Though there has been a lot of talk recently about how some car shows exclude cars from the '50s and '60s, the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association has been practicing equality for all rodders for many years. The organization, founded in 1983, has held their national event in Columbus, Ohio, for the past 12 years, and it seems to keep getting bigger and better.

The show, sponsored by PPG, attracts more than 6,400 cars and many of the nation's top car builders too. There is so much quality at this one location that, suffice it to say if you like hot rods, this should be one of the first on a list of shows you would want to plan and attend.

Located at the sprawling Ohio Expo Center (home of the Ohio State Fair, which has been around since 1850!), the PPG Nationals brings more than 90,000 people through the gates over a three-day weekend. Long ago Goodguys figured out people like to do things while at their event, so there are literally dozens of specialty parking areas and seminars to go alongside the hundreds of vendor booths hawking the latest in hot rod gear.

The Goodguys also honor those who have given back to the rodding community. "Land Speed" Louise Noeth, renowned author (Bonneville: The Fastest Place on Earth), historian, racer (having driven a 250-mph jet dragster), and columnist (her monthly article can be found in the Goodguys Goodtimes Gazette) was named '09 Goodguys Woman of the Year at the 12th PPG Nationals. Before accepting the award in front of a packed house during the event awards ceremony, Noeth also gave a quick seminar to an appreciative crowd on the history of land speed racing. Presented annually in honor of the late Karen Bloechl (who was instrumental in the formative years of the Goodguys Association) and recognizing a female industry leader who serves to preserve the integrity and growth of the hot rodding industry, past Goodguys Woman of the Year recipients include Ginny Lobeck (1992), Sue Brizio (1993), DeEtte Crow (1996), Jane Callison (1997), Jeanette Ladina (2004), and many others.

One of the main reasons this event attracts the high-quality vehicles it does are the special awards that are handed out. Jesse Greening and Zane Cullen, hot rod shop owners and both former Goodguys Trendsetter award winners, were on hand to select the 16 coveted Builder's Choice awards (among the more respected prizes given out in this hobby). STREET RODDER also continued with the magazine's Turtle Wax Top 100 program, where 10 vehicles from this show and 90 other vehicles from nine other shows compete for STREET RODDER's Street Rod of the Year (check www.streetrodderweb.com for more on the program).

Goodguys also selects their Street Rod of the Year, Street Machine of the Year, Muscle Car of the Year, and Truck of the Year at this show, and everyone was impressed with the level of build quality that could be found in each car, especially in the Street Machine category. Even some of the country's most well-known hot rod builders were heard saying they were impressed with the incredible lengths these builders went to in creating these rides. In the street rod category, the Alan Johnson-built B-400, owned by Doug Cooper, which earlier in the year won the prestigious Don Ridler Memorial Award at the Detroit Autorama, took top honors and the title of Goodguys Street Rod of the Year. It's the second time the 38-year-old builder has built the top street rod (the last time was in Pleasanton in 1997). Johnson also built the '07 Street Machine of the Year for Georgia-native Bob Johnson.

A trip through the Market Place building would enlighten you as to what was new in the hot rod world but, if new parts aren't your thing, a trip through the swap meet area would probably cure your ills. Pickup trucks from the '40s through the '60s, which have always been popular with the hot rod crowd, dominated the cars-for-sale area, but you could still pick up a quick-change rear or a Model A hood in the swap for not much money.

On Saturday, typically the busiest day of the three for vendors and spectators alike, one of the state's classic thunder-and-lightning storms rolled in for a few hours to provide a rather loud distraction to the festivities. But after a few hours it moved on and folks went back to shining their rides and cruising the grounds. It didn't faze the Goodguys crew, as they know what all the rodders know: It'll pass and they'll get on with what everyone came for-hanging out at one of the best hot rod events in the country!

Turtle Wax presents
Street Rodder Top 100

Jim Lopochonsky, Greenville, Pennsylvania / '30 Ford coupe
In a time where many Model A coupes look the same, Jim Lopochonsky stepped outside the box and created something new. Kustom elements crept into his build, especially in the interior (done by the owner) where a waterfall console drops down between the bucket seats and up to the dash, and where hospital-style wired glass was used throughout the five-window (except the windshield). Jim's wife, Diana, painted the car.

Billy Morgan, Jefferson City, Tennessee / '62 Chevy Impala
Built at Hudson's Rod and Customs in Straw Plains, Tennessee, Billy Morgan's contemporary '62 Chevy Impala is innovative, especially in the interior, where burnt and perforated sheetmetal is used (where the black leather isn't) to highlight the doors and floor. Custom-painted Coddington wheels, a two-tone green 'n' black paintjob, and an on-the-ground stance help make this a looker.

Cosmo Walker, Chesapeake, Virginia / '32 Ford convertible
Reaching back to a simpler time, Cosmo Walker dressed his '32 with a 300-horse Flathead, Wheel Vintiques wires, Diamond Back tires, and a pleated interior, but then wrapped it in an American Speed convertible body, which the casual observer doesn't even notice.

Dan Fuller, Elyria, Ohio / '34 Ford roadster
Starting with a Lobeck chassis, Dan gathered up parts from Steve's Auto Restoration to build his roadster, and bought skins from Walden's Hot Rod Shop to reskin his own doors. A '50 Ford dash, '37 Ford truck grille, '36 Ford artillery wheels, and a '50 Ford Flathead make up some of the other parts to this classy hot rod.


Jeff Eischen, Plain City, Ohio / '32 Ford roadster pickup
Jeff Eischen's last two vehicles have been featured over the past few years in Street Rodder, and you'll see more on his '32 roadster pickup soon too. With an attention to detail and the ability to not go too far with his custom fabrication, there were tons to take in with his Brookville-based ride, which was powered by a 327 Chevy.

Todd Kindler, Baltic, Ohio / '32 Ford roadster
The design of this roadster centers on war-era aviation theme, from the Eagle Squadron nose art on the cowl to the twin ammo boxes in the trunk (one is a battery box), or from the Frank Wallic-built, riveted aluminum bomber seat to the yellow paint on the tips of the fan (propeller) blades-it's all got a good look to it.


Don Floyd, Shelbyville, Kentucky / '36 Ford four-door convertible
Don Floyd's '36 Ford was recently gone through (he's owned the ride for several years), which included a new interior (designed by Eric Brockmeyer) from Warren Skinnermowe and big 17- and 20-inch wheels. The convertible four-door gets its go from an LT4 backed to a 700R trans.

Bill Croming, Grafton, Ohio / '40 Ford coupe
Having owned this car since 1972, Bill Croming has seen his coupe in several incarnations, but he hit a high water mark this time. He turned to Squeeg's Kustom for the build, which included a 500-horse 402 IR Rousch engine backed to a Richmond six-speed trans, an interior from Gabe Lopez, plating by Jon Wright's Custom Chrome and PPG paint applied by Doug Jerger.

Ed Britz, Delmont, Pennsylvania / '55 DeSoto Fireflite hardtop
Built by the owner, Ed Britz's DeSoto Fireflite takes "The Forward Look" the company was promoting in 1955 and moves it a few steps farther. The top was chopped 3 inches, and a 528 Hemi (with Indy cylinder heads) provides more than enough "oomph" to get the big car down the road. A leather interior and 17-inch Intro wheels round out the package.

Bill Steele, Oakdale, Pennsylvania / '30 Ford coupe
Slightly channeled and with a 4-inch chop, Bill Steele's '30 Ford coupe is a standout in a field of Model A coupes. Power comes from a '55 331 Hemi topped with four Stromberg 97s, and the rod rolls on artillery spotlight wheels. A '38 Dodge dash was modified to fit, and the steering wheel comes from a '57 Lone Star boat.

Turtle Wax Tech Tips
Wax On, Winter Off:
To keep your vehicle cleaner for longer during winter months, make sure to give your car a thorough wash and wax before the cold weather hits. Wax will help prevent oxidation from dulling and damaging your vehicle's exterior. For best results, first use a product that will deep clean your vehicle's exterior and remove any stubborn dirt and stains. Then select a long-lasting car wax, such as ICE Paste Polish, that can be applied to the entire exterior, including all metal, plastic, and rubber surfaces, and will provide a protective barrier against road salt, snow, and other inclement conditions.

Prepare the Interior: Winter elements can also cause damage to the inside of your car. To prevent tracked-in mud, slush, and snow from staining your interior, prep your vehicle with protective floor mats and clean them with an interior product, such as ICE Total Interior Care, which leaves behind a protective barrier against stains. Don't forget to remove any water-based products, which can freeze and crack during winter, as well as any unnecessary items that can weigh down your car and lower your fuel efficiency.

Handy Tips
Q:
There are two different bellhousing sizes for C4 transmissions that mate to small-block Fords. How do you identify a large or small bellhousing C4 and what parts do you need for each?
A: Here's a good tech tip for determining what bellhousing C4 you have and what flexplate and index plate you need. To determine if you need a 157 tooth or 164 tooth flexplate measure center to center from the top starter hole to the block mounting hole above it.

1.5 inch = 157 tooth flexplate
1.75 inch = 164 tooth flexplate

Ford discontinued carrying many of the starter index plates a few years back but Total Performance in Clinton Township, Michigan, has started cutting them out for the various applications. They carry pretty much any Ford starter index plate (586) 468-3710.

Q: What is the small-block Ford firing order and what is the cylinder numbering?
A: All factory 351Ws are 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
All HO 302s are 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
Non-HO 302s are 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8

The camshaft dictates firing order. You can install either firing order cam in a 302 or 351W. The best way to check if you are not sure of the firing order is to bring the No. 1 cylinder up on the compression stroke. Then with the help of another person, see what cylinder builds compression next.

If it is No. 3, it's the HO302/351W firing order. If It's No. 5, it's the non-HO firing order.

The cylinders are numbered 1 through 4 righthand side (passenger side) front to back; 5 through 8 left hand side (driver side) front to back.

The best we can do on knowing why Ford made this change is: The reason for the change in firing order from 302 to 351W was to reduce the loading of number 1 main journal that occurs when the front cylinder on each bank fires in sequence.

Tom Wahl, Lakerville, Minnesota / '62 Ford Fairlane 500
Tom's cool white Fairlane is something of a sleeper. Built using a 23,000-original-mile car, you couldn't guess there was a 347 Ford V-8 lurking under the hood! With 540 hp backed to a four-speed and 9-inch rear, this car would definitely surprise most folks at the traffic light! The '62 rolls on 18- and 20-inch Schott wheels.

Jim Talaga, Plainfield, Illinois / '47 Ford Sportsman convertible
Dave Martin created the mahogany and maple wood pieces on Jim's convertible, which contrast the maroon paintjob from Ron Kral's Shop in Lockport, Illinois. Tim O'Connell of O'Connell Specialties gets the credit for building the car while the interior and the top came from Schober's Custom Hot Rod Interiors in Yorkville, Illinois. Just as nice underhood, Jim's ride is powered by a '95 Lincoln 4.6L engine backed to an AODE trans.

Harry Hartkemeyer, Cincinnati, Ohio / '47 Mercury convertible
Though he's owned the car for the last seven years, Harry spent four years working on it. Under the hood and smoothie engine cover is an '01 Ford 4.6L V-8. Top up or down, the Merc 'vert looks stylish either way.

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