Stroll the Rows at Goodguys Del Mar Nationals

Without question one of the premier hot rodding events on the West Coast of USA is the annual Goodguys Del Mar Nationals held each April. It’s staged at the historical Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego county, which encompasses some 370 acres. With cool, beach-side breezes against a tan stucco building backdrop, the beautiful facility is filled with tall, manicured palm trees. When the venue is filled with the nation’s most prestigious hot rods, it’s a true automotive Mecca.

There were three large exhibit halls filled with show cars, and outside the fairgrounds were overflowing with the various hot rods, street rods, pro touring cars, rat rods, muscle cars, sport trucks, lowriders, classics, and vintage woodies—over 2,500 vehicle in all. The three days featured the Autocross Shootout presented by CPP, where competitors ran one at a time against the clock, showing off their driving skills and vehicle preparation. Beside the Autocross track, there was open and non-stop cruising available for all throughout the grounds.

Big outdoor exhibits by industry giants such as Edelbrock, Roadster Shop, Wilwood, RideTech, Comp Cams, FI Tech, Tremec, Holley/MSD, March Performance and Optima were there for visitors to check out the latest parts and pieces. Throughout the huge fairground area were 18-wheelers from major brands, as well as numerous booths of other specialty manufacturers and local sponsors. In addition, also part of the event was a large swap meet area, burnout competition and area for kids to build model car kits. Retro drag fans were treated to the front-engined nitro dragster Thunderfest, where the Hemi engines are fired up on alcohol, then switching to the load and exciting nitromethane fuel.

On the final day, it was All-American Sunday, open to all American vehicles.

James Maxwell

James Maxwell is an automotive journalist and historian based in Southern California. Contact him at imax@roadrunner.com.

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