Monday, November 19th, 2012

Goodguys Southwest Nationals 2012 Recap

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I’m not a huge American muscle car fan, so I was interested to see what Goodguy’s Southwest Nationals car show had to offer me. I was curious if there would be any imports, Japanese or European. Were all the cars vintage or were there modern versions of these hot rods? How many of the cars were straight restorations or if they were all resto-mods – where they are mostly restored but also heavily modified for performance? Also, I was curious to see what stock was in the Auto Trader Classic Car 4 Sale Corral and what the swap meet was like. And lastly, I was excited to watch cars go through the AutoCross.

So the answer to the first question is no imports. I mean there were a few vintage Volkswagens with tricked out engines, but I didn’t see any Euro or Japanese imports. While there aren’t many vintage Japanese vehicles to resto-mod, there are a ton of Euros. However, if you want to see those, you are better off hitting a Barrett-Jackson or Russo and Steele auto auction.

Also, there wasn’t much in terms of modern vehicles. Chevy had a booth in the vendor pavilion where I grabbed this photo, but otherwise, this show is for vintage rides.

Almost all the cars were resto-mods. The body and interior would be close to stock, but the engine, drive train, chassis and tires were most likely not.

The Auto Trader Classic Cars 4 Sale Corral was a very eclectic mix of cars. In this area, there were some imports, other American cars that weren’t classics, like modern Jeep Wranglers and later model Camaros and such. While these cars were in a separate area, I saw many notes on show cars that they were for sale. I think if you offered the right price, most the cars at the show could be yours.

The swap meet was also a very eclectic mix of vendors and products. It really was like a swap meet, meaning it wasn’t full of vendors trying to sell the latest and greatest – those vendors were in the vendor pavilion. These were vintage finds from junk yards, garage sales, etc.

For me, the most exciting part of the show was the AutoCross. This was a fenced off, coned figure-eight track where any show car could race through if they passed inspection. They raced against the clock and suffered a time penalty for each code they hit. Most cars could fly through it at between 33 – 50 seconds. It was fun to watch these muscle cars try their best to tightly corner and I’m sure the drivers and their passengers had a blast.

All in all, if you are a car enthusiast, you would enjoy hitting this show for a day or two. If you’re a hot rodder, this is the show for you. If you are very picky about what types of cars you want to see, this may or may not be your show. No matter what, it was a beautiful day in Scottsdale with a great crowd and plenty to look at.