Gassers had just been called to the staging lanes at Beech Bend Raceway when we photograph
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 David Trent (with Jacquelyn riding shotgun) from cruising in
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 awarded, appropriately, to Ed Weidekamp's 303-powered chopped '5
Bill Holt did everything but the stitching on his '32 roadster, which combines old and new
Our favorite '53 Dodge Meadowbrook two-door wagon of the entire event was RideTech's Low,
In California in the '60s, Ron Normann's "Hairy Hauler" Willys pickup was the "Lettuce Hau
A mountain of work went into this chopped '53 Stude custom, owned by Chuck and Carol Herb,
In addition to being awarded Wonderful Woodie at Bowling Green, Brian Vanzant's chopped an
It took two cars: a '49 four-door and a '48 Sedanette rust bucket, to make one '48 Caddy s
T.K. James' red-all-over contemporary '34 three-window coupe, from Sikeston, Missouri, rid
Completing John Schauberger's copper '32 coupe took 10 years and a couple different builde
With Dayton wires, piecrust rubber, and Mexican blanket interior, Rodney Payne's '32 five-
We photographed Dustin Colclasure's '27 T Modified in the award-winner parade on Sunday. W
The Buick Nailhead was dropped into Gene and Carol Pearson's '50 Ford two-door back in the
Ferdinand leaving the starting line during Sunday eliminations. Owner/driver Ron Doran sai
All Ford and all owner-built describes Dave and Vicki Mangon's just-finished, original-bod
The inspiration for Jimmy Hervalin's in-progress '30 Ford pickup came from the Keith Weesn
Helter Skelter, David Donaldson's '48 Thames panel from Washington, Indiana, competed in B
Here's a better look at Mark Hendrickson's two-tone Deuce three-window, out of Boonville,
Elden Miller's Black Widow '33 Willys from Lawrenceburg, Indiana, is popular and successfu
Not much cash, but a lot of imagination went into Jim Roepke's '31 lowboy. In converting i
Another Geezer Gasser representative was Bill Caughron's '48 Anglia from Louisville, Kentu
We keep predicting that Fad Ts are on the verge of a big comeback, and Leigh Anne Lemke sh