Hot rods, classic cars star at Goodguys 10th Spring Nationals

Thousands of cars filled fields and lots in Scottsdale, Arizona

Just two months after the annual Barrett-Jackson automobile auction overtook WestWorld of Scottsdale, Arizona, a different automotive event — though one that also features scores of hot rods and classic cars — arrived in town: the Goodguys 10th Spring Nationals.

While Barrett-Jackson may be the main attraction during the glitz and glam of Arizona Auction Week, Goodguys displays more cars.

About 2,200 cars were on showcased during the three-day event. They spanned decades of model years, but hot rods were undoubtedly the stars of the show. Hundreds of them glittered and gleamed under the bright spring sun and near-cloudless sky.

A hot rod built by Jim Barnas gleamed in the sunlight. | Carter Nacke photo

A hot rod built by Jim Barnas gleamed in the sunlight. | Carter Nacke photo

One of those hot rods, a custom 1929 Ford Model A sedan, was built by Jim Barnas. He said he’s owned the car for about 15 years, but has spent the last four or five rebuilding it from the ground up.

Barnas, who did the lion’s share of the work, said he’s “just an amateur” but the Model A looked to be above the work of your average wrencher. Equipped with a Chevrolet drivetrain complete with 483cid Stroker engine, the car sports a chopped roof and a custom paint job based off General Motors’ Medium Teal used on vehicles in the mid-‘90s. Inside, the Model A has a custom flame two-tone interior.

The custom interior earned Barnas some nods of appreciation. | Carter Nacke photo

The custom interior earned Barnas some nods of appreciation. | Carter Nacke photo

Though he didn’t claim a prize at the 10th Spring Nationals, Barnas said his Model A is no stranger to awards and, when you get down to it, is a car he loves.

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“It’s a fun car to drive,” he said.

There were plenty of other great classics on hand. One that caught my eye was a 1949 Willys Jeepster. Owner Joe Hudlicky said it was all original, save for the paint job and 1920-pen-set-turned-roadrunner-hood-ornament — oh, and the custom longhorn-hide interior that retains the animals’ fur.

This 1949 Willys Jeepster is nearly all-original, save for a paint job, the crazy roadrunner hod ornament and the longhorn hide interior. | Rebecca Nguyen photo

This 1949 Willys Jeepster is nearly all-original, save for a paint job, the crazy roadrunner hod ornament and the longhorn hide interior. | Rebecca Nguyen photo

“You want to know the real reason? I paid $2 a piece for two hides,” Hudlicky said of why he chose the interesting interior, along with, “I just like the way it looks.”

He said he’s owned the Jeepster for 18 years. It was supposedly a Shriner car from Indiana that he brought out to Arizona.

“I always wanted one,” he said. “I’ve owned probably 30 Jeeps, trucks and station wagons, but never one of these.”

The Jeepster looked to be in great condition. | Rebecca Nguyen photo

The Jeepster looked to be in great condition. | Rebecca Nguyen photo

Hudlicky’s Jeepster is no trailer queen. He said he drives it to California every summer — “I can’t stand the heat,” the Seattle native who winters in Scottsdale said — and he encourages people to touch the car, to sit in it and to take plenty of pictures.

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Such is the attitude at Goodguys. Though there are sprinkles of “Look, don’t touch” signs around, most owners encourage people to take a closer look.

A child looks inside a slightly modified Volkswagen Beetle. | Carter Nacke photo

A child looks inside a slightly modified Volkswagen Beetle. | Carter Nacke photo

In addition to plenty of cars, the 10th Spring Nationals offered a burnout competition, autocross event and a swap meet full of booths loaded with everything from car parts to blankets to surfboards, even full project cars. There was also a play area for kids, food and live music.

As one child put it when I walked by him near the exit, “This is the best day ever.” He wasn’t wrong.

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