Top Ten Dazzles
When the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association wraps up their Fall Nationals in Scottsdale, AZ each November, I always feel sort of sad. For me that generally marks the end of the car show season. Oh, I might still attend a few early Saturday morning shows but with the approaching holidays thing slow down drastically, until the auctions rev things up in January.
But we go out with a bang since the Goodguys show always features their Top Twelve. Throughout the year at various venues they either select a car of the year in a specific category or find a finalist for a class with all the twelve ultimate winners being brought out to Scottsdale to shine in one great grouping. These are high end cars with a ton of work, modifications and money invested. It tends to show new building trends and where the custom jobs are going. In Truck Round-Up, Issue 382 for March, 2020 we focused on the two top trucks and now we will take a look under the hood of the remaining ten picks. The first set of cars were given the honor at various specific Goodguys events
Custom of the Year
How about this 1940 Buick, chopped front and rear? The car also grafted on a one piece hood, Cadillac bumpers, fender skirts and molded fenders. It rests on a Chevy Nova sub frame with air springs front and aft. A small block Chevy engine and a 700r4 makes it purr down the highway. The car's interior featured a chromed dash with white vinyl and maroon piping and carpets. The car also snagged a few awards earlier at the Sacramento Autorama. The owner also was the builder, which shows how much craftsmanship some people can produce and is commendable.
Street Rod d'Elgance
This 1933 Ford roadster was selected in Del Mar, CA and the burgundy color shined in Scottsdale. This Ford was stretched nearly a foot and widened three inches. So lots of stuff had to be one off, hand crafted, like the all steel panels, grille, headlights and taillights. They added some side trim up high along with a custom windshield frame. Independent suspension on a custom frame helped hold the car together. The rear end sports a quick change and inboard brakes. This Ford used a 4.6 liter twin cam Cobra engine with a supercharger and an eight stack injection. Frankly I never get tired of seeing these tall intakes stacked in a line.
Hot Rod of the Year
The owner proved the adage of "if you don’t succeed, try, try again". This 1936 Ford was in the running for the above Street Rod d'Elegance award and when he didn’t win there, he returned to a different show and won the Hot Rod of the Year designation. To qualify the contenders have to complete a 100 mile road trip, do a burnout and a quarter mile run! This Ford screams old school using an Ardun intake flathead with a blower to boost. The fuel injection is hidden but works and the Tremec five speed can handle the output. Independent front suspension and a four bar rear end handles the curves and bumps. The roofline was chopped just an inch and the front fenders pushed out to accommodate the engine. The trunk features a chromed luggage rack which seems a bit pointless. Oh well, the three window rod still looks great.
Street Rod of the Year
This 1932 Ford Vicky is a perfect selection for Street Rod of the Year. From the stance to the innards it has it all. It had previously been a Great Eight finalist for the Ridler Award. Plus the car had been with the owner since the mid-70's. The front axle was dropped five inches which helps with the final stance. The front disc brakes are hidden by Ford drum-styled enclosures. They slapped a Chevy small block in the Ford and included an eight stack fuel injection (notice a trend yet?). The Ford sports some old school cloth covered spark wires. The hood was pie cut and the roof lowered a tad as well.
Street Machine of the Year
Is a 1971 Ford Maverick mean enough to be a street machine? It is if it contains twin turbo's under the hood. It also features an independent rear suspension and a 427 C.I. Ford Windsor with fuel injection of course. The builder flared the wheel wells, added a front valance, a rear spolier and side skirts. The two tone hood might not be for all, but you are sure to at least notice it.
Auctocrosser of the Year
In autocrossing, a car and driver cruises along a cone designated path seeking the lowest elapsed time. The "Duel in the Desert" brings out 32 top competitors who have earned the right to race for the final win of the season. We have a repeat winner from 2018 as driver Scott Fraser drove this 440 C.I. 1966 Cobra to the winner's circle once again. The winning time was 34.999 seconds. Hard to believe that an original Cobra is out on the coned course but it is. The owner has made a ton of changes to this suspension, utilizing his years as a Ford engineer to make the Cobra a track star.America's Most Beautiful Street Rod
You might recognize the owner of this 1936 Ford, George Poteet. He has commissioned some awesome builds and this one won Pomona's America Most Beautiful Roadster Award earlier in 2019. The builder, Pinkee's, is equally renowned. The roof was chopped three inches and the radiator bottom pulled out a few for a nice rake. The fenders were likewise tweaked. The shop indicated they milled out 350 + custom pieces on this build. That probably took a few pennies, right? A 351 Windsor Ford powers the car with a Tremec five speed giving it the push, with a quick change rear end too. You probably can guess that there was an eight stack electronic fuel injection, right? It took over five years to build overall, but the builder was totally focused in 2018 to get it ready for the 2019 show year.
The following three categories had picks selected at various shows across the country and then Goodguys selected a winner from among those few.Custom Rod of the Year
This 1959 Cadillac is one long and mean rod. And builder Troy Trepanier made sure this caddy got meaner. He added a supercharged LSA motor from General Motors. Adjustable Ride Tech shocks allow for that slammed down look. The transmission is a 4L80E and those wheels are one off to mimic the original hubcaps. They added a stainless steel vinyl wrap on top to be a look alike to the Cadillac Broughams that I have raved about before ( Cars of the 50's Special Issue, Fall 2019 ) The light blue interior looks right out of the late 50's as well.
Muscle Car of the Year
This yellow 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator snagged the pick this year. It is powered by a rare original Cobra Jet 428 with Ram Air. A fire, caused by a backfire nearly ended this ride, but a careful restoration made it all right. But it took over 4,000 hours spread over three years to bring it back from the smoky past. The builder took care to restore it to original specifications including a hounds tooth interior that I normally attach to Camaro's and not Cougars. I had spied this car at the 2018 SEMA Show and couldn't forget it. So glad I got a chance to see it again at Goodguy's.
Muscle Machine of the Year
This 1965 Chevelle was another Great Eight Ridler Award finalist. But this blue baby isn't like any 1965 model Chevelle that we've seen. The builder grafted on a 67 roof line to get that scalloped look at the sail panels. They removed the vent windows as well. They added a LS7 engine with a 2.9 liter Whipple supercharger (another trend right readers?) A six speed manual lets the driver row through the gears. The rear valance was a total redo as well, with the exhausts ported through them too. That rear bumper was also a one off custom piece. Plus the taillights go the full width of the Chevelle now. All the glass was flush mounted from the inside, which we've previously touted as a cutting edge trend. It too rides on an Art Morrison chassis and a four bar rear end. The builder claimed the only part not massaged, modified or exchanged were the door hinges. Guess Goodguys aren't the only folks that admire top notch craftsmanship as it was selected by Mother's for their Shine Award at the 2019 SEMA Show.
So there you have it, ten custom cars that really are state of the art. Which was your favorite?
© 2020 Mark C. Bach
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