The night before we paced the polished epoxied floors of the Greening Auto Company, its two Ridler awards greeting you as you walk into the showroom. The next day, examples from Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop, Big Oaks Garage, Goolsby Customs, Hilton Hot Rods, Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop, Legens Hot Rods, Precision Fabrication, Ring Brothers, Strange Motion, and Tri-Works Hot Rods were present at this year’s 11th Annual Goodguys Rod and Custom Nashville Nationals held in the shadow of Nashville’s Nissan Stadium.
This year was clearly one of the largest turnouts for the Nashville Nationals, as was the quantity of such quality of cars. So much so that Bobby Alloway himself was present to present the coveted Builder’s Choice awards. Equally, the Tank’s Hot Rod of the Year was chosen at the event, giving top car builders and collectors a reason to unveil their most prized machines. Of course, as is with Nashville, the weather was threatening to be uncooperative, and even doused the grounds early Saturday morning.
Once the Spring shower ceased and the parking lot dried, the autocross was up and running at full throttle, encouraging entrants to prove their rides were both champions both in the cones as well as on the podiums. This year brought out an impressive amount of entries, with participants filling the pits to capacity. Held beneath the shade of the elevated causeway bridging Nissan Stadium to Downtown Nashville, the autocross beckoned to hundreds of spectators perched high above.
At the conclusion of three days’ worth of time trials, the Goodguys crew were able to award the winners of each class: For Pro class, Mike “Junior” Johnson stood tall with a 42.806 run. The Street Machine class win went to Brian Finch with a 42.951-second run (marking his 9th win at Nashville). In the Truck class, Dan Kauffman took home the gold with a 46.989-second run. In the Hot Rod class, Gary Cook’s 51.698 run was enough to earn first. Sunday’s All American class win went to Brian Johns with a 44.224 run.
Goodguys always manages to welcome some of the best vendors in the industry and this past weekend was no different, as Eddie Motorsports, March Performance, Classic Instruments, Clayton Machine Works, and Street Rods by Michael, among others, filled the rows displaying their latest aftermarket products. Joined by the smaller vendors, participants were entreated with all sorts of memorabilia, decor and other goodies to enjoy.
Although so much of the action was concluded by Saturday afternoon (including all of the show field, class and top flight judging), many opted to linger Sunday, enjoying thinner crowds and a slightly lessened field of cars to peruse. It’s common for three-day shows such as these to ween out on Sunday, thus the reason why Goodguys opens up the day for newer American Muscle machines, welcoming late model Mustangs, Hemi-powered Challengers, Corvettes and Camaros. Nevertheless, by Sunday afternoon much of the steam had been spent, most of the out-of-towners had packed up and were headed home, marking 2016 as one of the biggest and most successful Nashville Nationals to date.