Up until a few years ago, there were some log buildings on the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York, where a bunch of guys and gals with traditional-built rods would hang out during the Goodguys East Coast Nationals. The setting inspired the name Fort Hot Rod. Although the buildings are gone, a bunch of traditional-minded rodders still congregate, and Fort Hot Rod lives on. But this group represents only a small fraction of the action at the East Coast Nats.

The guys at the gate let in all 1972-or-earlier vehicles, so in addition to rods, customs, and classic trucks, Rhinebeck is the place to see street machines, musclecars, and (as always) one or two vehicles that defy categories. As we expected, the styles ranged from period-correct traditional to high-tech contemporary. As we hoped, many of the traditional rides we saw had a look we associate with the East Coast: channeled stance, motorcycle-style fenders, square rollbars, and big numbers on the odometers. Despite the short season, rodders "back here" are big on driving their cars.

We spent three days at the show soaking it all in, dodging raindrops, making friends, talking to vendors, visiting the numerous Goodguys car corrals, perusing the swap meet, getting an eyeful of approximately 1,500 show vehicles, and trying to pick only 10 as the Rod & Custom Top 10 winners. For more coverage of the Goodguys East Coast Nationals in Rhinebeck, visit the Rod & Custom Web site at www.rodandcustommagazine.com.

Rod & Custom Top Ten

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