Some call it the Crown Jewel, some call it the Hot Rod Homecoming, and some call it Perfection. Some just say Pleasanton. Whatever the name, the third week in August in the San Francisco Bay Area is a week-long hot rod happenin, culminating with Goodguys 28th West Coast Nationals.
Drenched in summer sun, this year’s event drew hot rodders from all corners of the world to the Pleasanton Fairgrounds. Over 3,800 cars from 31 states covered every nook of the grounds, painting it in a kaleidoscope candy colors. The industry’s top manufactures stuffed the exhibit buildings and midway with new products, while the Bay Area Engine Modelers thrilled all comers with their amazing scale-model motors. There was also an outstanding display of Bonneville land speed cars, vintage Cushman’s, a full scale model car show, Tether car races, rockin live music with Lil Elmo and the Cosmos, nitro fireups and award ceremonies steeped in tradition.
The legends also came out! We saw rock & roll hall of famer Neil Young in his battery powered “Linc-Volt” 1961 Lincoln, drag strip titans Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and engine guru Ed Pink, along with hot rod heroes Gary “Goodguy” Meadors, “The Rodfather” Andy Brizio and so many more. We saw hot rod journalists Pat Ganahl, Thom Taylor of Hot Rod Magazine, Steve Coonan of the Rodder’s Journal and Tim Bernsau of STREET RODDER. John Ray and his band of crazy Kiwis came by the bus load from New Zealand. Martin Lunqvist and his 5-Swedish hot rod brothers drove their cars across America to be here. You get the picture…it seemed as though EVERYONE was here!
For the early-in-town arrivals, Fred Zimmerman Memorial Hot Rod Week provided four big days of country drives, shop tours, sightseeing and in some instances, free weenies! Thanks to the Danville Dukes for organizing it and putting in all those hours plotting the course! A big shout out to the host stops as well. It was a blast.
It’s also here in Pleasanton that Goodguys honor so many special cars with historical awards. The Stroker McGurk (in honor of recently departed legend Tom Medley), the Jim Ewing Memorial, Billy B Memorial, Deuce Bruce Olson Memorial and others keep the hot rod spirit alive and flourishing. While hot rodding’s past is kept alive here in Pleasanton, the future of our hobby is celebrated as well. Kevin and Angie Bischoff’s ’36 Dodge is the perfect mogul for the youth movement of our hobby. The Bischoff’, who are in their 30s, were the lucky winners of the Goodguys 2014 Flowmaster America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award.
Although the big week and weekend have passed, and a relative calm has begun to settle in, it’s time to start daydreaming and look all the way forward to next August! The 29th West Coast Nationals will be held August 21-23, 2015 right back here at the Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. You owe it to yourself to be here!
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