Goodguys’ final show for its 2017 street-rod and custom-car season wound up right back where it started, at Westworld in Scottsdale, Arizona, where the 20-event schedule began in March with the Spring Nationals and ended last weekend with the 20th Southwest Nationals.
More than 3,300 unique vehicles gleamed on the show fields at the Westworld event center for the three-day fall display in ideal Arizona weather. As always, the lineup of special rods, customs, muscle cars, trucks and racers was punctuated by the roaring competition at the autocross course and an absolutely enormous swap meet and car corral.
As well as being the last show for 2017, the Southwest Nationals was the last show held under Goodguys’ rules that set vehicle eligibility at 1972 or older, which has held sway for the past 23 years. Starting in 2018, the show producers have raised the vehicle eligibility year to 1987; to mark the change, there was a special display in Scottsdale of “squarebody” Chevy and GMC trucks from model years 1972-87.
The big advantage of being the 2017 finale is that the year’s Top 12 award winners were lined up for all to admire. These are the crème de la crème of show cars and trucks from Goodguys’ busy year, with the winners named at major events during the season.
The No. 12 winner, the Scott’s Hot Rods Truck of the Year, was revealed on the first day of the Scottsdale show and took its place on winners’ row: Ed Sears’ gorgeous 1941 Ford pickup with authentic flathead-V8 power under its hood. Seven Truck of the Year finalists were on the scene, any one of them a viable winner.
Of the Top 12 winners, all incredibly impressive machines, it was particularly enjoyable to see the winner of the 2017 Street Rod d’Elegance. Named the Mulholland Speedster, the stunning 1935 Packard built by Troy Ladd of Hollywood Street Rods has been racking up prestigious prizes all year, including America’s Most Beautiful Roadster at the Grand National Roadster Show in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
In person, the Speedster proved all that it’s cracked up to be, an impeccable build with classic proportions and a powerful presence. Truly a work of art, it attracted an admiring crowd all weekend.
The winner of Goodguys 2017 F.A.S.T. Autocrosser of the Year is a familiar name to racing fans, Robby Unser, driving Team Speedway’s radical 1968 Camaro. Unser, the son of Indy 500 champion driver Bobby Unser and a nine-time Pike’s Peak Hill Climb winner, sealed his title with a victory at Scottsdale’s Duel in the Desert autocross in a field of 32 competitors.
A favorite part of the Goodguys show comes in late afternoon each day when most of the rodders begin to crank up their rides and cruise out of Westworld. There’s nothing quite like seeing and hearing all these superb handbuilt cars rumbling across the field in the setting sun, their proud owners at the wheels.