5th-Annual 2016 Goodguys Nostalgia Nationals brings history and hot rods to Bowling Green
Goodguys Rod and Custom shows are usually flashy, highly polished events held at beautiful, state-of-the-art facilities. The Nostalgia Nationals held at Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green, Ky., is different. Beech Bend has more character than any of these new places. An amusement park was built here in the 1940s, and still operates today. The drag strip and circle track were added in the ‘50s. The drag strip in particular is like going back in time. At this event, they were running vintage slingshot dragsters, gassers, and even nitro floppers. You sit in ancient, well-worn grandstands. You can just feel the history here. And speaking of history, let’s take a look at some of the historic vehicles that packed the show field.
This ’55 Pontiac Star Chief two-door hardtop was stunning. The Turquoise Blue and White Mist paint absolutely glowed in the sunshine. And the 287-c.i. “Strato-Streak” V8 looked like it came right off the assembly line. The interior was finished in turquoise and white vinyl in a pattern that was a little different than other ’55 Pontiacs I’ve seen, but it was very attractive. It’s the perfect place to sit down and watch the lighted Indian chief hood ornament guide your way. I normally don’t get super excited about these ‘50s Pontiacs, but there was just something about this one that really spoke my language. It was for sale, too. I just need an extra $30,000 and I can add it to the collection.
Goodguys shows are all about the customs, and few were more impressive than this ‘40 Mercury coupe. The pearl yellow beauty may have looked clean and simple, but it took a lot of radical work to get it that way. It featured a radical chop with elegant, curved, framed window glass. The custom split grille is flanked by ’39 Ford headlights and one-of-a-kind split bumpers. The chromed artillery wheels and wide whites barely hold the body off the ground. Under the hood is a hopped-up, dual-carb flathead. And the interior features luscious white leather with an attractive waffle pattern that carries through to the door panels. This is just a super pretty, high-end show car.
’57 Chevys seem like they’re a dime-a-dozen, but sometimes one turns up that transcends the masses. This Sierra Gold convertible fits the bill. It had one of the nicest restorations I’ve ever seen on one of these cars. That all-vinyl interior is correct for a Bel Air convertible, as opposed to the pebble stone cloth inserts on a hardtop. And this car was infinitely more desirable than most because of the factory fuel injection. I also love that it has a three-speed stick. Sure, you see a lot of ’57 Chevy Bel Airs, but you sure don’t see many like this one.
’40 Ford coupes are among the most iconic hot rods of all time, and this particular example was finished off perfectly. Bright gold custom paint complements the white pleated upholstery. Chrome wheels with spider caps wrapped in wide whites couldn’t be a more appropriate choice. And a hint of hand-painted pinstriping completes the look. Under the hood sits a Chevy 350, because you know, all the good cars feature fast, reliable bowtie power. I love that they didn’t chop the top on this one. I love the color. I love the stance. This is a car you could just stare at for hours. If I owned it, I don’t think I’d ever leave my lawn chair.
And now for something completely different. Take a look at this ’67 Camaro custom panel wagon. This car is just as awesome as it is awful. We’re talking pure ‘70s street machine here. Everything from the stripes to the interior fits the theme. It has flared and vented fenders. There’s a humongous blower sticking out of the hood. It says “Viva Las Vegas” on the quarter panels. There’s a frickin’ roulette wheel built into the back. It’s like someone took all the “street machine” parts and decals out of their 3-in-1 ’67 Camaro model kit and made a real car out of it. At one time, cars like this ruled the show circuit. They’re a part of history, and there aren’t many left.