California dreamin’ was a reality the first weekend of October in the sunny seaside hamlet of Del Mar. Three days of ocean view cruising at Goodguys’ 1st Meguiar’s SoCal Nationals, presented by BASF, was a roaring success.
The Del Mar Fairgrounds near San Diego is the perfect venue for an outdoor show and fans from near and far brought their rods, muscle cars, and customs to bask in the still-sunny fall weather. Del Mar is such a perfect backdrop for a Goodguys show, they added this second show for the 2022 season.
Del Mar translates to “Of The Sea” in Spanish, and the town is a small but wealthy enclave located on the Pacific Ocean in San Diego County. Founded in 1959, the little town is known for horse racing, beach culture, and car shows. With a population of under 5000, it has a carefully curated small-town feel and charm.
Not only is Southern California a bellwether state for culture and the latest trends, but it’s the epicenter of the region’s car hobby. Along with all the cool rides, the show featured burly AutoCross racers, woodies, street trucks, sexy sports cars, and cruising around on Del Mar’s palm-tree-lined lanes. There was even an indoor display of Dubs and lowrider mini trucks. Variety is the spice of life, and Goodguys Del Mar had it in droves.
Speaking of variety, the Saturday Specialty Parking Areas enabled casual car entrants to gain recognition. The Builder’s Choice was a fierce battleground, with scores of machines vying for a coveted Builder’s Choice Top 10 selection. We’d hate to be a judge at Goodguys because the show draws the top builders from around the country, and the officials have their work cut out for them designating winners.
The big victories at the show were as follows: Snap-on Muscle Car of the Year – Jim Sofios’ 1970 SS Chevelle – plus finalists for the two Chevrolet Performance Builder of the Year awards – SIC Chops’ ’56 Chevy Pickup earning the GM Iron finalist spot, and a ’36 Ford Roadster sporting LS6 power picking up the GM Retro Iron for Barry’s Speed Shop. The Goodguys media team also selected a Fuel Curve Pick and Goodguys Feature Pick – Jason Fonte’s ’59 Apache, which was resurrected from the 2018 Northern California Camp Fire that burned more than 150,000 acres, including the town of Paradise (where the truck was located) was chosen for the Fuel Curve pick, and David Tumino’s owner-built ’60 Ford crew cab picked up the Goodguys Feature Pick.
The ground shook at the Goodguys CPP AutoCross Series as well, with a host of West Coast speed demons taking the track for some high-velocity tarmac torture. In the Speedtech Performance, PRO-X class Keith Corrigan won the class with the fastest time in his ’55 T-Bird, but it was Wed Drelleshak driving a ’65 Corvette earning the AutoMeter Pacific Coast Shootout victory.
In the rest of the classes, it was all double-up victories with Eric Sheeley dominating the Summit Racing PRO class in a ’72 Corvette, Bill Graves, Sr. piloting his ’66 Corvette to wins in the Forgeline Street Machine class, Eric Sheeley again claiming double wins in the LMC Truck class driving a ’62 Ranchero, Scott Fraser continuing his streak in the Gearstar Sports Car class behind the wheel of his ’89 Corvette, and Keenan Smith winning the FiTech Challenger class in his ’65 Mustang. During the Tremec All-American Sunday action, it was a split decision with Jonathan Pickford winning the class in his 2020 Tesla, but Brandon Thurman edged him out in the shootout in a 2022 Tesla.
We especially like the old-time main street feel of the Goodguys Del Mar fairgrounds. Strolling through the grounds, the venue percolates with the smell of popcorn and the exhaust of hundreds of past events. We also love communing with our car culture brothers and sisters on the funky faux main street. With the world getting crazier by the day, having a custom car reprieve for even a few hours is like chicken soup for the soul.
For now, we bid farewell to Del Mar and will return after a spin around the sun. We are amazed at how well presented each Goodguys event is. We wanted to say thanks to the folks at Goodguys for the hard work and grit it takes to put on one of these events. Kudos to Goodguys! See you next year!!