer. And the weather was just perfect this year, with cool mornings and evenings and sunny afternoon highs in the low 80s.

The weather isn’t the only reason this event has been a favorite on the Goodguys calendar for 35 years. The combination of a fantastic fairgrounds, a region with a ton of hot rod history, and laid-back enthusiasts who love a good time makes for party-like atmosphere every time we roll into town. The fun and festive vibe was evident all weekend as cars and trucks cruised the grounds, rodders enjoyed great food and drinks, and friends got together to catch up and take part in the old car camaraderie that we all enjoy so much.

Another great tradition here is the Friday Night Drags at nearby Pacific Raceways, where we had some full-throttle fun of the quarter-mile variety. There was plenty of action in a variety of vintage classes, from muscle cars and street machines to hot rods and a great lineup of nostalgia-style Nitro Funny Cars giving the crowd an exciting, high-octane show. What a great way to spend a Friday evening!

We were bursting at the seams at the fairgrounds on Saturday, with cars and truck stuffed into every corner available. Art Morrison and Matt Jones from Art Morrison Enterprises scoured the Builder’s Choice area and the Indoor Car Show to select ten fine rides for their custom-crafted Builder’s Choice Top 10 Awards. And as usual, they nailed it with their choices.

The Goodguys team also picked dozens of award winners, including finalists for several regional Top 12 Of the Year awards. This included John Foxley’s ’52 Chevy as the Fuel Curve Custom of the Year finalist; Todd Wallace’s ’63 Lincoln Continental for the Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year finalist; Wayne McLachlan’s ’40 Ford pickup for the Scott’s Hotrods Truck of the Year Early finalist; and Gary McKay’s ’65 GTO for the Snap-on Muscle Car of the Year finalist. John and Jo Arreola’s bitchin’ little ’60 VW Beetle took home the Goodguys Feature Pick. Todd Wallace’s LSA-powered Continental also earned the Chevrolet Performance GM Retro Iron Builder of the Year finalist spot for Metalworks Speed Shop, while Wicked Fabrication grabbed the GM Iron Builder of the Year finalist nod for Dennis Patterson’s ’65 Chevy C10.

The nonstop party atmosphere was aided by a full schedule of activities filling up the weekend. We had the usual Saturday Specialty Parking Areas – including a massive Air Cooled Corral – a sizeable swap meet, smokin’ Burnout Competition, several Nitro Thunderfest sound-offs, a huge model car show, the Pinstripers Brush Bash, dozens of vendors to shop from, fantastic live music, and some of the best fair food in the country to enjoy.

And perhaps best of all, we had cruising! Starting first thing in the morning all three days, you could see great cars and trucks cruising the lanes and avenues throughout the fairgrounds. It’s always cool to see and hear these vehicles in motion, and it takes many of us back to the fun times of our youth when cruising the boulevard was all that mattered. This is perhaps the greatest tradition of the Pacific Northwest Nationals, especially when the sun goes down, the lights come on, and the Blues Power Revue takes the stage in SillyVille. That’s when the real magic happens!

We’ve been enjoying this spectacular slice of summer for 35 years in Puyallup, and we have no intention of stopping anytime soon. Thanks for another great year, Northwest rodders – we’ll do it again bigger and better in 2024!

Photos by Damon Lee, Steven Bunker & 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.