Gassers had just been called...
Gassers had just been called to the staging lanes at Beech Bend Raceway when we photographed this pair of Willys coupes. Ron Doran's Ferdinand is followed by the Airoso Brothers car, owned by Ron Normann.
At the northeast edge of town, Riverview Drive changes its name to Beech Bend Road. When the residential and business districts of Bowling Green, Kentucky, disappear in the rearview mirror, you've got about three more miles of rural two-lane. Eventually the yellow line disappears and you're on an tree-lined country road with no outlet. At the end of that road, it's 1965.
That's the way it's been since two years ago, when Goodguys chose this site for its first Nostalgia Nationals. Beech Bend Raceway Park has been there since the '40s when it was little more than a quarter-mile dirt oval. A dragstrip was built in the '60s, and hasn't changed much since then, which makes it the perfect setting for a mid-October gathering of cars.
The second Nostalgia Nationals was a showcase of the region's coolest hot rods, customs, and classic trucks. That includes low-buck, homebuilt iron as well as big-budget pro-built show stoppers. The expansive locale gave participants the option of hanging out on the hills away from the crowds, or cruising down to the flats in the middle of the action, among the commercial vendors and the various Goodguys corrals, designated for such categories as Ya Gotta Drive 'Em, Homebuilt Heaven, Mighty Muscle, Trick Truck Corral, and Suede & Chrome. The Nostalgia Nats was also one of the final stops for us on our Turtle Wax STREET RODDER Top 100 tour. You'll see the 10 cars we selected at this event as soon as you turn the page.
Kentucky can be warm or cold this time of year. This time it was see-your-breath cold, but that didn't stop anyone from having a blast at Beech Bend. Drag racers especially like low temperatures, and the Nostalgia Nationals-part of Goodguys' Vintage Drag Racing program-featured quarter-mile competition during all three days of the show. The pits were filled with Gassers, Altereds, hot rods, front-engine Top Fuelers, and nostalgia Funny Cars, and the stands were filled with old and new fans eager to watch 'em run. The facility's old-time setting makes this the perfect location for running these cars, and the crisp air keeps their engines happy.
The cold weather didn't keep...
The cold weather didn't keep David Trent (with Jacquelyn riding shotgun) from cruising in this cool '23 T, which Trent purchased two weeks earlier. The 327 is dressed up with a polished finned air cleaner and valve covers. The suicide frontend, Radir wheels, and pearl yellow paint set it apart.
By Sunday evening, it was time to leave the Nostalgia Nats and return to the 21st century. We left with these photos, a warm Goodguys sweatshirt, and a lot of memories from a great weekend of cruising and racing. This year's Goodguys event schedule has already been posted at www.good-guys.com, and we know that when October rolls around and the Nostalgia Nationals comes back to Bowling Green, 1965 will be waiting for us out there at the end of Beech Bend Road.
Turtle Wax Tech Tips
Car Care Tip: Microfiber Towels
Microfiber towels are lint-free materials that are great for most automotive cleaning chores. Don't wash used microfiber towels with cotton towels or clothes. Cotton lint will adhere to the microfiber material and decrease their functionality. Wash microfiber cloths separately. Always rinse microfibers two times and line dry. Tumble drying microfibers in the family dryer is not recommended. Fabric softener residue in the dryer drum may cling to the microfiber cloth. Fabric softener will cause microfiber cloths to streak and smear.
They are great for cleaning automotive glass. Always use a new microfiber cloth for cleaning glass with most automotive glass cleaners. Results are streak-free glass.
Ed Gromer / Centerville, OH / '27 Ford roadster
An old racer himself, Gromer built this T as his version of a track roadster. The Old Dog Street Rod body has been lengthened, and is powered by a 2.3L Ford four-cylinder loaded with Esslinger performance parts, including head, intake, and lower end parts. It's fed by a pair of Weber carbs. The seats are custom aluminum buckets.
Scott & Annette Helmbeck / Sherwood, AR / '51 Mercury wagon
There is a remarkable amount of custom work on this Arkansas woodie wagon, from the '54 Chevy grille teeth and frenched headlights to the Buick ports and Americans with '51 Merc caps. The engine is a Ford 351W. Dodge Intrepid buckets are upholstered in leather with basket-weave suede. The floral print headliner, love it or don't love it, is definitely novel.