Traditionally held the second weekend in September, the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association decided, for the first time in 17 years to move the East Coast Nationals back a few months. Looking for warmer temperatures, a fairer forecast, and longer daylight hours for one of the New York region's largest hot rod and custom car show prompted the move.

Held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York, approximately 100 miles to the North as the crow flies from NYC, the East Coast Nationals featured a spectacular array of pre-'72 hot rods and customs, and, oh yeah, muscle cars. Situated in arguably some of the most picturesque countryside in America, "Rhinebeck" as it's known to the locals, is one of the most laid back shows on the Goodguys' calendar. But don't let the low-key atmosphere fool you, for with over 2,000 cars and attendance levels near 50,000, the East Coast Nats definitely don't disappoint.

Hosted by the Hudson Valley Street Rods club, the event gets kicked off early on Thursday with a cruise that takes participants throughout the historic Hudson River Valley. Friday starts off mellow with a poker run put on by the Hudson River crew, then it's off to the fairgrounds to kick the weekend off with a little show and shine. Saturday, numerous areas of the grounds are sectioned off for various Goodguys special feature areas such as Homebuilt Heaven, Builder's Choice, and Trick Truck Corral. In the exhibition buildings were numerous vendors selling parts and swag as well as an indoor swap meet. Out in the back 40 near the special features area was a car corral where we saw a couple of projects that tempted us into bringing home. Fortunately, we were on hand to pick another 10 cars as finalists for the STREET RODDER/Turtle Wax Top 100 program, keeping us busy enough throughout the weekend to forget about any harebrained ideas of dragging anything back to California. Of course like all Goodguys events, djs and live doo-wop music kept the crowds entertained throughout the weekend.

Among the hundreds of awards given out by the Goodguys at this years event, Tony Feil deserves a special nod for being selected as a Goodguys Kustom of the Year Finalist. Tony was also selected by us as a Top 100 finalist, so congrats Tony!

With the number and quality of cars that meet every year in Rhinebeck from all corners of the North East and New England it's easy to see why the East Coast Nats have become the preeminent East Coast hot rodding event. And with the move from September to June looking like a permanent change, it's arguably the best time of year to fire up that jalopy and visit the Empire State.

Turtle Wax Tech Tips
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