Call it what you will; Paris of the Plains or the Barbecue Capitol of the World, Kansas City means many things to many people. But for hot rodders, there is only one thing that comes to mind, and that's when the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association comes to town.
The Goodguys have brought their special brand of hot rodding to the Kansas City area for eight years running and they set up shop in the Kansas Speedway facility, a 1.5-mile tri-oval used for everything from the Indy Racing League to various NASCAR races.
When the Goodguys take it over, the speedway still gets used as a racing facility because all day long you can go for 180-mph rides around the track in a NASCAR-type race car. A little too fast for some, you can still test your nerve on the Street Challenge Auto Cross Course-a specially designed twisty, curvy road course marked off by orange cones on an asphalt parking lot where drivers of their own cars compete against the clock for the fastest time. This facet of the Goodguys shows is starting to draw a crowd and we can see where this type of competition could become very popular.
As with most Goodguys shows, there is an area set up for swap meet (and the Kansas event has a pretty good one) plus both indoor and outdoor displays for hot rod aftermarket parts manufacturers and dealers. The indoor vendors were the lucky ones this year as Mother Nature did come and visit the speedway during the event twice, and the Goodguys staff hunkered around the live Doppler radar in the show office to see what the weather was going to deliver and when.
But the crowd who attends this show (mostly locals from Kansas, but a surprising amount of folks from Colorado too) are used to weather anomalies, and they took it all in stride. As many of them can attest, rain won't melt these cars, so when it stopped they just wiped it down, opened the hood, and went on their way.
The event is open to cars and trucks up to 1972, and finalists for the Goodguys' Muscle Car of the Year, Custom Rod of the Year, Muscle Machine of the Year, and Truck of the Year are all picked at this event.
Dave Lane, from FastLane Hot Rods, was chosen by Goodguys to head up their Builder's Choice Awards at this event, and Kansas was also the site for the 7th of 10 installments of the Turtle Wax/STREET RODDER Top 100 program, where 10 lucky owners and their cars are picked to be included in a contest for STREET RODDER's Online Street Rod of the Year plus a grand prize of a new Model A chassis from Total Cost Involved Engineering. For more on the contest visit www.streetrodderweb.com.
All in all, it's not a bad way to spend a couple of days-hanging out with old friends, making new ones, looking at a few thousand cool cars, scouring the swap meet-who could ask for a better weekend?
Turtle Wax Tech Tips
CAR CARE TIP: Car Washing
1) Never wash a car finish and the wheels with the same wash solution! Wheels and tires attract the most abrasive dirt on the road, especially if you are a heavy user of tire shine products. Always use separate sponges, mitts, and wash water!
2) Clean wheels and tires first. Trigger-type spray tire cleaners and wheel cleaners contain powerful chemistry that removes the heaviest soils found on a typical car. By cleaning these areas first, the hardest job is out of the way, and any wheel and tire cleaner "overspray" can be rinsed off the vehicle during the remaining car wash process.
Linda & Rusty Jackson / Carl Junction, MO / '32 Ford Highboy Roadster
Rusty Jackson, from Odd Rod Creations, finished up this roadster for his mom, Linda, which his father, Roger, had started before he succumbed to cancer. A late-model 5.7L Hemi and five-speed was added to the chassis, and an Odd Rod power steering system directs the action. The convertible body is from Dearborn Deuce, and all of the car's chrome came from Jon Wright's Custom Chrome.
Gary Meitner / Great Bend, KS / '32 Ford Highboy Roadster Pickup
Subtle would be the keyword when discussing Gary's roadster pickup, but there is a lot of extra work to get it to look this way. A 3-inch stretch in the hood coupled with a 2-inch cab stretch gives the right proportions along with a '40 Ford bed, which was cut down 28 inches. Wheel centers from a '38 Plymouth were added to 15- and 16-inch hoops for the wheels, and a 350 Chevy lurks under the hood.
Greg Mortland / East Alton, IL / '32 Ford Highboy Roadster
Though it looks like it has never left the comfy confines of a temperature-controlled garage, Greg and Lana Mortland have racked up tens of thousands of miles on their little hot rod. Many of those miles have included fenders on the car, but Greg recently chose to go without. The body is a Wescott, and the roadster uses a Cornhusker chassis, Wheel Vintiques wheels, and a Bob Top up top.
Dave Tallant / Kansas City, MO / '41 Willys coupe
You can't miss Dave's Willys when it's parked, but chances are you'd remember it when it lights up, too, as the coupe is equipped with a 468 big-block Chevy that pumps out a dyno'd 843 hp! Air Ride suspension, ET III wheels, and a black 'n' flame paintjob complete the package.
Bill Paul / Highland, IL / '32 Ford Tudor Highboy Sedan
Taking a styling cue from the November '82 cover of HOT ROD magazine that featured the Bearcat & Eastwood sedan, Bill Paul recreated the vehicle (with a few personal additions) with an ode to both Pete & Jakes and Super Bell. Paul's steel bodied rod gets its go from a 434-inch small-block Chevy.
Tom Wahl / Lakeville, MN / '62 Ford Fairlane 500
Some folks think this type of the car is the wave of the future for hot rodding. Starting with a 23,000-mile rust-free car, Tom added a 347-inch, 540-horse Ford motor backed to a Richmond four-speed trans. Big 18- and 20-inch Schott wheels are on each corner.
Roger Peterson / Littleton, CO / '37 Ford sedan
Remember years ago when no one liked '37 Fords? Well they weren't being built like Roger Peterson's sedan. A 383 stroker (built by the owner's son, Steve) gives the rod enough power, and the 18- and 20-inch Intro wheels, wrapped in Nitto rubber, gets it to the ground. The gray leather inside complements the metallic red and black exterior.
Bob Holt / Edwardsville, KS / '32 Ford highboy coupe
Bob wisely chose Roger Ward to build his five-window, as Roger is well known for building rods with a spot-on traditional look. The steel body, finished in an Arizona Beige paint scheme, features a leather interior and a '63 409 engine up under the hood.
Jimmy Hervatin / Warrenton, MO / '30 Ford channeled pickup
Even though some folks try and figure out what Jimmy modified on his '30 roadster pickup, they miss the big picture: he handcrafted the entire cab himself out of aluminum! He also crafted the steel bed, and channeled the cab 4 inches. The rod is powered by a 327 and transfers the horsepower to a Winters quick-change rearend.
Dave Jordan / Kaiser, MO / '34 Chevy coupe
Painted Cinnamon and Champagne, Dave's Chevy looks elegant as well as a full-fledged hot rod to boot. Rolling on Billet Specialties wheels, the coupe features an Ostrich interior and a blown 350 Chevy.
It seems real hot rodding...
It seems real hot rodding die hards like vintage Plymouths, and "Jones" from Independence, MO, owns a nice one.
There can't be a lot of '46...
There can't be a lot of '46 Plymouth convertibles out there, but this excellent example features a blown small-block under the hood.
With an inline-six drivetrain...
With an inline-six drivetrain taken out of a Jeep, Larry Swisher's '23 T didn't look like your typical T-bucket. The individual bucket seats were made from diamond plate aluminum.
It doesn't have to be a high-dollar...
It doesn't have to be a high-dollar ride to make people notice your car. Mike Johnston had a small group of people checking out his '54 Ford Mainline all day long.
Maybe it was the nicely detailed...
Maybe it was the nicely detailed straight-six under the hood that caught their eyes.
There were many post-'48 vehicles...
There were many post-'48 vehicles at this Goodguys show-seemingly more than the pre-'49 crowd. Stance is everything on Tom Ulrich's '61 Buick LeSabre, which was equipped with a 364 Nailhead engine.
Some of the entertainment...
Some of the entertainment at the KC show included how fast you could remove and then add five lug nuts to a wheel in a NASCAR-type setting. When we were there one fellow had it down to 6.84 seconds!
It seemed that there were...
It seemed that there were more cars on the infield of the Kansas Speedway from Colorado than cars from Kansas! J.D. Barker's '32 Vicky, from Littleton, CO, was sure nice, and you don't see a lot of Deuce Vickys around as much as you used to.
Wayne Copeland had his '47...
Wayne Copeland had his '47 Chevy Sedan Delivery up for sale, which is equipped with a 454. There is RideTech suspension front and rear to get it down on the ground, and American Salt Flat wheels on each corner.
Nick Kout's '53 Pontiac must...
Nick Kout's '53 Pontiac must be a decent driver-he made it in from Colorado Springs, CO.
Don't be fooled by the rusty...
Don't be fooled by the rusty finish (or the '60 Nixon Now! window stickers).
Mark Sowell's '49 Ford convertible...
Mark Sowell's '49 Ford convertible was picked for a STREET RODDER Top 100 award last year, so we couldn't pick it again this year, but that doesn't mean we don't like talking about his ride!
With an LS1 and 4L60E engine...
With an LS1 and 4L60E engine and trans combo under the hood and very nice tan interior, this Ford looked great.
Dave Lane of FastLane Rod...
Dave Lane of FastLane Rod Shop was picked as the expert to choose the Builder's Choice awards at this event. Dave also had a handful of his customer's cars on display-all of which have collected top awards and been recognized in various hot rod publications.
Even with the rain covering...
Even with the rain covering Don Beason's '54 Buick it still stood out in a crowd. Subtle custom touches (shaved door handles, frenched lights) helped the Century impress the locals, while we would have liked to have seen the 401 Nailhead under the hood.
There was lots of chrome on...
There was lots of chrome on this '54 Bel Air, and David Clark, from Raymore, MO, kept it on his Chevy rather than going with the de-chromed look.
G.W. Gillman's '28 Ford truck...
G.W. Gillman's '28 Ford truck was set up the right way. Chopped and channeled, the pickup, which is powered by a 283 backed to a six-speed trans, had just enough attitude to look cool without going overboard.
It looked like Tom Stark,...
It looked like Tom Stark, from Commerce City, CO, was sure having fun with his friends in his '55 Chevy wagon with his buddies (note the hands holding onto the door tops in this shot). And though the Street Challenge Auto Cross Course featured a lot of muscle cars and the like (Mustangs, Chargers, Camaros, and more) there were also a few hot rodders out there trying not to kill any cones and record a good time.
Keith Bright, from Salina,...
Keith Bright, from Salina, KS, used his '58 Buick as an advertisement for his Bright Built Hot Rods business (which has been around for 30 years) and by the looks of things, it seems like they know what they're doin' in Salina.
There were three generations...
There were three generations of hot rodders at work here. Check out Weston, Fred Gardner's grandson, in the specially prepped wagon made just for him that matches Fred's '56 Ford pickup. Now all Weston needs is a mini Y-block for his ride and he'd be set!