I experienced the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association auto show in Columbus, Ohio like I had never experienced it before. Held at the Ohio Expo Center on the expansive Ohio State Fairgrounds, the 3 day event drew over 100,000 people and reported a record 6,200 registered vehicles.. The Street Machine of the Year was awarded to a “GPT Special” 69 Ford Torino and the Street Rod of the Year to “Checkered Past” 40 Ford. Word on the street says the both cost over $500,000.00 to build.
Pictures of the above winners can be viewed on the Goodguys site using this link. https://www.good-guys.com/?p=6081&option=com_wordpress&Itemid=220
Since 2006 I have participating in this 16 year old gathering of rods, customs, muscle cars and tricked out trucks of 1972 vintage or earlier and never came close to any award. The vast number of excellent cars is humbling and I was not completely surprised at not getting a ribbon, there are just simply too many high quality and deserving cars at the event. It was satisfying enough to share the space of such great autos and swap stories with other enthusiasts.
But this year, my Chevelle was awarded the Chevy Muscle Pick sponsored by Eckler’s Family of Automotive Parts Companies. There were 100 or so awards and I had one of them! I was stunned but pleased. My first thought was this was a mistake or I somehow misread the award.
These thoughts might be considered natural seeing as how I found the award. First, I was not near the car when the award was given. Usually a Goodguys judge places the award on the car dash in the form of a document with an imprinted ribbon. I was unaware that yellow stickers the size of a pencil eraser with the Goodguys logo and “Award Winner” in very small letters, are placed on the headlight of the car winners. I am not sure but I think I saw one on my car and mistakenly mentioned to someone that it was an indication that the car had been judged. The print is so small I could not read it from 3 feet away. At noon, I, my wife and friend Steve, went to have lunch and meet up with another friend Sterling and his daughter Aubrey. We walked around the grounds together seeking out the rods and customs in the prestigious builder’s area. It was hot and Steve and I went to watch the autocross races but my wife, seeking relief from the heat, went to our shaded retreat under some huge Buckeye trees where fellow members of the Mid Ohio Bunch host auto-club gather. This area is located a hundred feet or so from where the car was displayed in the Mighty Muscle corral. Mighty Muscle is one of a half dozen areas designated for a particular type of car that the owner chooses to register for judging.
My wife went to the car to get something and when I met her at the shaded refuge I asked her if anything was on the Chevelle’s dash and she said no. Soon after that, appropriately 2:30, I went to the car with Steve and on the way admiringly stopped and looked at cars that had the highly-coveted yellow award paper on the dash. Upon walking up to my car, I casually glanced at the dash and saw no yellow paper.
Then I looked into the open window and on the driver seat, someone had tucked a yellow document. Thinking it may be an advertisement I pulled it out and read it quickly seeing the words “Chevy Muscle Pick”. I did not want to get too worked up over it before I confirmed what I was reading and showed it to my friend Steve. I said to him, check this number against my registration number on the windshield. He did and said you won! Just to be sure, I once again asked him to recheck the numbers and what it said on the paper. He did and again replyed, congratulations, you won! Well then I excitedly began texting my wife and others to let them know. They all came to the car and we began the celebration.
What an honor to receive such an award with so many fine autos on display.
(Use these links to view a video of cars in the Winner’s Circle on Sunday)
I returned as instructed the next day at 9 am to take my place in the Winner’s Circle. An area where the winning cars are organized for a parade to the Expo Center’s 10,000 seat indoor Celeste Center. It is at the Celeste Center where the car owners’ parade single file into one end of the building and out the other; accepting their award after an announcer introduces the driver/owner and describes the vehicle.
It was a thrill of a life time as they say, with my wife Lyn riding shotgun and Bob Z squeezed into the back seat. My jaw hurt from grinning.
Use link below to view video of award presentation at Celeste Center: