Thursday, May 9, 2019

A smaller run, but still fun at the 14th-Annual 2019 Goodguys Nashville Nationals

Goodguys events are unlike any other car shows that I go to. They’re more like going to a NASCAR race than a cruise. Everything is bigger and more professional. You get to see the same cars that you read about in magazines. All the big sponsors and displays are there. That was all evident last weekend at the 14th-Annual Nashville Nationals, which was held for three days at the Tennessee Titans Stadium. The only problem was the weather. It rained most of the weekend. Sunday was supposed to be the clearest day, which is when I went. But the rain had a profound impact on car count. It was easily the smallest Goodguys show I’ve ever been to. Still, the cars that did show up were worth the trip downtown.

This ’36 Ford coupe is something you would expect to see at a Goodguys show. There is a lot going on here, including a flathead V8 with rare ARDUN heads and an S.C.o.T. blower, custom wheels that look like they’re off an old Indianapolis race car, and there's a very subtle top chop. But in truth, there’s a lot of modern chassis and suspension stuff beneath the retro looks. This car actually won the Tanks, Inc. Hot Rod of the Year award, which is determined not only by what you can see, but also a bunch of reliability and endurance tests. There are a lot of hot rods that look kind of like this on the surface, but in truth, the quality of this car is a cut above most of them.

I saw this ’56 Pontiac Star Chief convertible roll in on one side of the stadium, and I knew before I left the show I was going to need to find it on the other side. Obviously, you’re talking about another big-dollar build here, with everything as pretty and pristine as you could ever hope to imagine. The gold 20-inch front and 22-inch rear wheels were custom made to resemble the stock wheel covers. Of course, it sits on airbags and features an LSX engine. The dark blue paint is so deep, and the custom leather interior is so rich. It’s clearly a ’56 Pontiac. But it’s nothing like a ’56 Pontiac. The car was just a blank canvas. The result is someone’s vision of art.

Chevrolet celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1962 with a limited run of less-than 400 Golden Anniversary Impalas. They were painted, appropriately, Anniversary Gold, and the interiors were a beautiful yellow hue called Corona Cream. Goodguys gave this car an award for restored cars, and it was well-deserved. This was a Super Sport, but beyond that it wasn’t a very high-optioned car. The fender emblems indicate that it has a 283-c.i. V8, although 327s and 409s were options. I have always loved commemorative edition cars like this, and the colors just work on a ’62 Impala. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to see it.

This ’64 Chrysler 300 was also sort of a special edition. It didn’t really commemorate anything, but Chrysler had a big marketing push for the “Silver 300.” 13,401 of these were made, and they were all decked out in Silver Mist paint, and included a ritzy vinyl top. I think Chrysler 300s were some of the best looking cars produced from the mid-‘50s to the early ‘60s, but I can’t say I was in love with the looks of them by 1964. That being said, it’s the details that make these stand out. They had cool emblems, bench/bucket seats, and push button gear selectors for the TorqueFlite transmissions. This one has a 383-c.i. V8, so there should be enough power there for some comfortable cruising.

If you’re into resto-modded muscle cars, you’ll probably be interested in this ’69 Hurst Oldsmobile Cutlass. This won a Builder’s Choice Tope Ten award. Someone definitely did some award-winning work to it. Sure, it has the look of an original Hurst Olds, including the white-and-gold paint scheme and European-style sport mirrors. But the seats were contoured to hold you in place, the suspension and brakes were upgraded to throw you out of the seats, and Forgeline wheels barely recall the originals. And of course, under the duel-snorkel hood you’ll find a modern LT4 plant complete with supercharger. This ain’t your father’s Oldsmobile.

In spite of the lower car count and dreary weather, I still managed to take 443 pictures at the 2019 Goodguys Nashville Nationals. They’re all right here, just click the link.

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