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Among the seemingly countless tragedies and hardships that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon the world this year, the upending of the normal American summertime car-show season ranks relatively low on the list. Still, it hurts to have so many car shows, car races, cruise nights, and other automotive gatherings either cancelled outright or postponed.
Summertime is car-show season, and we always try to take in as many automotive get-togethers as we can. Local cruise nights, marque-specific dealership-lot shows, fancy concours gatherings, or what have you… it’s all good. Our Chicagoland home base has plenty of these kinds of events to offer, and in the upper Midwest, car folks know to take advantage when the weather is warm (or, let’s face it—flat-out hot), because it won’t be long before summer’s over and the cold and snow come again.
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.
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 . . .
Americans have now enjoyed the services of the automobile for well over a century. It’s hard to imagine another development that did so much to shape the country as we now know it. But at just over 100 years of service, the car has nothing on football.
More than most brands, Plymouth was an automotive marque with many personalities. As a kid, I knew no one with an interesting Plymouth. I learned to drive on a Slant-Six-powered 1974 Valiant that had been repainted by Earl Scheib.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.