Annual Goodguys Nostalgia Nationals - Where Time Stands Still
Second Annual Goodguys Nostalgia Nationals
From the February, 2010 issue of Street Rodder
By Tim Bernsau
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.
Mark Sundell / Waynesville, MO / '37 Chevy Pickup
A Cavalier race car tube chassis, built by Art Morrison, was fabricated to fit under this wild pickup, loaded with a Hilborn-injected LT1 small-block with Phase 6 heads. A custom grille, Headwinds bike headlights, widened rear fenders, relocated front fenders, and numerous other mods were added, along with a beautiful interior.
Chris Staneck / Waynesville, OH / '26 Ford roadster
There's not a lot of money in this hot rod, but a ton of hours. Except for the cowl top, the whole body of this track T roadster is handbuilt by the owner, as is the frame. The Ford Ranger four-cylinder mill is hooked to a five-speed. The front wheels were made by welding VW hoops to the spokes from a pair of '35 Ford wheels.
Larry Henderson / Waynesville, OH / '32 Ford roadster
Some cool components, like the distressed leather and vinyl upholstery and piecrust rubber on 16- and 18-inch wire rims, drew our attention to this traditional Deuce, built from a Brookville body and powered by a 385-horse 350 with Fast Burn heads. It rides on buggy springs with hairpins in front and ladder bars in back.
Gary Bennett / Newport, AR / '32 Ford coupe
Gary was thinking about red or black until a friend convinced him to go with this custom green, with a metallic gold and white tuck 'n' roll interior. The Chevy small-block features decoy Olds valve covers, six Strombergs, and Fenton headers that got the most attention. The five-window rolls on original 'rails beefed up with round tubing.
Jim and Cindy Getter / Sunbury, OH / '31 Chevy sedan
Aside from not being a Ford, close to 100 body modifications distinguish this Chevy two-door sedan. All the wood has been replaced with steeling tubing, and the engine compartment is filled with a 350 small-block. The Night Mist blue paint is contrasted by saddle-colored leather inside the car. The front end is an IFS setup from Heidts.
David Douglas / Murfreesboro, TN / '35 Chevy coupe
The steel-bodied coupe was David's 50th birthday present to himself and he spent the following three years building this Chevy. Marcel provided the 2-1/2-inch chop. All the original wood was removed, the doors open suicide-style, and Roger Burman handled assembly and the Viper red paint. A ZZ4 small-block and 700-R4 automatic move it down the road.
Gary and Debi Deason / Crawfordville, FL / '55 Chevy Gasser
The inspiration for this up-in-the-air Chevy was the '55 Gasser that Gary's dad raced in the '60s. This one was also once an "abused old Gasser," built at home by the Deasons and a few friends, and now doing duty on the highway. The powertrain combo is a Chevy 355 and Muncie four-speed. Future plans are to make it dragstrip legal.
Dan Tallant / Liberty, MO / '48 Chevy cabriolet
Dan Tallant gave the contemporary treatment to his '48 Ford cabrio, including Mercedes headlights, Mazda 626 seats, and a wraparound steel dash. The all-steel car was chopped 5 inches and sits low to the ground on a four-corner airbag suspension. There's a big-block Chevy for power. Tallant did all the work except the upholstery.
The Cool Custom prize was...
The Cool Custom prize was awarded, appropriately, to Ed Weidekamp's 303-powered chopped '53 Olds, wearing '56 Olds bumpers and headlights, '56 Packard taillights, '51 Merc skirts, and an '86 paintjob that still shines. "If I could buy paint today for what I paid for it then, I'd repaint it," Weidekamp says.
Bill Holt did everything but...
Bill Holt did everything but the stitching on his '32 roadster, which combines old and new styles. The drivetrain includes an LT1 Vortec, a TH350 trans, and Ford 9-inch rearend. The interior is commercial vinyl "because roadsters get wet," even with a Sid Chavers Bop Top. He's driven it 8,000 miles in the year and a half it's been finished.
Our favorite '53 Dodge Meadowbrook...
Our favorite '53 Dodge Meadowbrook two-door wagon of the entire event was RideTech's Low, Smooth, Cool Pick winner. Chuck Williamson's Arkansas-based custom features Cadillac Allante seats, Boyds five-spokes, and one-piece side glass. The drivetrain is Mopar: a 426 Hemi and 727 TorqueFlite trans.
In California in the '60s,...
In California in the '60s, Ron Normann's "Hairy Hauler" Willys pickup was the "Lettuce Hauler" Normann bought it four or five years ago and upgraded the whole thing, keeping the authentic period look, including the drilled straight axle and original American mags. With a blown stroker, small-block, and Kenny Hansing at the wheel, the Willys ran a 10.12 e.t. (its quickest to date) during the weekend.
A mountain of work went into...
A mountain of work went into this chopped '53 Stude custom, owned by Chuck and Carol Herb, including square tube 'rails, Mini Cooper headlights, a tilt-forward hood, welded bumpers, a custom interior, and lots of PPG Vibrant Orange Glow paint.
In addition to being awarded...
In addition to being awarded Wonderful Woodie at Bowling Green, Brian Vanzant's chopped and shaved '50 Chevy tin woodie is the Goodguys '09 Custom Rod of the Year. The 502 mill is Hilborn injected. The wagon was originally a four-door; modified doors and glass were part of the buildup, done by Brad Starks Rod & Custom.
It took two cars: a '49 four-door...
It took two cars: a '49 four-door and a '48 Sedanette rust bucket, to make one '48 Caddy sled, built by owner Brad Hutsler. With a 509 Merlin motor and a full 'cage, it's clocked low 8s in the eighth-mile. Hutsler also uses it for runs to the burger stand and trips around town. The hood emblem contains a forward-view camera.
T.K. James' red-all-over contemporary...
T.K. James' red-all-over contemporary '34 three-window coupe, from Sikeston, Missouri, rides on a completely homebuilt chassis, with a finely finished and plated undercarriage.
Completing John Schauberger's...
Completing John Schauberger's copper '32 coupe took 10 years and a couple different builders. The car, up from Henderson, Tennessee, started out with a Hastings fiberglass body and a 355ci ZZ4 crate motor. Jason Bullock finished the coupe and shot the paint.
With Dayton wires, piecrust...
With Dayton wires, piecrust rubber, and Mexican blanket interior, Rodney Payne's '32 five-window jumps right out of the history of hot rodding (and the pages of STREET RODDER's July '06 issue). The 283 Chevy is matched up with a '40 Ford trans. Rodney and his business partner Butch Boyette at High Gear Hot Rods built the car in collaboration with Dayton Wheels.
We photographed Dustin Colclasure's...
We photographed Dustin Colclasure's '27 T Modified in the award-winner parade on Sunday. We liked the skinny bias-plies, front quarter-elliptic suspension, drilled I-beam, and pinstripes on the louvers and rims. The judges did too, and awarded the Ford the Traditional Homebuilt Heaven prize.
The Buick Nailhead was dropped...
The Buick Nailhead was dropped into Gene and Carol Pearson's '50 Ford two-door back in the '60s when it was raced. The IROC blue paint came in 1987. A water pump was added right there at the show and painted on the spot to match the engine. Goodguys gave the car a Rodders Rep Pick.
Ferdinand leaving the starting...
Ferdinand leaving the starting line during Sunday eliminations. Owner/driver Ron Doran said the Willys Gasser has run 9.40 at 142 mph. Doran is a member of the Geezer Gassers Club, that promotes vintage drag racing at strips around the Midwest and follows the original racing tradition, using no electronics and running only on gasoline.
All Ford and all owner-built...
All Ford and all owner-built describes Dave and Vicki Mangon's just-finished, original-bodied '36, winner of the Homebuilt Heaven award. The seats are from a Ford Contour; the engine is a Ford 302. The paint is a combination of PPG colors: Pewter and GM Green. Wait a minute ... GM?!
The inspiration for Jimmy...
The inspiration for Jimmy Hervalin's in-progress '30 Ford pickup came from the Keith Weesner painting Emerald Tide, displayed in the windshield. The body is handbuilt from aluminum. Other highlights of the 327-powered pickup are the Lancer caps, custom headers, owner-made air cleaners, and 410 grille bullets.
Helter Skelter, David Donaldson's...
Helter Skelter, David Donaldson's '48 Thames panel from Washington, Indiana, competed in B/Gas eliminations on Sunday after qualifying the day before with a 10.346 at 91 mph.
Here's a better look at Mark...
Here's a better look at Mark Hendrickson's two-tone Deuce three-window, out of Boonville, Indiana. The body is from Rat's Glass and the Chevy 327 has been bored to 331 ci, with a pair of four-barrels, and a pair of handbuilt equal-length headers. The five-spokes are from Billet Specialties.
Elden Miller's Black Widow...
Elden Miller's Black Widow '33 Willys from Lawrenceburg, Indiana, is popular and successful on the vintage drag racing circuit, running B/Gas.
Not much cash, but a lot of...
Not much cash, but a lot of imagination went into Jim Roepke's '31 lowboy. In converting it from a coupe, Jim shortened the doors and extended the quarters. The flathead is a bored '41 59AB with dual 94s on an Offy intake. The buckets are homebuilt and padded with leather from some old recliners.
Another Geezer Gasser representative...
Another Geezer Gasser representative was Bill Caughron's '48 Anglia from Louisville, Kentucky, a spot-on reproduction of a mid-'60s race car that was wrecked. The original was a national record holder and U.S. Nats runner-up in 1964.
We keep predicting that Fad...
We keep predicting that Fad Ts are on the verge of a big comeback, and Leigh Anne Lemke showed up at Beech Bend to support that prediction with this cool blue '23 T bucket, channeled over polished rails and pulled along by a Chevy 350 with triple 2V carburetors.