It was great to be back in town for the Goodguys Nashville Nationals. When I attended this event in 2006, I didn't know what to expect. Neither did Goodguys and neither did any of the participants or spectators, since that was the first year for this particular show. I came home impressed and had been waiting a couple of years to return.

This year, I wondered if the quantity and quality of rods, customs, and classic trucks would be as great as I remembered. Of course, it was. The LP Field at Tennessee Titan Stadium was packed with more than 2,000 great cars-everything from big-name, pro-built rides to backyard-built, low-buck drivers-many of which had been finished just a few months, weeks, or even days before the show. Goodguys welcomes '72-and-earlier cars in Nashville, and there was musclecar-era iron in abundance.

Of course, R&C loves pre-'64 rods and customs the best, and these made up the majority of the show. Just like last time, I was blown away by the mountain of well-done traditionally styled early Fords. Period-influenced hot rods are not a California fad; they're hot all over the country. In addition to all the early Blue Oval rods, I ran into a lot of '55-57 Chevys in Nashville-some done in the nostalgic style like I'm used to, and many others modified into mild customs.

The swap meet packed people in at the far east end of the show, and adjacent to that, the Air Ride Technologies Street Challenge Autocross was running competitors through the cone course as fast as they could go. Only a handful of "true" hot rods or customs took a stab at the slalom run. The ones that did couldn't perform like the super-handling street machines that dominated all weekend, but they were more entertaining to watch. Despite the price of gas and diesel, vendors are still committed to being part of the Goodguys show season-at least it sure looked that way by all the aftermarket manufacturers showing off their goods.

Even the weather was impressive. The thunderstorms that were supposed to unload throughout the week only produced some intimidating clouds and a cool breeze that kept us from overcooking.

I'll shut up and let you get to the photos of the 3rd annual Goodguys Nashville Nats, starting with R&C's Top Tin picks.