When Gary and Marilyn Meadors started hosting car shows in 1983, they wanted to offer a space for car aficionados to come together. After over 30 years, Goodguys events continue to be popular among those who share a passion for classic cars and trucks, hot rods and custom vehicles.

The Goodguys season will close with the Southwest Nationals at WestWorld of Scottsdale, Nov. 17-19.

The Goodguys Rod and Custom Association puts on 19 shows in different parts of the country, two of which take place in Scottsdale.

“It’s a really strong, vibrant car culture out there,” said Betsy Bennett, communications director for Goodguys.

The Scottsdale event offers something for all different ages, including the outdoor car show, a used-auto-parts swap meet, a model and pedal car show, a dragster exhibition, live music, a for-sale vehicle area, a kids zone with crafts and games and a vendor midway.

Over 3,000 vehicles are on display during the show, which is open to classic, muscle and custom cars and trucks made through 1972.

Participants come from different parts of Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Ohio and California to attend the show.

Bennett said the Scottsdale events have grown over the years but continue to provide a similar type of community for car enthusiasts.

“Our founder Gary Meadors, his whole thing was he just wanted to have a place where people who loved cars could hang out with other people who loved cars. He loved the passion that people have for their cars,” Bennett said. “That’s really the foundation of our company, just keeping that passion going and getting people together to enjoy the cars, preserving that history of the American automobile.”

All of the vehicles have their own stories of who has owned them, how the current owners found them and what their owners did to restore them. Bennett said that the owners love to share their vehicles’ histories with others.

This year, the car show will honor the 50th anniversary of the Chevrolet Camaro with a special area dedicated to the iconic sports car. It also has a special section for Tri-Five Chevys made from 1955 to 1957.

During the show, attendees can see the top 12 cars and trucks in different categories.

Throughout the year, car owners competed in categories such as Muscle Car of the Year, Street Machine of the Year, Custom of the Year, Street Rod D’ Elegance, Truck of the Year-Late (’53 through 72) and Hot Rod of the Year.

Bennett said some vehicle owners design their vehicles specifically for certain categories of competition.  

This year’s field of top cars includes a 1936 Mulholland Speedster.  

During the Southwest Nationals, Goodguys will give out the final top 12 awards in the Autocrosser of the Year and Truck of the Year-Early (through ’52) categories.

As part of the Duel in the Desert Autocrosser of the Year competition, car owners will try to maneuver their vehicles around cones in a faster time than their opponents.  

During the show, judges also give out another 80 awards in categories such as coolest custom or hottest rod.  

A number of longtime participants in the car show are part of local car clubs.

This year, Goodguys will feature the Phoenix chapter of the Over the Hill Gang car club, the show’s host car club from 1998 to 2016.

The club specializes in pre-’59 hot and street rods. Members of the club travel to different parts of the country to attend car shows together.  

Larry Besore, a member of Over the Hill Gang since 1998 and a past president, said the club has more of a presence when members attend car shows as a group.

“We come in 10, 15, 20 cars at a time. We all wear yellow shirts, the Over the Hill Gang shirts. It’s pretty special…We just enjoy being together like that and the camaraderie,” Besore said.

Besore grew up watching his father work on cars and started tinkering with his own vehicles in high school. Like many others in the club, the car enthusiast has customized his vehicle, a 1938 Dodge Coupe, with personalized touches such as a decorative horn button.

Many club members spend years working on their cars and continually add new parts, such as gauges, wheels or upholstery that fit with their personal preferences. 

The members of the club meet every month and help each other work on and find parts for their vehicles.  

“Some of us have the same cars or the same engines, so there’s always another opinion and also a lot of help when you’re building something, something breaks. All I have to do is call, and I get three guys over to help me, and I’ve gone over to help a lot of people,” Besore said.

Goodguys Southwest Nationals

When: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, November 17-18. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, November 19.

Where: WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale.

Admission: $17 presale admission, $20 at the door, $6 for children 7 to 12, free for children 6 and younger, $5 off admission for military personnel, $5 for parking.



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