The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association is poised to kick off its 30th Anniversary season this weekend at Westworld in Scottsdale, Arizona marking a celebratory year full of colorful automotive festivals geared towards classic American automobile enthusiasts. What started in March of 1983 as a one day “Get-Together” for California hot rodders has blossomed into a worldwide association of car enthusiasts born out of one man’s passion.
Northern California car nut Gary Meadors founded Goodguys back in the spring of ‘83 as a way to get car people and hot rod aficionados like him together to show off their cars, trade ideas, listen to some live music and have a little fun. Falling back on his early years as strictly a street rod show promoter (street rods are widely considered 1949 & earlier American cars) Meadors had the idea to welcome all genres of American car enthusiasts with a lean towards V8 powered, low-to-the-ground eye catchers like hot rods from the 30s & 40s, lead sled customs from the 50s, Muscle Cars from the 70s as well as the new breed of American Muscle like 5.0 GT Mustangs, Z28 Camaros and more.
Goodguys under Meadors’ careful direction caught lightning in a bottle. Through bringing car guys and gals together with the common theme of “having fun with cars” The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association gathered sufficient steam to take this simple, passion-driven show format across the country. By 1987, Goodguys had a national string of auto events and festivals from Pennsylvania to California with the nation’s car magazines following along. In 1989, Goodguys published the first “Goodguys Goodtimes Gazette” – a fun little house organ touting the Goodguys Goodtimes. It was also in the late 80s, Goodguys began selling flamed hi-top tennis shoes and shorts, launching a flamin’ hot multi-pronged assault on the hot rod & custom car world. Giveaway cars were another added attraction to attendees upping the ante for the masses.
The Goodguys message and methodology proved so popular it launched the Northern California based company into the lexicon of America’s most widely recognized show promoters.
Today, Gary Meadors has merged into the cruise lane, while his son, second generation hot rodder Marc Meadors has opened the throttle wide-open taking Goodguys full speed into future generations of gear heads.
At the season opening Spring Nationals this weekend at Westworld in Scottsdale, fans will get a close up glimpse of just how eclectic the modern day hot rodding scene is though in spirit – the Goodguys core message is unchanged after 30 years – having fun with cars. Literally thousands of 1972 & earlier show cars glistening with candy colors will sprawl through the grass polo field of Westworld, each car owner taking extreme pride in polishing and showing their entry.
The shrill sound of rubber meeting pavement will fill the air with excitement as competitors in the Goodguys AutoCross, a hi-adrenaline electronically timed vehicle speed & agility course, battle it out in a weekend long fastest-car-wins contest of speed & skill.
Then there’s the midway featuring multi-million dollar custom big rig tractor trailers (a show in and of themselves) offering hi-performance parts and accessories to budding hot rodders and do-it-yourselfers. Having the chance to interact directly with manufacturers has long been an appealing aspect of Goodguys events. Throw in a giant used car parts swap meet and car corral (turn-key classic cars for sale) and it’s literally auto-utopia for any red blooded American with motor oil in their veins.
Goodguys takes their car-lovin’ customers so serious there’s even a model car program sponsored by Revell that sends the little one’s home with their very own model kit forging big dreams to one day come back to the show with a life sized version.
Rounding it all out is the All American Sunday where owners of American powered show cars and trucks of all years, makes and models can come inside the event to show off next to the 1972 and earlier iron. It’s also on Sunday’s that Goodguys displays all top award winning cars together as a group in the winner’s circle spawning endless clicks of amateur and season shutterbugs.
And this, all of it, started on a spring day in March 1983 in Northern California. The American Dream personified in a simple company slogan. “Goodguys…Cool Cars, Cool People, Goodtimes!”
The Goodguys 4th Spring Nationals event gates are open Friday and Saturday from 8am to 5pm and Sunday 8am to 3pm. General admission is $18, kids 7-12 $6. Westworld parking is $5. Click here to purchase event tickets…
By the numbers – Three decades of Goodguys:
-600 – The number of Goodguys Rod & Custom Association events produced since 1983.
-2.5 million – The cumulative total of hot rods and classic cars (1972 & older) which have attended a Goodguys event since 1983.
-$250,000 million – the estimated revenue generated in local cities (hotel rooms, restaurants, gas stations, markets etc) hosting Goodguys events since 1983
-25 million – the estimated total attendance of Goodguys events since 1983
-10,000 – The number of companies who’ve exhibited on the midway at a Goodguys events since 1983
-290 – The number of Goodguys Goodtimes Gazette magazines printed since first published in 1989
-75 – Number of completed, ready-to-drive-away Giveaway Cars Goodguys has produced since 1983
-30 – Number of states Goodguys events have been held in since 1983
-45,000 – Number of miles the Goodguys big rig travels annually bringing supplies to events
79,000lbs – The Goodguys big rig carries between 75,000 and 79,000lbs worth of equipment to each show.