Goodguys Colorado Nationals - Best In the West
Mountains of Traditional Tin at the Goodguys Colorado Nationals
From the February, 2009 issue of Rod & Custom
By Tim Bernsau
It didn't seem like three years since the last time we'd been to the Goodguys Colorado Nationals, but it was. In 2004, this event was held at Pikes Peak International Raceway near Colorado Springs. A year later, that state-of-the-art track was shut down, and Goodguys had to find another home for this popular event. That turned out to be lucky for Goodguys. They took the show up the road to The Ranch, in Loveland. This is a great place for a car show, with rolling grassy hills and plenty of room for a couple of thousand rods, customs, trucks, musclecars, and antiques.
Coming to Colorado gives Rod & Custom a chance to see outstanding cars we don't see at any other shows. There are a lot of great rods and customs from the Mountain states that don't make the trip across the Rockies to Pleasanton or Del Mar, or across the plains to Indy or Columbus or Des Moines. This is our only chance.
They really love traditional rods and customs around here. And '50 Mercs. And five-spoke Americans. And Tri-Five Chevys. And Cadillac air cleaners. And pickup trucks. And "ruff rods". And early Fords. Especially early Fords. We could easily have filled the Rod & Custom Top Tin winners circle with ten flat-black, flathead-packed '32 Fords if we wanted to. But we like to mix things up, and found some non-Fords, as well as cars and trucks from other time periods. Some traditional. Some a little more contemporary. Some really wild. Some just kind of cool. Something for everybody. You'll find them on the following pages, along with many of our other favorites from the show.
We liked everything about...
We liked everything about Gary and Debra Salter's '32 roadster-recently built by Rocky Mountain Street Rods-from the dressed-up 327 to such custom elements as '34 car door handles and a '37 trunk handle. But what really clinched it for us was the interior, wrapped up in genuine old-time seat cover material from the '50s. Builder (and son) Josh Salter admitted it was a risky decision and not everyone approves, but it's out-of-the-ordinary details that separate a hot rod from the pack.
Denny and Dale Johns of D&D...
Denny and Dale Johns of D&D Specialty Cars managed to build a car that is both traditional and high tech. This '55 Chevy retains a stock-looking body with trim, while every other part of the car is progressive. The round tube chassis, Kugel front and rear suspension, and Ram Jet 283 are just starters. The spindle-mounted inner fenders that turn with the front wheels are another ingenious detail. The Johns brothers originally built this car in 1994, and completely rebuilt it after it was destroyed in a tornado.
We photographed Ralph Scalpo's...
We photographed Ralph Scalpo's '50 Mercury at this show several years ago, but never got to honor him with a Top Tin pick until now. Ralph's goal was to build a custom that looked period perfect, with any modern components hidden out of sight. He retained the stock suspension and trim, but chopped the top, added a '54 Pontiac grille, and added a 350/350 drivetrain. Air Ride Technologies air shocks lift the Merc when he's driving and drop it to the pavement when it's show time.
We dubbed it an "elegant hot...
We dubbed it an "elegant hot rod" but Ron and Lois Beard built their '29 Cabriolet phantom (originally a coupe) for road trips They drove it from Eugene, Oregon, and took the long route home through the Black Hills, hauling gear and souvenirs in the matching trailer. The owner-built A has been redone in many forms over the last 15 years, but currently boasts a custom top, Dietz headlights, custom nerf bars, chome reverse wheels, and a 350 mill with an air cleaner built from Chevy valve covers.
Jim Stach won an R&C Top Tin...
Jim Stach won an R&C Top Tin prize and a Pinkees Pick for his two-tone green '59 Chevy Apache pickup. Jim tried to honor Detroit's Cold War-era love of rockets by carrying the look into the engine compartment, where a '41 Chevy hood ornament decorated the 0.060-overr EFI 327 engine. The dash is from a '59 Chevy car with a '55-56 steering wheel. The paint, he told us, was a bit of a risk, but once again, you don't get any attention blending in. This wild pickup definitely doesn't do that.
Old time enthusiasts around...
Old time enthusiasts around here remember when the Castaneda brothers, Midnight and Chief, raced this '29 roadster on the dirt and paved drag strips 50 years ago. Once a center-steer car, it was in pieces when Daryl and Kathy Roberts bought it in 2003. They rebuilt it as a street car, keeping the visual heritage of the old racecar intact. Daryl replaced the flathead with a '55 Dodge Hemi, and set the car on a Co-Cal chassis. The car gets driven everywhere, rain or shine.
Here's another well-known...
Here's another well-known Colorado car that looks like it has a heritage, but is actually a fairly recently-built Zipper car. Carl Glitzke tried to make his '27 T roadster modified look as much like a 2-person sprint car as he could. It's got a Zipper body and suspension, along a Ram Jet small-block with a 700R4 automatic, and a quick-change rearend. The one-piece Mehelich wheels, owner-applied paint, and Scheel seats (from Germany) set the car apart.
Hoss, from nearby Fort Collins,...
Hoss, from nearby Fort Collins, finished this crowd-attracting '48 Cadillac just in time for its first show. He bought the car from a friend and pulled it out of a Wyoming barn. Instead of cutting up an intact car ("it was too nice to chop up), he lowered it three inches, converted it to 12-volt, and built it as a resto rod. The interior is covered in two-tone leather, and the stock flathead (final year for flatties in Caddys) features the cool overhead exhaust manifold. The "Sinful Cinnamon" paint is a DuPont Hot Hues color.
Like the Cadillac, Jack Davis'...
Like the Cadillac, Jack Davis' '40 Ford pickup didn't take a lot of radical mods to make it into a sweet ride. Jack built the pickup from a couple different trucks, keeping it simple with a 350 small-block, a '57 Ford 4-inch dropped axle the right rake, a leather bench seat, and some unflashy but good-looking Lakewood green paint. He couldn't decide on a wheel and tire combination, so he mounted wide whites on reversed steelies with caps and rings on the passenger side, and Michelins on Halibrands on the driver side.
When Mike Davis, from Texas,...
When Mike Davis, from Texas, built his '47 Ford woodie, he wanted the wood to look right-in other words, to look old. Luckily, Mike was able to use almost every piece of the original wood, accomplishing his intention of keeping the look of preserved 60-year old lumber. Newer parts include the Heidt's front end, Glide seats, and a Roadster Shop chassis, with air shocks at the corners. The 350 is topped with a Cadillac air cleaner, and tied to a TH700 transmission.