The Goodguys PPG Nationals celebrated its 16th year at the Ohio Expo Center in July. It's not the oldest Goodguys event, but it has become the largest. For many of the 6,500 participants who came to Columbus with their street rods, customs, street machines, street cruisers, trucks, and classics—not to mention 100,000 spectators and that one guy with a bumper car—this show has become a favorite.

Even Mother Nature was in a good mood this year. After previous years of soaking rain or broiling heat, the 2013 Nats had plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures. Things were probably a little hotter on the east side of the grounds, where the AutoCross competition is always held. This has become one of the most popular special events of the PPG Nats, along with the Ahwooga.com Swap Meet and various hot rod tech seminars.

On Saturday, some of the cream-of-the-crop cars congregated in the Builder's Choice area where Dave Lane of FastLane Rod Shop and Dave Kindig from Kindig-It Design selected their favorites. Others gathered in Ya Gotta Drive 'Em, Homebuilt Heaven, YoungGuys, Deuce Doin's, and other Goodguys corrals. Later in the day, the Goodguys Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year was announced. The top honor went to Ron Cizek's "Checkered Past" 1940 Ford, built by Andy Leach at CAL Automotive Creations.

STREET RODDER picked 10 of our 2013 Painless Top 100 winners while we were there and managed to photograph a few other favorites in the meantime.

Columbus Autocross

Another event-within-an-event at the Goodguys PPG Nationals is the autocross, which is divided into four classes (Pro, Street Machine, Hot Rod, and Truck). Goodguys have this participant racing at many of their events, and the Nationals bring contestants out in force. Bret Voelkel's 1933 Ford is always a fast competitor at these events, running in the mid 30-second range at Columbus, but the fastest times at the track are usually reserved for the heavily modified 1968 Camaros or Mustangs. Still, it's fun to watch the owner of a big Chevy Suburban or a fiberglass Cobra wheel their way around the course, and many folks line up around the edge of the track each day to do just that.

BEST FORD IN A FORD
Butch Buford's 1939 Ford Convertible

Just the Facts
Year: 1939
Make: Ford
Model: Convertible
Owner: Butch Buford
State: Virginia

Visitors to the 1939 New York World's Fair were among the first to see such modern advancements as television, fluorescent lights, and a cigarette-smoking robot named Elektro the Moto-Man. One especially popular attraction was Ford's new convertible. Today, the 1939 Ford convertible is still considered one of the most beautiful cars produced by Ford.

For Butch Buford, it has always been his dream car. Finding a true original version isn't easy, but he managed to do it in 2000, when he found a rumble seat–equipped, Flathead-powered, two-time Great Race competitor.

He decided not to change the body's unsurpassed design, so much of the exterior of Buford's convertible (including bumpers, lights, and trim) is original and nothing is modified. The paint (a Nissan color called Merlot) was sprayed by Alfred Hamblin from Rocky Mount, Virginia.

Underneath is where the mods start to show up. A custom chassis from Vision Rod & Customs includes a Heidts Superide II independent front suspension and a Currie 9-inch rear with an aluminum housing. Wilwood 11-inch disc brakes were added in the front, with drums retained in the rear. BFGoodrich Radial T/As are mounted on Billet Specialties Legacy wheels. Buford says he's "old school" so he went for 14- and 15-inch wheels.

The late-Kevin Hawkins of Salem, Virginia, upholstered and updated the interior. Classic Instruments gauges fill the original holes in the stock dash, with Vintage Air controls and vents in a lower dash. A Juliano's wheel was mounted on a Flaming River column. Tunes come from a Kenwood sound system.

Being a Ford guy, Buford had to have Blue Oval power in the 1939, and a 351 crate engine from Ford Racing fits the bill. It's dressed up with a Bitchin air cleaner, Billet Specialties Tru Trac serpentine system, and lots of chrome from Advanced Plating. Transmission is a five-speed TREMEC.

Don't let the show car looks fool you. The 13,967 on the odometer represents real miles, including the most recent 300 from Dublin, Virginia, to the Goodguys Nats in Columbus—a trip Buford has made several times.

STREET RODDER Magazine's Best Ford in a Ford presented by Ford Racing.

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