The Goodguys Summer Get-Together
A Younger Crowd

Last weekend, Pleasanton, California played host to the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association’s 27th annual Summer Get-Together.

Overcast skies perfect for shooting, a comfortable 75° outside (that’s ~24° for those of you who use a sensible measurement system), and a plethora of muscle cars just 15 miles (again, ~24km) from where I’m staying? Sign me up.


It was muscle cars and hot rods that originally sparked my interest in internal combustion when I was younger, but my tastes have moved on in a way. This isn’t to say that old school Americana won’t always have a place in my heart, though. I still love a good muscle car, and honestly still would love to own just about any of the cars I saw at the Goodguys show.


And although I didn’t partake, the literal brick of fries or a corndog the size of your forearm didn’t look half bad either.


It’s no secret that many of those who love these sorts of cars are getting older and getting out of the hobby, and I have to say that the crowd was possibly the thinnest I’ve ever seen at a Goodguys show at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. With hundreds of cars on display it wasn’t empty by any means, just not as packed as usual. There were some empty spots on the lawns, and it was easier than ever to avoid folks in the background of my shots. There are also very real and legitimate Covid fears still lingering, especially for the older crowd.


However, at the same time it’s also worth pointing out that on average this was probably the youngest crowd I’ve ever encountered here by a long shot. The next generation of enthusiasts is embracing these cars in their own way, and this faucet of car culture will need to rely on new faces to thrive and survive.


There truly is something very special about these cars, and they deliver a one-of-a-kind experience. Could you imaging wringing out that 427ci V8 on these skinny period-correct tires? How about going on a road trip to Las Vegas and sleeping in that Chevy van as you make your way across America’s highways? Or just simply cruising through downtown on a Friday night in the GTO above?

Because of these exact experiences and many more like them, I have no doubt that these cars will live on forever.

The Bubble Is Forever

As the focus in my own garage has shifted from ’60s American cars to ’90s (Japanese and German) vehicles, it’s interesting to track what both of these markets have been doing as of late. Obviously, everything has been exploding in terms of pricing, while availability of good examples and even parts supply has simultaneously imploded.


Naturally, these two curves are closely related, but some areas of the market seem to be growing a bit more slowly. As millennials finally find themselves with some decent spending power, these Japanese and German cars I’ve grown to love have skyrocketed in value. Meanwhile, not all American cars in America haven’t gone as bonkers in the same way.


There are exceptions, of course. Try getting a resto-modded ’60s or ’70s Bronco and you’ll need to empty your pockets and them some. Collectibles like the Buick GNX are also insane and have only become more so in recent months. C1 or C2 Corvettes, Impalas and other popular models are also holding strong, but good examples of these cars have always been on the pricier end.


Where I’m seeing a lot of opportunity and truly good deals are on some of the less-popular makes and models. Browsing Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace or even BaT, I’ve seen some very compelling prices for old Dodge 500s, Falcons, Dusters and restored or modified quasi-race cars where you know the seller has to accept that they will be super upside-down on the sale.


Some not-quite-so-old American cars from the ’70s and ’80s also might be in a relative valley right now as well, and many hot rods are actively falling in price. As prices for period-correct full restorations go up, modified examples become better deals.


Dollar for dollar, you can get a lot more performance with just as much cool-factor in some of the less popular models. While these cars might be few and far between, the deals are out there to be had. With the current price of labor, you can also score on some half-finished running and driving projects as well if you’re handy or don’t mind unfinished bodywork.


The patina look is cooler than ever, anyway. It’s a near guarantee that you can purchase a car like this wagon and drive its wheels off for a few years before selling for a modest profit. While it’s incredibly frustrating to pay more than ever for worse and worse examples, there’s a latent benefit here as well: ‘free’ car ownership.


If you’re looking to purchase your first daily driver or your first project it can be tough. But, once you’re in you can make some calculated moves to find yourself in a better and better car — either the same one or a different one — as time goes on. More than ever before, these cars are worth keeping on the road, and it makes sense to service and restore them (and drive them) instead of scrapping them.

That’s a win in my book.

Trevor Ryan
Instagram: trevornotryan



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Crazy to see this "wow classics haven't blown up with everything else" article echoed here, as it seems every media has taken notice in the same month. Popular models such as a C1 saw maybe a 10% increase in the past 2 years but that's nothing when you consider the 1000% increase in say an NSX, but your typical Falcon has now lost 10-20% due to market accommodation out of the lowest gainers - like trading in your misc comics or cards now that there are ppl that will buy them, for that one, single "MVP" you always wanted.

20 years ago, seeing anything "exotic" was a twice a year event, and really you had to travel to the hottest vacation towns to really see any. Now, random kids make lines in SVJ or air cooled 911, modified at that, to find a spot amongst their brand/"class" every weekend somewhere.

We all know there will be more of these classics hanging on walls than out driving on the/a road within most our lifetimes, but what this market niche we're seeing might mean that, like archery or book collecting, there will always be nerds being unnecessary in some abandoned B-road with the cars that aren't "classified" as popular, bit are all the same fun anyways. Especially when that flooding of 200mph Superbirds can't keep up, on the longest stretch of route 66, with an electric SUV semi-driven by someone meanwhile watching a youtube learning what a Road Runner was and why it was ever important, cause it disappeared from their rearview camera like minutes ago and didn't hold as much collectibles anyways. (The problem is when you open up that v8 and keep it floored, the oem tank goes in less than 55 miles. - road & track 1992 mag; meanwhile the typical tesla can keep it down for around 80 miles plus, depending on various things like temp and road conditions.) Anyways point is, we're at the point where the popular cars become undrivable, the fun cars become fan-fueled stars, and the rest get sold off to a developing country or cubed recycling. There's also ICE utility vehicles and trains (no, not your SUV or lifted truck) that will last as long as they will doing actual work at a depreciated rate for decades to come, but having fun in those isn't natural, and likely suddenly replaced by a robot over lack of relevance.


I have noticed this upward trend as well for pricing, even a decade before this pandemic. It is a bit disheartening since my son loves cars like I do and is fifteen. He wants to buy something fun for his first car while he is young. Even a simple BRZ/FRS or Miata is now $10K+ and he has been saving his first job money like crazy but all the decent cars are out of reach. We both love cars, go to car shows and read sites like Speedhunters every day. The deals for an average working person are just not there if you live in a rust belt or the Northeast like we do. We are daydreaming of flying out west to drive a rust free car home. But that all costs time and money too. I'm happy there are so many builds and cars to look at online, at meets and on IG & FB, but it stings when you never get to experience one through ownership.


You're spot-on here. I've been working full-time for Bring a Trailer the last three years, and I have seen all of this play out in real time. It's been as weird as it is interesting, and in some ways depressing at the same time. The barrier to entry is higher overall, but hopefully some newcomers to the hobby can be encouraged by the fact that there are still some good, educational, and very fun options out there for a modest budget.


soooooo when are you writing an article


The appeal of these cars, particularly american classics: Screw all you people, I have the capability to steamroll your home and your dinky honda 600cc at every small town stoplight in the nation, and gas is $0.0003 a barrel so watch out.

They're unnecessary, careless, and crude. Experiential in nature. You have to be alive to drive, none of that pansy crap, KID. SON. YOUNGIN.

I think that's something we really miss out on in the modern era. Hellcats and LT2 SSes are all we have left really.


Great coverage. Really nice to see your photographs of the Petty Tribute Belvedere that Casey Holm built.