AutoMatters: Goodguys Del Mar Nationals

By Jan Wagner

The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association 14


Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals will be rolling into the Del Mar Fairgrounds from April 4 - 6, 2014. To give you a good indication of what you can expect, here’s a sampling of what took place at the Goodguys Fall Del Mar Nationals, which were held last November.

As always, there was plenty for car and truck lovers to see, do and enjoy. First and foremost, this is always a car show. The names and descriptions of the various parking areas suggested the range and variety of automobiles assembled: Homebuilt Heaven (Did ya ‘build it yourself? Park here for recognition), Mighty Muscle (Factory correct or modified – show your muscle here), Trick Truck Corral (All trucks are welcome), Builder’s Choice (Going for top awards of the event? This area is for you), Ya Gotta Drive-‘Em (Did you drive over 300 miles to get here? Drivers wanted), Young Guys (25 years or younger), Deuce Doins (Make Henry Ford Proud, show off your ’32 here) and Good Wood (Got wood? Park here!).

01039-20131124 Goodguys Fall Del Mar Nationals with All American autocross-D3SOn the schedule for Friday and Saturday was something explosive that they called the “Goodguys Nitro Thunderfest” – starting engines at 1pm and 3pm.

There was live musical entertainment in the Plaza de Mexico, a model and pedal car show, a “Surf Woodie” exhibit, a “Swap Meet & Cars 4 Sale Corral” and several vendor areas where people could shop for everything from specialty car parts to works of automotive art. Kids were invited to participate in the “Free Kids Model Make N’ Take.”

While the Goodguys autocross during the first days of the show is limited to cars and trucks from 1972 and earlier, at several Goodguys events “All American Sunday” is opened up to all years of American (or American-powered) muscle cars, late model cars and trucks. So, for my first time and to celebrate my 60


birthday (on the actual day!), I participated in the “All American Sunday” Goodguys autocross.

We competed on a very short, tight, two-lap paved course on the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Bleachers filled with fans cheered us on, and cones marked where we were supposed to go. Many of these unfortunate cones were crushed in the process, each instance resulting in a time penalty for the driver who hit them. The hood of one competitor’s highly customized red truck blew open on course and smashed the windshield but, with a little help from his friends, the hood was removed and soon he returned to competition.

In the spirit of having a fair competition for street-able automobiles, my super-sticky Hoosier autocross tires were not allowed so I competed on the somewhat worn street tires that my 2011 Mustang GT came with. That certainly added to my excitement. I had a lot of fun but was not quite quick enough to earn an award.

The event ended with the awards show on Sunday afternoon at the Paddock Stage, where over 70 awards were up for grabs. Also, a brilliant yellow ’32 Tribute car was given away to a very lucky – and thrilled winner.

Plan to attend the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association 14


Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals, near the beach at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego County, on April 4 – 6, 2014. Expect to see over 2,500 hot rods, customs, classics, muscle cars and woodies through ’72 vintage, and much more.

Meet and greet Chip Foose, the legendary hot rod designer and TV star. This is one of only four Goodguys events where he is scheduled to appear this year. He’ll be signing autographs and picking some of the award winners. Also, be sure to check out the all new “Chip Foose Experience” semi-truck, featuring Foose-built cars, memorabilia, collectables and more.

Once again there will be an “All American Sunday” at this event so that means there will probably be an autocross rematch for yours truly. Please look for my white 2011 Mustang GT and join me for the fun.

Also, take in the “Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge.” For more information, to purchase tickets or to register your vehicle, go to Register by March 21 to save $10 off the at-event price.

If you cannot make this event, there will be many more across the country throughout the year. Check out for locations and dates.

As always, please write to

with your comments and suggestions.

Copyright © 2014 by Jan Wagner – #321r1