Charlotte, NC – It will be a weekend of “show” and “go” Oct. 26-28 at Charlotte Motor Speedway as the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association presents the 19th annual Southeastern Nationals, bringing more than 2,500 classic American hot rods and custom cars to the superspeedway.
The giant event is sensory overload to car buffs as thousands of early Ford and Chevy hot rods, elaborate custom cars and big-motor muscle cars spread out across the historic 1.5-mile oval.
The colorful cars, painted in a variety of candy hues with layers of chrome, showcase a magical glimpse into yesteryear when American automobiles were made of steel, had carburetors and could be worked on in the driveway. All cars on grounds on Friday and Saturday are required to be 1972 or older, preserving the “classic” era of automobiles. On Sunday, however, event organizers will swing open the gates to any American-made or American-powered car, showcasing modern era muscle machines like the new era Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro just to name a few. It’s no secret that Detroit’s “big three” have made a strong push to reconnect consumers to the muscle cars of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
By welcoming new generations of cars and car enthusiasts to their events on Sundays, the northern California-based Goodguys Rod & Custom Association has seen a surge in both attendance and buzz.
“We’re seeing generations of car guys and gals able to come out and show their cars together as a family,” said Harry Davies, event director for all 20 Goodguys events throughout the country. “All Goodguys are car guys at heart. This new Super Sunday format has further broadened the scope of our events allowing as many as six or seven generations of car people to participate in a an event.”
Another buzz worthy topic these days in the vintage car scene is the re-birth of the American muscle car. The latest trend is blending race track technology into muscle cars from the 1960s and ‘70s. Adding race engines, race suspensions and flashy bright paint jobs to big bodied, V8 powered relics is all the rage. Besides showing and displaying them at events like the Southeastern Nationals, event participants are more than willing to flog them around an Autocross course to “see what they’ll do.” In most cases the results are astounding.
“The American Muscle Car is a whole new breed,” said Ed Capen, an industry authority on Autocross. “Autocross was a very popular activity for sports cars like MGs, Datsuns, Lotus and Mazdas in the 1970s. It was a sports car activity sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America. Now muscle cars and street machines are right in the mix. We’ve seen interest in Autocrossing explode in recent years at our events. At the 19th Southeastern Nationals, demand will be so high we’ll run the cars all weekend where as last year we only ran on Friday and Saturday. We expect at least 400 to make runs in the Autocross.”
An entire segment of the automotive aftermarket industry has blossomed with the new found excitement to make a bulky, heavy American muscle car – essentially designed for drag strip performance – corner like a Porsche. “We’ve seen dozens of companies formed to cater to performance muscle cars,” Capen said.
One of those companies is Mooresville, N.C.-based Detroit Speed and Engineering. Company founders Kyle and Stacy Tucker not only manufacture complete suspension systems for vintage Fords and Chevys, they complete voraciously on America’s Autocross circuits. Currently, Kyle and Stacy are deadlocked in a second place tie in series points for the Goodguys Autocross PRO Class Championship.
The 19th annual Goodguys Southeastern Nationals runs Oct. 26-28, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online at www.good-guys.com or at the gate on event days. Adult tickets are $18 per day. Tickets for children 13 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking is $5.
Information about the Goodguys Southeastern Nationals may be obtained by calling Goodguys at (925) 838-9876 or the Charlotte Motor Speedway events department at (704) 455-3205 or online at www.good-guys.com or www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.