GoodGuys All American Get Together.
Last Saturday I thought that I would celebrate the window of clear sunny weather to attend this show. The last event that I attended was well before Covid.
Inflation has been pretty brutal, I thought that the parking fee was high before, at 10.00, but now it's 15.00! However, the car show actually starts in the parking area, as there are often very interesting cars parked there. Many times they are just as good, or better than the ones inside.
For example, I saw a very nice bright blue, hot rodded, 38 Pontiac coupe, a bright yellow Model A hot rod, and lots of '60's and '70's muscle cars.
There were a lot of late model performance cars there besides my '06 Mustang. A couple of Chargers and Challengers. I saw a Cadillac CTS V series parked next to an ATS coupe, both lowered and tricked out with bigger wheels, and with additional spoilers.
A Lamborghini Urus SUV was parked there also. This is the fourth one I've seen in the last few months. That's a quarter of a million dollar car!
Admission to the event was 25.00 each for spectators. Ouch!
So what do you get for your money? In many ways not very much. In fact, the last time I attended with my Son, I refused to pay the admission of 20 bucks and just turned around and left! I said just forget the ten bucks for parking, we're outta here! It just didn't seem worth it.
|If you never look you'll never find it.|
|Vendors and more vendors.|
The swap meet area was pretty large and well stocked. Lots of vendors were selling shirts, stickers, and die cast model cars, but to be honest, that was exactly what I was looking for! I found a die cast model of my '05 Navigator on line, but it was currently out of stock, probably never to be stocked again! So I checked out every vendor. There were the usual vendors selling new repro parts, all types of old parts, and restoration supplies, as well as tools
There were engine parts from '50's and '60's cars, wheels, body, and trim pieces. The last time I was here I found a heater/defroster/fan control panel that I needed for my '70 Mustang.
|This photo is from the GG website. |
I'll always pick the Mustang!
|Run whatcha brung.|
There was the autocross course, which was a relatively recent addition to these GG events. I'm sure that it was run just for general time, not with competitive classes like with the SCCA, Sports Car Club of America. There were some surprises, some really nice cars went through the course. Several mid to late '60's Corvettes, a couple of early Fox Mustangs, a couple of '70's F bodies, a '60's Ranchero, a mid 70's Chevy pick up, and even a Tesla! The biggest surprise was when someone took their mid '70's Suburban 4x4 through the course. The guy was really cookin', never hit a cone, and didn't spin out. We all applauded when he finished his run. Pretty impressive! I didn't see anyone spin out while I was watching. The course was pretty wide, but back with the SCCA there were frequent spin outs.
I think that an autocross course is a good place to compete with other drivers. Driving over the same course provides a good comparison of driver skill. Playing grab ass on the freeway doesn't prove anything, it's just stupid and dangerous. The driver with the most powerful car and worst judgement will always have the advantage. While on the autocross course, driver skill and the car set up makes the difference. Speeds are also relatively low, probably not more than fifty, so the chance of stopping before you hit a jersey wall is pretty good.
One of the problems with running with the SCCA was that it was divided into competitive classes. The stock class didn't allow any modifications. Common mods like aftermarket wheels or exhaust put you into a much more competitive class. Of course if you were just competing for fun, or to see how well you could do, it probably didn't matter. Serious competitors would scrutinize the classes to see which cars would have a better chance of winning, or at least have fewer competitors. I once competed in class all by myself as the only class entry, and was determined to be the winner of my class! I still have the sticker!
There were inside displays; an indoor car show, more vendors and a model car show. I didn't bother to check out any of these venues.
There was a car corral, where everybody thought that their old car was made of gold, instead of rusty metal.
I saw a few cars that interested me. A '58 Cadillac Sedan De Ville. It was green inside and out. It reminded me of my '57 Cadillac back in 1979. At least in it's condition. It was a complete, straight, original survivor. Just like my '57. The asking price for this car was 20,000 dollars. A popular asking price, it seems.
A '73 Cadillac limousine. This car was just interesting to look at, I wouldn't actually consider actually buying something like this. The price was then irrelevant.
A '68 Mustang V8 coupe. A nice clean green car. This was kind of like what I had wanted to build with my '70. At least this one had a V8. I didn't bother looking at the price.
A '36 Ford truck. The truck looked pretty good, finished to a driver level, but the seller was asking 20,000 dollars also. Maybe these guys would be willing to deal, maybe not.
What really caught my eye was a stock '64 Buick Riviera. It was originally white. It had been resprayed some time in the past and some areas were buffed off for patina. It was very straight, complete and clean. The interior only had a couple of split seams. There was only a bit of rust bulge visible on the lower left corner of the rear window. There was a bit of light rust around the edge of almost every chrome piece. The owner was a nice guy in his late thirties of early forties, he told me that he had bought it in So Cal. Overall, it wasn't a bad car, I could see myself owning it and bringing it back up to snuff,
Except for the price! 16,000 dollars. That was his asking price. I could buy a restored car from an ROA member for twice that price. To me, this was a five to six thousand dollar car. If it ran well and had better paint it might inch up closer to seven or eight grand, maybe. But not from me. Of course I didn't badger him about the price, but we did have a nice chat about the car.
I know that lot's of guys bring their cars for sale hoping to flip them for a big profit. I've brought three cars to these shows just trying to sell them. My '56 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, my '66 Riviera, and my '22 Dodge lakes roadster project, Man, I couldn't give that Dodge away! And I really tried! None of them sold, and I wasted two days with the Dodge.
Of course one of the attractions were the "participant's" cars, parked around the fairgrounds. Many of the participant's cars were also wearing for sale signs. The owners might not really be looking to sell their cars, But if somebody wanted to pay their price...
A couple caught my eye. One was a '29 Model A roadster that was immaculate and show ready. It was built by Vern Tardel, who is well known in the period correct, traditional Ford Hot Rod community. It was beautifully done. The flathead engine had finned Edelbrock heads, multiple carbs and a five speed transmission. The detailing and paint were flawless, just like the chrome and the nice smelling leather upholstery. Price? 59,000 dollars. Yeah, that is a lot, but this is a car that you'd never have to make excuses for, and it's already done. You couldn't build a car like this unless you had several years to spend on the project, plus a lot of know how, and maybe even more money! And best of all, for us old guys, was that you could enjoy it Today. Before you kick the bucket! That may sound a bit cruel, but it's really an important consideration. A guy could own that car, cross it off their bucket list, and sell it a few years down the road if they chose. It wouldn't have gotten many miles added, and it might have even gone up in value. 59K, that's the price of a new Lincoln Aviator. Sure it's expensive, but it's not unattainable like that Urus.
Another car that caught my eye, was a Cadillac XLR convertible, red with a tan interior. The XLR is a Cadillac /Corvette hybrid, with Art and Science body styling. These were quite expensive when new, but this one was going for 20K or OBO. This was a nice, clean, and shiny car. Since the mechanical bits are shared with the Corvette, parts and service shouldn't be a problem. And it has a folding hard top convertible roof. None of that darn complicated, Jaguar 12 cylinder or troublesome Nikasil alloy V8 timing chain nonsense.
And don't forget the food. I'd been craving a corn dog for a very long time, but I couldn't find any for sale close to my house. The one that I bought was 10.00, but very good. Especially when slathered with mustard. Of course I thought that it was kind of expensive, but eating at an event is always expensive.
So did I draw any conclusions after my afternoon at GoodGuys?
I suppose the main question that I kept asking myself is if I even belong at an event like this... anymore.
I do have an affinity for old cars and I can relate to them. It's just that the hobby has morphed into something that is almost unrecognizable to (cheap) old guys like me. It used to be about having fun with inexpensive old cars. Now it's become the fetish-ization of certain models from certain eras. Pre War Fords were once cheap, they were plentiful, they were the available canvas that poor car guys worked with, to fashion something that they could build and own, and could be proud of.
Then the torch got passed to '50's cars, then '60's cars, then muscle cars. Some guys moved on, some guys held on. A lot depends on when you got started in the hobby.
Maybe it was always that way. There are the diehards that want to promote and hold on to the old days, and the old ways. Then there are those that move forward to new platforms. Newer platforms that are more available, cheaper and even better.
Most of the hobby's icons have become prohibitively expensive, and require a real depth of commitment to play in that field. You really have to know what will make you happy in the long run.
I once wrote that everyone can, and should, participate in the automotive hobby on their own terms. The guys with the late model Mustangs, Camaros, Challengers and Chargers. They're chasing the late models, just like we did in the past. Just like the late model Corvette fans. Corvettes of every year have always been part of the hobby. Those two guys with the late model Cadillacs in the parking lot. The guys that I met in the fairgrounds, with the slammed CT6 and supercharged Chrysler 300. The guy that ran his Tesla through the autocross. They're doing their own thing, nothing wrong with that. In fact, everything is exactly right with that.
There isn't anybody out there telling me what my participation in the car hobby should look like. I've had my history with plenty of old cars, I had my fling with Hondas and Datsuns. I gave the Jaguar thing a shot, now I'm turning my interest in the "Vintage Lite" direction. That's been my choice to make, I could have held onto any one of my old cars. I could have chosen to concentrate my efforts and resources on having just one desirable vintage car.
But I didn't, and chances are likely that I probably won't.