Before Ernie Oakes retired from his governmental position, he moved frequently, often to unfamiliar towns. There was always one thing he could rely on to meet friends: the hotrod community.
“When I moved from Salem, Oregon, to Kansas City, I knew nobody,” says Oakes, who now lives in Anthem. “I had my ’47 Chevy convertible. I’d go to a cruise-in on Saturday night and the next thing I knew I had 10 to 15 new friends. If you’re a hotrodder, you’re always a hotrodder.”
For the last 34 years, Oakes bolstered his circle of friends with Goodguys, a large, outdoor “cool cars, cool people and good times” event featuring more than 3,000 hotrods, custom cars, classics, muscle cars and trucks through 1987 vintage. The Goodguys 21st Southwest Nationals Car Show Friday, November 16, to Sunday, November 18, at WestWorld of Scottsdale.
“The Southwest Nationals is different from the spring event,” says Betsy Bennett, director of public relations for the event series. “The March event is the beginning of our season and the November event is the finale. Scottsdale is a special place for us.”
Guests can also browse and shop the vast collection of vendor displays, and engage like-minded enthusiasts at the swap meet and car corral. Goodguys has become the definitive name for hotrod and custom car shows along with autocross racing. Founded by Gary Meadors as a platform for showcasing the classic and hotrod culture, the business is now run by his son, Marc Meadors.
Oakes, who is bringing his ’69 Buick Skylark and ’52 Chevy pickup to WestWorld, was good friends with Gary Meadors.
“We became great friends,” says Oakes, 71. “It wasn’t an obligation, but I wanted it to continue to be successful. I help them set up events; it’s just a passion.”
He has been involved in hotrodding most of his life. A Southern California native, he went cruising and drag racing until he had a family and funds were tight.
“When things started to get better financially, I started street rodding again,” says Oakes, whose parents bought him his first car, a ’57 Chevy. “That’s where my passion lies.”
Oakes says he’s always been impressed with the kindness of Goodguys’ participants.
“You can see great classic cars and meet great people,” he says. “You can see the owner and ask him about his car and they’ll tell you everything about it. You may not go away for a while, but it’s a great family event.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a millionaire or you have a nothing car. Everyone at Goodguys is a good guy. That’s where it got its name.”
Goodguys 21st Southwest Nationals Car Show WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale, 925.838.9876, good-guys.com/swn-2018, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, November 16, and Saturday, November 17, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, November 18, $20, $6 for kids 7 to 12, free for children 6 and younger. Discounts available online.
How to enjoy Goodguys
There is a slew of entertainment at the Goodguys 21st Southwest National Car Show. Here are some of the events.
→ Vendor exhibits and vendor midway
→Giant swap meet and cars for sale corral
→The Top 12 Cars of the Year presented by Meguiar’s and Snap-On
→Saturday specialty parkin areas featuring the Tri Five Chevy corral, Camaro corral, Homebuilt Heaven and more
→Goodguys AutoCross racing competition
→The Duel in the Desert AutoCross Finals Shootout on Saturday
→ Model & Pedal
→ Musical entertainment
→Fuelcurve.com Nitro Thunderfest Dragster Exhibition on Friday and Saturday
→Kids’ zone – featuring the PPG coloring contest, arts and crafts and fun for little ones.
→Spectre Performance All American Sunday. Open to all years, American-made and -powered vehicles
→ Awards ceremony at 2:22 p.m. Sunday