Before we name who has won the Street Rod of the Year title, let's first have a quick history lesson. The 2014 car show season will mark the 20th anniversary of the magazine's Top 100 awards program. But back in 1995, it was called STREET RODDER's TOP 10, as magazine staffers picked 10 cars from seven Goodguys events for a total of 70 cars for the whole year.
The parameters of the award allowed the magazine editors to find cars from anywhere on an event's show grounds (not just from a specialized parking area) and every/any type of build was on the table. As one-time staffer Jim Rizzo described his standards for the cars he awarded, it was "Whatever makes me go: 'Wow!'" Each staffer's personality certainly does come through with their picks and, over the past couple of decades, a wide range of vehicles has been chosen. But one thing that hasn't changed in all that time is each recipient receives a jacket embroidered with the program's logo.
After the program's first year, no overall winner was picked. But that way of thinking ended at the end of the second year when Eric Peratt was named the overall winner with his red 1934 Chevy woodie. And, because the magazine hadn't picked a winner from the first year, its editor at the time, Tom Vogele, decided the first-year recipients shouldn't be left out, and went back and chose Paul and Carol Gerritsen's "Delaware Destroyer" 1937 Ford coupe as the overall winner from the 1995 season. But it wasn't until Ken Bentz's winning entry in 1998 before the title of Street Rod of the Year was bestowed.
The program rolled on for a few more years until 2007 when three major changes happened: it was expanded to include 10 events (for a total of 100 cars), a name change to Top 100, and Turtle Wax came on board as a presenting sponsor. It was also the first time the magazine allowed online voting to determine the winner, and Doug White won the magazine's Street Rod of the Year with his blue 1933 Ford three-window.
The online voting existed for only three years (2007-09) as the editors returned to choosing the winner when they picked Jimmy Hervatin's handbuilt aluminum pickup truck as the top car for 2010.
Also in 2010 Painless Performance Products became the presenting sponsor of the program and, in 2012, the Street Rod of the Year title went to a post-1948 vehicle for the first time: Frank Tetro's black 1955 Ford Sunliner.
The locations of the events where the awards are handed out has changed and expanded over the years, too, and have recently included Louisville, Bowling Green, Pleasanton, Syracuse, Columbus, Detroit, Pigeon Forge, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast—a truly diverse pool of hot rod hot spots.
The following nine cars (along with the 2014 winner, Doyle Thomas' 1964 Fairlane) are the ones the magazine editors wanted to give special attention to this year and, as you will see, they certainly cover a wide spectrum of what hot rodding is all about!