Tuesday, May 23, 2017

12th-Annual 2017 Goodguys Nashville Nationals

If you’re in the Nashville area and you can only go to one car show a year, the Goodguys Nashville Nationals at the Tennessee Titans Stadium is probably going to be it. Beneath the backdrop of downtown Music City you’ll find a diverse selection of 1,200+ hot rods, customs, and muscle cars. 2017 marked the 12th year for this event, and once again, it did not disappoint. Even the weather cooperated for the most part, although there was a big old toad-strangler late Saturday afternoon that slowed things down a bit. Naturally, with that many cars, there were lots of good ones. I had a hard time choosing which ones to feature!

They always say that the German-produced Amphicar was a lousy car and a lousy boat. But unlike most vehicles, it could travel on land or by sea. They built around 3,800 of these between 1961 and 1968. I remember watching a NASCAR talk show about 20 years ago on which NASCAR driver Ken Schrader said he went in on half the purchase of one with Dale Earnhardt, Sr. At the time, it wasn’t much money; just something those guys were playing around with. But they’re not a joke anymore. One sold at the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson auction for $124,200 in 2006. This one was exceptionally nice, free of both road tar and barnacles.

Goodguys is all about the hot rods, and few were better than this ’32 Ford Roadster Pickup. This looked fresh and modern, but somehow looked completely traditional and old school at the same time. This one was an AMBR contender in Pomona, so you know everything is top-notch. Sure, the Brookville roadster body and grille shell makes this a Ford, but there was quite a bit of Oldsmobile DNA running through here. It has an Olds V8, a ’50 Olds gauge cluster, and Oldsmobile little hubcaps with big, chrome spats. With the color, the quality, the chrome, and even the bicycle-style fenders, this was just a classy car all the way around.

Here’s an outstanding ’63 Studebaker Avanti. These had a clean, fiberglass body, which was unusual, especially on a four-seat car. They also had Bendix front disc brakes, which was a first on an American car. This one was even supercharged! Many of the bits you can’t see were a little more ordinary. The chassis was essentially shared with the Lark, and Studebaker’s 289-c.i. engine was good, but hardly groundbreaking. Studebaker only officially made these cars for two years, but boutique manufacturers continued to produce small numbers of Avantis into the mid-2000s. This one here was about as good as I’ve ever seen.

Was a ’59 Cadillac Coupe DeVille outrageous? Sure. I mean, it has the largest tailfins ever tacked onto a car. But if you see one as nice as this stunner, you cannot help but be drawn to it. Even the baroque pattern of the luxurious matching interior exudes opulence. I always thought those kind of seats were itchy when you wore shorts, but the Wood Rose color of this car looks kind of like calamine lotion, so that would probably counteract the itchiness. Incidentally, those Cadillac wire wheels would make a Pontiac Aztek look good. What an impressive car.

Not everything that’s interesting has to be pretty, though. Take this ’70 Dodge D200 Camper Special pickup. You almost never see these, and you never see them this nice. This beast has a 383-c.i. V8, an automatic transmission, and factory air conditioning! Most of these back in the day had a camper filling up the bed, or at least were pulling some kind of travel trailer. I would imagine that this one did its share of camping duty at one point as well. It might look utilitarian, but it’s still fun to look at.

There were several Corvettes at this show, but this was my favorite. They don’t all have to be big blocks, as this ’66 coupe proves. The 327-c.i., 350-hp small block is just fine, thank you. Sure, the Nassau Blue paint had been resprayed to a very high level. But I’ll tell you something that was original—the owner! That’s right, this car hasn’t changed hands in 51 years. And why would he want to get rid of it? This car even has factory air conditioning, so he can grip that teak wood steering wheel and shift the four-speed transmission in comfort. And those aluminum turbine wheels with the Goodyear Speedway Blue Streak tires—drool. The matching electric guitar embellishing the display was also a nice touch.

Whenever you have a ’56 Continental Mark II at a car show, you know it’s going to be one of the stars. These cars managed to pull off a pretty good trick, because they had a big tire hump on the back that was decorated with a 40-lb chrome- and gold-plated emblem, and they still managed to look classy and understated. They only sold 1,325 of these in 1956, and 444 of them in 1957, so seeing one really is a rare treat. This was a great car—not too nice that you couldn’t use it, but nice enough that it outclassed most everything around it.

I could just go on and on about all the nice cars at the 12th-Annual Goodguys Nashville Nationals, but how about some pictures instead. I took more than 820 pictures this time, and you can see them all by clicking this link.


  1. Wow....What a bunch of great photos! Really enjoyed the variety. Tom

  2. Thanks for taking the time to shoot and post the pix!! SUPER!!!

  3. Glad you guys like them. Thanks!