Sunday, July 14, 2019

9th-Annual Southeastern Chevy/GMC Truck Nationals was the biggest ever

Old Chevy trucks have always been popular, but never quite like they are now. Take the 9th-Annual Southeastern Chevy/GMC Truck Nationals, which was held Saturday at the Moss-Wright Park in Goodlettsville, Tenn. More than 700 trucks turned out for this event, smashing last-year’s record by some 200 entries. Bryan Ashley, his family, and a small group of volunteers have created a destination event for GM truck owners from all over the country. The style du jour is a restomod with an LS engine, big wheels and brakes, and modern digital gauges. People want their old sheet metal to have modern functionality. Of course, there was lots of that in this show. But there were plenty of nice original trucks as well. When you get 707 trucks together, every generation, every model, and every build style or condition is going to be covered one way or another.

I remember this little ’71 C-10 from back when I lived in Kansas City. The truck moved to Tennessee, but it hasn’t changed much. This Medium Blue beauty is unforgettable and outstanding. It's so pristine that it looks restored, but when you look closely you can tell that it isn't. No restoration can capture the aura that an original truck provides. As it turns out, this truck only has about 2,000 miles. Let me spell that out: two-thousand miles. And it looks it. Original paint. Original seat. I think these might even be the original tires. Even with that inline six under the hood, no heater or radio, and few creature comforts, this thing is perfect as is. What a truck.

Here’s one that maybe had a little more work done to it. It’s a ’77 Chevy Van that was christened as “Hard Kandy,” which may or may not have some kind of lewd connotation, but definitely describes the color of the metallic red paint. Every outrageous technique ever used on a ‘70s shorty van was implemented here. Inside, we’re looking at diamond-tufted velour, thick shag carpeting, and acres of soft, flowing white fur. Outside, you’ve got the Cragar mag wheels, side pipes, bubble window, and fender flares. Custom panel paint and pinstriping add to the very strong effect. No detail was overlooked here—this rig was gloriously ridiculous.

This ’68 Blazer is a pretty one from the restomod school of thought. You can’t beat lush black paint wrapped around a blood-red interior. Cross-drilled Baer brakes are dramatically outlined by redline tires. And the modern power plant is dressed like a vintage piece. I love the interior, with houndstooth red inserts accenting original-style bucket seats. I like the way this was done overall, because even though everything is new, every detail at least nods to the past. I’m sure there’s a roof stashed somewhere, because you wouldn’t need that air conditioning with a cockpit as wide open as this is. The ’71 Monte Carlo hood ornament is also a nice touch.

In 2018, the Hover Motor Company truck took home an award for “best survivor.” Here’s the truck that knocked it off the podium in ’19. This Jet Black ’60 Apache short-bed was loaded with original goodness. This was a true Custom Cab, with all kinds of “luxury” features. It also had all its chrome trim, which is extremely hard-to-find and very pricey to replace. The biggest deviation from stock is that the original 235-c.i. engine was rebuilt or maybe replaced with a later orange-painted engine, where originally it would have been a blue-grey. It also had a modern radiator, which, if you experienced how hot out it was, probably came in handy. It was fitted with a set of bias-ply tires, which means they were going for that original look even if it cost a bit of drivability. This truck was just a great time capsule.

Jumping back 10-years, here’s a 1950 3100 Series short bed. The windshield placard described it as “original,” but I think that statement is similar to saying the Johnny Rockets in the mall is an authentic ‘50s diner. Clearly this truck is restored, and they took some liberties with the color choices on the interior and under the hood. They did make everything very pretty, though, and the work is of extreme high-quality. Steve Weatherford is the owner’s name, and the “Weatherford Farms” wooden sideboards were a nice touch. Chevy produced these “Advanced Design” trucks from late-1947 to early-1955. That’s a long time, but they’re so popular, it’s hard to find a nice stock-style example like this. Anyone would be happy to walk out in their garage and see a sharp little truck like this.

If you think the Smokey and the Bandit-style Trans Ams were the only cool black and gold vehicles from General Motors in the 1970s, you’ve never seen a “Gentleman Jim” GMC pickup. They only made 1,000 of these for the 1975 model year, and they were fancy. Not only did they have all those shiny decals and gold trim, but they came with sporty bucket seats and rich wood trim. I remember them from back in the day, but they were few-and-far between. This one wasn’t perfect. The box was used like a truck box is supposed to be used. It had some old paintwork done, because it was hard to maintain one of these ‘70s trucks without showing some scars and rust. But someone has been loving on it for a long time, because it’s still here and still looking good.

If you want to see lots of pictures of the 9th-Annual Southeastern Chevy/GMC Truck Nationals, I’ve got you covered. I managed to take 933 of them before I drowned in my own sweat. Check out all the pictures by clicking this link.

3 comments:

  1. Great Coverage. Thank you Craig!

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  2. That '71 Chevy is beautiful and to know that it is all original makes it even better. Thanks for the article Craig.

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