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Goodguys Heartland Gallery

Fairly ordinary then, far from ordinary now: a 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 two-door hardtop.

Every summer, the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association stages about 20 annual street rod and custom car events at fairgrounds and other large venues across the country. These are sprawling, weekend-long gatherings that include attractions such as swap meets, manufacturer midways, live music, autocross competitions, and plenty of on-premises cruising. They draw huge numbers of participant vehicles and spectators—the larger events regularly surpass 4000 registered show cars.

2013 Goodguys Heartland Nationals

“Barn finds” are all the rage these days in the vintage-car world. This 1969 Camaro SS 396 was on display in “as-found” condition, accumulated grime and all.

It’s a summer tradition of mine to attend the Goodguys Heartland Nationals show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds every Fourth of July weekend. I haven’t missed a single show yet, and this year’s edition was the 22nd annual. Goodguys shows are street rod, custom, street machine, and muscle-car events first and foremost, but every year I’m surprised at the number of interesting stock (or at least “stock-ish”) vehicles I find mixed in with the expected T-buckets, ’32 Fords, Tri-Five Chevys, Mustangs, Camaros, and Chevelles. Most Goodguys events draw huge numbers of cars (this year’s Heartland Nats reached a record-breaking 4,300 vehicles), more than any one person can see in a weekend. With that kind of volume, chances are good you’ll find something that’s right up your alley. I decided to chronicle some of the more unusual “non-custom” vehicles I came across. Have a look . . .

2018 Mecum Chicago Auction

Collector-car auctions sell plenty of high-dollar vehicles, but they also offer more-accessible classics. This 1963 Buick Riviera sold for less than the cost of the average 2018 Buick Encore subcompact crossover.

Every October, the Mecum Auctions road show rolls into Chicagoland for a weekend-long event that takes over the Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois. Like any of the major-league televised auctions, the 2018 Mecum Chicago shindig had its share of big-ticket featured lots. A 1979 Porsche 930 Turbo originally owned by legendary Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton was the star of this year’s show—it sold for $324,500, topping the list of results for the event. 

Emerald Coast Cruzin' Show

As seen at the 2012 Panama Beach Emerald Coast Cruzin’ Car Show

Emerald Coast CruzinThe Emerald Coast Cruzin’ show may have wrapped up for 2013, but Chicago radio legends Steve and Johnnie have captured the best cars and trucks of the event.

An annual event, the Emerald Coast Cruzin’ show takes place in ever-balmy Panama Beach, Florida, usually in early November.

Emerald Coast Cruzin'

As seen at the 2012 Panama Beach Emerald Coast Cruzin’ Car Show

Emerald Coast Cruzin During their recent visit to Panama City Beach, Steve and Johnnie had the opportunity to check out the 2012 Emerald Coast Cruizin’ car show. Their video footage captures the essence of the event: Florida sunshine, oldtime rock ’n’ roll, and an endless parade of red-hot hot rods.

1948 Chrysler Town and Country convertible

Just a nearly stock 1948 Chrysler Town and Country convertible, right? Wrong. . . .

For the last 20 years, my annual Fourth of July weekend activities have included a pilgrimage to the Goodguys Heartland Nationals at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Goodguys is a Northern California-based car-show event promoter that puts on a full summer schedule of street-rod/custom/muscle-car-centric events at venues across the nation.


Minibago Teaser

Do you love RVing but can no longer justify getting 6 mpg? MINI has the answer. A compact RV, the 2013 Minibago keeps the green in your wallet while exhibiting MINI’s fun-to-drive character. Inside, MiniCabin is trimmed in recycled MiniMica surface treatments in either Original Olive or faux-MiniMarble themes. And yes, there’s even a MiniPotti.

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