Bay Area Tradition With The Goodguys

When it comes to automotive history in the Golden State, you probably think first of Southern California. After all, it’s considered the place where hot rodding, custom car building, and drag racing were born. As you look closer though, you’ll begin to see that Northern California’s contributions to these scenes are equally as important.

In most cases, the cars, the builders and the shops of NorCal easily rival their neighbors a few hundred miles to the south. The same goes for the events. Of these gatherings, they don’t get any bigger than the Goodguys shows held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.

To call these shows a Bay Area tradition would be an understatement. Goodguys has been holding events at Pleasanton for decades, and they are some of the largest and most popular shows on the nationwide Goodguys tour. As we celebrate homegrown American car culture this month, I figured it was the perfect time to head over to Pleasanton and finally see one of these events for myself.

This particular event was the 31st “All American Get-Together” – one of four events Goodguys hosts annually at this venue. The weather was picture perfect, and with this being the first show of the year people were anxious to bring their machines out after the winter break.

The show is massive – with thousands of cars spread across outdoor and indoor displays. There’s also a vendor area, a giant swap meet and cars for sale section, and of course the autocross. In other words, something for everyone.

After just a few minutes of wandering around the show, I was qable to determine the event’s defining attribute – variety. Every style and era of the American automotive landscape was present and accounted for.

This is the place where scrappy looking rat rods and daily drivers sit feet away from gleaming show cars and garage queens.

It’s the place where you can see modern Pro Touring muscle cars with LSX swaps and steam roller tires one moment…

…and see perfect examples of traditional style 1950s customs the next. There really aren’t many other events where you get such a large and diverse mix of machinery mix in one place.

And while I admit I’m not the biggest fan of billet street rods and show cars with cheesy paint and weird wheels, there were lots of high quality, unique, and just plain cool machines to balance everything out.

At the same time I also have a thing for fully restored showroom-spec muscle cars – of which there were plenty. Here’s an absolutely beautiful red over white ’65 GTO with original rallye I wheels and redline tires.

Here’s a genuine example of Buick’s baddest and most outrageous contribution to the muscle car wars – the GSX.

But before the overt styling and stripe packages, stripped down drag specials like this ’65 Plymouth Belvedere represented Detroit’s high performance efforts.

You just gotta love the bare bones bench sheet and column shift trans backed up by the 440 wedged under the hood.

While not as glamorous as its Hemi or 440-powered cousins, I’d never turn down a clean small-block powered Mopar E-body like this ’73 Cuda.

Check his SS 396 Chevelle done in a ’60s street machine style with high stance and big ‘n little Cragars. And yes, it was a four-speed with a Hurst shifter for maximum street cred.

Got a thing for first generation Camaros? Let’s just say there were a few of them that came out.

As far as the Camaro foodchain goes, I’m not sure if it gets better than this ’69 ZL-1 built by a local shop right in Pleasanton.

The cross-ram equipped aluminum big block has been punched out to 468 cubes and makes a stout 618 horsepower. It’s also mated to a 5-speed Tremec tranny.

Yeah, first generation Camaros are cool and all – but I had to wipe off the drool when I saw this second gen Z/28. Perfect color combo, perfect factory wheels, perfect everything.

In addition to the waves of expected Mustangs, Camaros, and Tri-five Chevys, I also found some more unusual cars – like this Rambler Marlin and its distinct fastback roofline. I’d love to see Pure Vision or the Ring Brothers do something crazy with one of these!

While the outside areas of the show were filled with a wide mix of vehicles, the inside displays were reserved specifically for high end customs and show cars.

One of my favorites in this area was Goran Lassel’s ’48 Mercury built by Sacramento Kustoms. Cars like this make me think I need to get up to Sac-Town for some Speedhunting soon.

Speaking of “kustoms”, it was nice to see a solid representation of traditional style cars the Goodguys show. I know a lot of these guys don’t like to associate with the street rods ‘n lawn chairs crowd, but everyone seemed to get along pretty well in NorCal.

If anything, it just makes traditional-styled cars like this blown five-window coupe tand out even more.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether it’s a traditional-only event or a more mainstream show, cars like this straight axle ’56 Chevy are universally appreciated.

I didn’t even get a chance to look through the swap meet, but I did browse the cars for sale area a bit. There were hundreds of machines for sale, from basket case projects to completely finished show cars.

You can always count on rare and desirable cars like this ’57 Nomad to command big bucks – even if they are in need of complete restoration.

Then you have oddball cars like this low mileage, showroom condition AMC Pacer being offered for a reasonable $6000. Just you wait – Pacers, Gremlins, and Pintos are going to become the next Shelby Cobra.

This Merc needs a little bit of what they call “TLC”.

You don’t see a whole lot four-door cars at events like this, but here’s a Buick that shows an extra pair of doors is nothing to be ashamed of.

In addition to its immaculate exterior and interior, the big Buick was also sporting an LS1 swap. The result is a perfect cruiser with room for all your buddies.

When I think of the ’68-’72 Chevy Nova, I picture cars like this. Basic, cool – and most likely very fast. The look of this thing just says “don’t mess with me”.

As with most big car shows, Goodguys also includes display area for plastic models…

…and even a few custom pedal cars.

If Rat Fink were real, I’m pretty sure he’d drive something like this.

I’m going wrap up right here, but I’ll be returning shortly with a selection of spotlights from the All American Get-Together.

-Mike


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40 comments
fantamaso
fantamaso

The Nova is gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dtsan
dtsan

My favorite has got to be the bug with the massive rear supercharger, nitrous, tach, and everything else!

Brad_S
Brad_S

Man I tell ya that prius stole the show for me (Not Joking).

Gomez85
Gomez85

As an E-Body fan, loved the 'cuda. Makes me miss my '74 Challenger all the more. Keep up the cool work Mike (and as far as Camaros go...second gen all the way!!).

tenpennyjimmy
tenpennyjimmy

Mr Garrett, you teased us with single images of three 5-window coupes... all very different, all gorgeous. Please could we have more on them? The red 34???

milkplus
milkplus

Thanks for covering this Mike. Normally the factory wheels and fat sidewalls that make these cars look beautiful are few and far between in an ocean of terrible wheel choices. I doubt many other blogs would have found the jewels that you posted.

Corbin
Corbin

In picture #25(Black Five Window Coupe); whats going on with that exhaust? Looks intricite, I would really like more info.

K's
K's

4 door buick is awesome

BasedHero
BasedHero

Wow my favorite were the GSX and the white/black Buick 4door

Brian Spilner
Brian Spilner

What's the silver convertible with the big Falken sticker-ed splitter? That looks amazing!

SaudQureshi
SaudQureshi

More pictures of the GSX and Riviera please? And the Nova too!

Afewloosebolts
Afewloosebolts

The show was incredible this year. I was surprised at all the old Mopars, a good deal of which were A bodies

ssbeane
ssbeane

Looks like Buicks are getting some love after all. Also, definitely come to Sacto. It's amazing how many crazy builds are hiding in people's garages around here. 

jamesinger
jamesinger

moar pics of that red nova!!!!!!!!!!!!

jzx81
jzx81

That red Nova does look like a "stealth machine".

The ride height gives it away.

FrodeOlsen
FrodeOlsen

Any more pics of that big White Suburban? in the 3  picture?

Mike Garrett
Mike Garrett moderator

 @milkplus Thanks! I know exactly what you mean. So many cool cars ruined by shady wheels out there...

Ramcharger001
Ramcharger001

 @Corbin He's got it set up so that you can run the car either straight out of the headers, or out the full exhaust in the back for street use.

Mike Garrett
Mike Garrett moderator

 @ssbeane Plenty of love for Buicks on my end! Haha. A Sacto trip is def in the works! Let me know if you have any suggestions :)

ssbeane
ssbeane

 @Mike Garrett Sweet! I'm working on my own Skylark currently and it's cool to see other Buicks show up here. As far as suggestions? http://www.hotrod.com/featuredvehicles/hrdp_1303_couprageous_1937_ford_coupe/

Turns out this thing's hiding only a few minutes from my house and I never knew it. If a mid-engined, twin turbocharged LS thrown in a bare metal hot rod doesn't deserve mention during Speedhunters' Americana focus, I don't know what does. There's lots of stuff in Sacto if you know where to find it.


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