Weekend Rewind! Goodguys 36th West Coast Nationals

Goodguys delivered a vibrant sparkle to the Golden State this weekend as our Crown Jewel event, the 36th West Coast Nationals, made a triumphant return to the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, California. You didn’t need to look far to unearth automotive treasures at this finely polished event – they were spread throughout the fairgrounds as far as the eye could see!

It was an eventful week leading up to this storied event, with two fun-filled driving activities that saw many rodders hitting the road. The first was the Goodguys 2023 Hall of Fame Road Tour, which kicked off on August 18 in Loveland, Colorado, and saw more than 60 fantastic rides parading through the Mountain West on a week-long journey to Pleasanton.

Local rodders and other early arrivals, meanwhile, took part in the annual Gary Meadors Memorial Hot Rod Week – four days of touring around the greater San Francisco Bay Area visiting shops, collections, and other fun points of interest. The week was capped off with a laid-back Poker Run around Pleasanton and surrounding cities on Thursday.

All that seat time had enthusiasts primed and prepared for extended weekend of fun in the California sun at our home away from home, the Alameda County Fairgrounds. The facility was packed with every kind of specialty vehicle you’d expect from a West Coast crowd – hot rods, classics, customs, vintage trucks, lowriders, and even some sports cars. If you like variety, we had you covered!

With so many fantastic cars and trucks on hand, it was no easy feat for Ben York from Roseville Rod & Custom to select a Builder’s Choice Top 10. Ben did a great job narrowing down the large field, though, and came up with a very deserving lineup.

Ben wasn’t the only busy person selecting awards. The Goodguys team scoured the grounds looking for picks and award winners in dozens of different categories, including a full slate of Regional Top 12 finalists. Those included Phil Quinton’s fresh ’58 Corvette claiming the Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year finalist spot, Clifford Fry’s ’49 Ford shoebox for the Fuel Curve Custom of the Year, Rick Rosas’ ’58 GMC getting the nod for Scott’s Hotrods Truck of the Year Early and Brandon Putzer’s ’68 Chevy C10 on the Dakota Digital Truck of the Year Late side, Bob Leenstra’s ’71 Cuda claimed the Snap-On Muscle Car of the Year finalist position while Sam Medina’s ’69 Mustang got the Griot’s Garage Muscle Machine of the Year spot on the AutoCross track.

The Chevrolet Performance GM Iron Builder of the Year selection went to Gary’s Rods and Restorations with a ’58 Corvette, and South City Rod & Custom earned the GM Retro Iron Builder of the Year selections with a SBC-powered ’40 Ford Pickup.

The Goodguys media team got in on the action selecting a couple longroofs to feature in the coming months: Roy Cardoza’s ’56 Chevy Wagon for the Goodguys Feature Pick and Shannon Gaither’s ’65 Suburban for the Fuel Curve Pick.

The Goodguys CPP AutoCross Series got back on track this weekend, as well, where trophies were earned by fast times in racing classes, as well as performance in the West Coast Shootout presented by FiTech. David Carroll captured the top spot in the Speedtech Performance PRO-X class in his 240Z, Mike Maier won the Summit Racing PRO class in a ’72 Corvette, Ken Yeo topped the Forgeline Street Machine class in his ’65 Corvette, Scott Fraser secured the double win in the Sports Car class in his ’88 Corvette, George Reiss won the No Limit Engineering Truck class in his ’73 Chevy C10, Barry Weber won the FiTech Challenger class in a ’65 GTO, Jon Bickford notched the win in the All American Sunday class in a 2020 Tesla Model 3. Each of these drivers also doubled up in the FiTech EFI “West Coast Shooutout” with the exception of Yeo in the Street Machine class who was bested by Matt Roberts’ ’82 Corvette in the final round of eliminations.

You didn’t need to be in the hunt for awards or racing wins to have fun in Pleasanton this weekend, though. There were plenty of great activities to keep you entertained and engaged, like multiple Nitro Thunderfest hits, a sizeable swap meet, the Pinstripers Brush Bash, a fun exhibition of radio-controlled cars, dozens of vendors both inside and out. And with picture-perfect temperatures all weekend, participants and spectators alike wanted to linger as long as possible to take everything in.

This is the original Goodguys National event, and it’s still one of our favorites. It’s also one of the biggest and best hot rod happenings anywhere on the West Coast. Thanks to all of you who have made P-Town so special for 36 years and counting! We couldn’t do it without you, and look forward to many more West Coast Nationals Good Times to come!

Photos by Todd Ryden, Terry Lysak & 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.