AutoMatters+: Goodguys Del Mar Nationals and ‘Into the Storm’

1955 Chevy

Colorful sheet metal indoors

The Goodguys Rod and Custom Association’s 14th Del Mar Nationals was held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds (home of the San Diego County Fair). This three-day event featured 1972 and earlier hot rods, customs, muscle cars, trucks and woodies – with more than 2,500 of them on display outdoors and indoors.

As always, it was a casual, laid-back affair. The drivers, their friends and family could be found relaxing on lawn chairs close their vehicles, talking to passers-by about their cars and about their hobby. Awards were given out on Sunday.

The event was much more than just a car show. A large vendor fair sold a variety of cool automotive merchandise, for everything from restoration to high-performance modifications. Some of the cars were even for sale, if the sight and sounds of all these wonderful vehicles left people feeling the urge to buy one. Kids and adults alike enjoyed the model and pedal car show indoors.

Goodguys on the Del Mar Fairgrounds

I always enjoy the Goodguys autocross. At this event within an event, it is more than enough fun just to watch the cars speeding along the course and around the pylons but, thanks to All American Sunday, people like myself with late-model muscle cars are also welcome to compete – which I did. The track surface was a little on the slippery side, so it was not too abrasive on my street tires.

Award of Excellence recipient – 1982 Lincoln

Autocrossing here is a reasonably safe, low-speed way to enjoy pushing your car to its handling limits – and to learn what those limits are. That can make you a safer driver on the street, and get the urge to compete behind the wheel out of your system. Encouraged by the track announcer, fans in the stands took photos and cheered on the drivers of their favorite rides, which ranged from the aforementioned late-model muscle cars to some of the coolest hot rods, customs and trucks on the Fairgrounds.

Speaking of taking photos, an insider’s tip is to check out the cars that are parked back at the event hotel across the street. Late in the day is a great time to get some photos of the cars as the sun sets.

A beautiful hot rod

Another great place to take photos is along the wide, palm tree-lined boulevard that runs past the exhibit halls from the Fairgrounds main entrance. Cars and trucks cruise slowly back and forth, for everyone’s enjoyment.

Sadly there will be no Fall Del Mar Nationals this year, so we’ll have to wait until next year to see the cool cars and do this all over again. However, there are plenty of other Goodguys events across the country. You can find out where and when, see photos and more at

‘Into the Storm’

“Into the Storm” is a dramatized, quasi documentary-style film about massive tornadoes hitting a town. On the one hand, it offers a frighteningly realistic portrayal of the incredibly destructive and deadly power, and unpredictable nature, of such major weather events. Winds whipped up by an EF5 tornado exceed 200 mph. Cutting a two-mile-wide swath as it goes, it can easily destroy everything in its path.

'Into the Storm'

Add to that the suspense and sheer terror of knowing, in advance, that it is coming. Even after it passes, if its victims have somehow managed to survive that, they might be trapped in the rubble afterwards.

“Into the Storm” uses footage shot by real storm chasers who, no doubt, put their lives at great risk to do so. It also makes use of an interesting tornado-resistant, storm-chasing vehicle called the Titus.

On the other hand is the story that tries to make these extreme weather events meaningful. This is where this film falls short. In this respect, I was reminded of forgettable movies that I’ve watched on the Syfy channel. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy watching those low-budget disaster movies (one recent evening I chose to watch both “Sharknado” and “Sharknado 2”), but let’s face it – they can be pretty shallow and silly.

Neon for sale at the Vendor Fair

What separates “Into the Storm” from those Syfy channel movies, and what makes this film especially worth seeing, are the tornado videos. Especially when shown on the big RPX screen, these are of the highest caliber and convey a powerful sense of the terror one might feel when experiencing such massive tornadoes first-hand. That’s close enough to the action for me. To see a trailer, go to

As always, please write to with your comments and suggestions.

Copyright © 2014 by Jan Wagner

Related posts:

  1. AutoMatters: Goodguys Del Mar Nationals
  2. ‘Super Sunday Get-Together’ to be held at the Goodguys Del Mar Nationals April 1
  3. AutoMatters: Goodguys Spring 2013 Del Mar Nationals
  4. Goodguys 14th Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals car show to be held at Del Mar Fairgrounds April 4-6
  5. Goodguys 3rd Fall Del Mar Nationals to be held Nov. 22-24

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1 Comment for “AutoMatters+: Goodguys Del Mar Nationals and ‘Into the Storm’”

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