The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association – How It All Got Started

Goodguys is a way of life. Where else can you see some of the country’s baddest builds, meet your favorite suspension or aftermarket superhero, take a hot lap on the autocross course, and grab a corn dog? Chances are you can’t unless you’re headed to Goodguys.

If your’re a die-hard hot rodder, enthusiast, weekend wrencher or high-end custom car builder, there’s almost no doubt you’ve heard of the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association. There’s good reason for that, too, considering their event history dates back to 1983 when Gary and Marliyn Meadors of Alamo, California founded Goodguys. From there, the duo held their first ever, one day “Get-Together,” held in March of that year at the Pleasanton Fairgrounds in Northern California.

Compared with their present events, which typically draw about 30,000 to 40,000 attendees, the 400 cars for that first year wasn’t record breaking. However, it proved that there was a market for attracting car enthusiasts of all makes and models to one location to celebrate the life of beautiful rods and muscle cars.

To this day, the longest running Goodguys event is the “All American Get Together,” which is celebrating their 30th Anniversary. What makes this event so special, according to John Drummond, Director of Communications for Goodguys Rod & Custom, is that it’s, “available to all makes and models of American powered cars and even trucks, too. It’s one of our top attended events of the year.”

Drummond was also quick to note that, “The Pacific Northwest Nationals” in Washington is their second longest running event in Goodguys history; celebrating twenty five long years of rods, customs, and muscle cars. With that, Drummond dropped some knowledge on the Goodguys’ PPG Nationals in Columbus, OH event, which draws 7,000 vehicles and 100,000 people to the show. You’re reading that correctly, we said, 100,000 people.

Hot rods and custom cruisers are the staple of many Goodguys events.

Goodguys’ first 1983 “Get-Together“event set the stage for much of their success, blossoming into twenty separate, highly-dynamic automotive events throughout the year all across the country for 2012. From two-day affairs to extravagant three and four day events, attracting over 100,000 auto enthusiasts, Goodguys spreads out their annual events throughout the country. From the west coast to the east coast, and everywhere in between you’re sure to find a Goodguys event in your hometown or nearby.

Staying Connected –  Get Involved

Behind the scenes, Goodguys is hard at work staying connected with the industry. Their reign is felt throughout each event and every one is planned perfectly every year with a seamless transition. How does Goodguys stay connected? Well, each event has a focused eye on the many manufactures, which help shape and play a role in the success of the event. Companies like Speedway, Gearstar, Powermaster, Billet Specialties, RideTech, Jet-Hot, and Detroit Speed participate in the manufacture midway. Think of it as your chance to get in on all the latest aftermarket goodies, parts, and components from your favorite vendor.

Goodguys also plays a key role in the Hot Rod Industry Alliance; which is a council aligned with SEMA. In short, the alliance guarantees and speaks for the muscle car and hot rod industry; helping to focus the overall vision of Goodguys. What’s more, Goodguys also holds tech seminars at select events and even develops its own blend of tech articles through their Goodguys Gazette, and through manufacture spotlights.

Staying connected for Goodguys is also always adapting and changing like a seasoned athlete. Goodguys is taking huge strides toward the digital world. Goodguys’ aggressive stance is prevalent throughout their newly revamped website which just launched.

Once on the Goodguys website, it’s there you’ll be able to search for locations of an upcoming event, its date and time, as well as find out specific details on registration, and even where to pick up a T-shirt. It really couldn’t be any easier. What’s more, Goodguys also features more than individual events on their website.

Since Goodguys has taken a larger, digital role online, curious gearheads can also search for upcoming autocross events, shop in their “online swap meet,” and even stay connected through the Goodguys Facebook page. “This [online] is where a lot of gearheads are these days. While our printed Gazette is a work of art and a time honored tradition, getting our message out digitally allows Goodguys to branch out. It wasn’t so long ago that the Gazette used to be the only avenue for event information and communication with our association members, now its become one of many” said Drummond.

You're bound to see something you like at any number of Goodguys events in your area.

Staying connected with Goodguys is easier than you think. Not internet savy? No worries. Goodguys has made sure to cater towards whichever brand of media you desire. If you weren’t aware, Goodguys also produces the Goodguys Gazette; a monthly full-color issue packed with all of the latest Goodguys events around the country. As a Goodguys member, you’ll receive a full years subscription as well as exclusive members-only discount offers for tickets, merchandise, and car registrations. You’ll also receive a personalized membership card as well as a members-only decal.

The Goodguys Newsletter is also a great way to stay connected with Goodguys. It’s easy, too, and only involves signing up online with your email address. Better yet, its completely free and you’ll get an update on the latest happenings with Goodguys once a month.

What’s In Store For 2012 – Goodguys Autocross And Super Sunday Events

To get an inside perspective on the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, we got a hold of John Drummond. Not only is he our inside guy, he’s also spent 22  years with Goodguys.

From event to event, across the country, Drummond is there. Drummond directed us on where Goodguys came from, current events, and where they’re headed with this years line of events.

Of course, as times change, and as their demographic grows and evolves, Goodguys is always reinventing themselves and adapting to new changes in the industry. Part of this involves creating a more modern approach to the traditional car show.

What does that mean? Well, just like parking your freshly waxed ride was and still is the traditional method for showing off your whip to the masses, the Goodguys autocross and Super Sundays, too, allow for the same sort of braggadocios involvement. Goodguys has streamlined their foundation with a modern approach, allowing participants to flog their rides on the autocross course by letting it all hang out.

The autocross course is free for registered participants. It's a great way to see these cars in action.

With some, select events across the country facilitating the autocross course, it’s a perfect way to get some laps in, in a safe environment. C’mon, let’s see what that car was meant to do – Drive! Better yet, the autocross is free as long as you’re a registered participant. Just head over to get your vehicle tech’d and certified at the event. It’s that easy.

According to Drummond, “The autocross events have added a huge excitement factor to the point where the shows are much more involved and invigorating. The autocross appeals to all generations. I mean, who doesn’t like seeing an old classic ripping around an empty parking lot?” What’s more, the autocross events have aided in their other new approach for the Goodguys events with some select Goodguys events showcasing Super Sundays. “With the influx of high-performance muscle cars, this scene (autocross) has played right into the Super Sundays and has played a large contribution to the shows as a whole.” stated, Drummond.

During past events, stagnant cars would suffice. However, now, our members want to see these cars strut their stuff. Drummond went on, “People want to see these cars used, and thrashed and see what they were built for.” The autocross events and Super Sunday events have injected a lot of life into the shows, and there are plans in place to continue and expand the autocross events in the future.

If you’re not familiar with the Super Sunday events, in short, it allows American powered cars of all years, makes, and models to participate in Goodguys events. This means if you’ve got a ’98 LS1 powered Z28 that you’ve been itching to get out and show off, either at the show or on the autocross course, you’re good to go! Currently, Goodguys is planning seventeen Super Sunday events through out the year at select Goodguys locations. To sum it up, all car-minded folks want to hang out with other like-minded individuals. The Goodguys Super Sunday’s really push for the younger crowds, the clubs, and the forums to enter and enjoy the festivities.

The initial roll out of Super Sunday events have opened the doors for additional vehicles, mostly for the younger generations. As Drummond puts it, Super Sundays are generating a greater pull to the younger audience out there who still appreciate a great vehicle, albeit late model.

Drummond added, “I believe our Goodguys Autocross program and our new ‘Super Sunday’ program (opening the events to late model American performance cars on Sundays) has a big role in bringing in new generations of roddersl.”

Get On The Course And Drive

Not sure which events will be showcasing an autocross event? Not to worry, we’ve got the Goodguys Autocross event schedule here. Just pick and choose which of the seventeen event dates work best. As long as you’re registered, you have the opportunity to throw your street rod, street machine and at selected events, late model vehicles through their paces. It gives owners a chance to test their driving skills and flaunt their rides.

Additionally, all participants will be timed and at the end of the event,Additionally, all participants will be timed and at the end of the event, each class winner will take home an award and gift certificates from sponsors. The prizes will be presented during the Sunday awards show..The prizes will be presented during the Sunday awards show.

Of course, all you’ll need are a set of standard issue seat belts and a valid drivers license are required. You also must be 18 years or older to drive the course.

Just bring your registered/ street legal vehicle to the autocross tech area at the event to get inspected and you’re ready to run laps through the cones.

Giving Back – Goodguys Give-Away Car

Goodguys has had a long standing tradition with their involvement with the Give-away cars. Drummond made sure to drop some knowledge on this highly anticipated event, “Goodguys has given away close to 50 cars over the years.

It’s been a positive way to involve the company as well as the industry to showcase the product as well as having the ability to give back to our members.” Goodguys doesn’t forget about its members nor does it forget about it’s loyal group of vendors and manufacturers.

These Give-away cars generate a lot of hopes and dreams, and provide a foundation for product suppliers to showcase their components and skills. Give-away cars are a real thing. It’s something our members get an opportunity to see first-hand; to touch, see and feel. “We’ve got Goodguys Give-away cars booked-full through 2014,” said Drummond. This year is no different and Goodguys is in the process of building the Goodguys Missile; a ’70 Challenger.

How do you get your hands on a Give-away car? Luckily, there’s two ways to get involved. First, become a Goodguys member and your name is automatically entered into the drawing. Second, participate in any of the Goodguys Show ‘n Shine events and place your Sunday Lucky Ticket in the barrel on Sunday after 1:30pm. At the end of the 2:22pm award ceremony, Goodguys will draw one lucky winner from that event to become a qualifier for the giveaway car. Just be present for the drawing and you could be driving home a fully-built Goodguys Give-away car!

This year’s Grand Prize Giveaway Car is coming right along, too. The project, based on Steve Stanford’s “Goodguys Missile” illustration, has made great strides in recent months. The 1970 Dodge Challenger, based loosely on Don Carlton’s legendary “Motown Missile” has been completely disassembled, massaged, cut and mated to the custom chassis from the Roadster Shop.

The trick chassis features independent front and rear suspension and when the Ridetech coilover’s are added it should out-handle just about anything on the road!

Brand new rear quarters and deck lid have been added as well as new front fenders courtesy of Goodmark Industries. Wider rear wheel tubs have been fabricated to accommodate the meaty Michelin’s and Billet Specialties wheels. The ‘Missile will be powered by a hearty 426 Mopar currently being assembled by Indy Cylinder Heads. The transmission will be a Tremec 5-speed. It will make its grand debut at the 3rd Spring Nationals, March 9-11 in Scottsdale, AZ.

The Goodguys Missile is still a work in progress. However, it's sure to make one future owner proud!

The Life And Times Of Goodguys – Drummond’s Words

Editor’s Note: For an inside perspective, we reached out to Drummond to reflect on his role at Goodguys and how the events have changed and adapted to modern times. Drummond provided us with his own commentary, which carries 22 years of experience.

For the past 22 years I’ve had the enviable luxury of attending our Goodguys Rod & Custom Association events throughout the country. The people, the cars, the trends, and the hilarious road escapades I’ve experienced could (and might some day) fill a book.

Working with the Meadors family and the entire Goodguys staff is easy because we’re all passionate about American hot rods, customs, and muscle cars.

We’re all car guys and gals which makes it easy. I’ve never met a man more driven by hot rods, customs, and classic cars than our founder and chairman Gary Meadors. As crazy as he and our new President Marc Meadors are about cars, they’re as equally smart and passionate about the art of staging awesome automotive events. The event business is always exciting and getting down the formula of planning and producing a large scale event is a delicate balance Marc, Gary, and the rest of our great staff have nearly perfected.

I remember the fat-fendered craze of the late ’80s and ’90s when it seemed everything was painted teal or pink and we all wore those hideous “muscle pants” and neon green sun glasses. Then you had the “smooth” craze of the late 90s when Boyd, Chip, Buttera, and others rolled out landmark cars like the “Smoothster, “Chezoom” and so many others.

The retro thing (I hate calling them rat rods) got rolling in the new millennium as well as the G-Machine scene when rod shops and new innovators started making ’60s Camaros and Mustangs handle and accelerate like the finest European sports cars. Thom Taylor, who’s created so much of our industry’s look and trends through his pen and brilliant mind, told me a long time ago that the pendulum swings mightily in this industry as far as “what’s hot.”

This truly is a remarkable industry. The growth over the past 20 years alone is astounding. I’m starting to see a lot of younger rodders at our events which is great news.  The universal appeal of hi-performance American cars is something that transcends generations and I know for a fact that Goodguys will be working as hard as possible to give them quality events to share their cars, their passion and bond with fellow gearheads. It’s an exciting time for all of us. -John Drummond