A cornucopia of classic cars is set to roll into Scottsdale this weekend.
The 11th annual Goodguys Southwest Nationals will begin at 8 a.m. Friday at WestWorld, 16601 N. Pima Road.
When it concludes at 3 p.m. Sunday, an estimated 70,000 people are expected to have passed through the gates to see what are hailed as the top customized cars and hot rods in the nation by the California-based rod and custom association.
The show, which will feature about 3,000 cars and trucks from 1972 and earlier, is the grand finale of 24 Goodguys-sponsored shows throughout the United States during the year for the 25-year-old association, said John Drummond, the show’s spokesman.
“These are the finest cars in the country right here,” Drummond said. “Even during tough economic times, this is a joyous occasion. This is a passion-based event because everyone wants to be here to show and see the cars. Even when gas was spiking at $3.70 a gallon in July, people kept coming to the shows from all over the country. We’re pretty excited about this show.”
For the first time at the show, the “Terrific 12” — the group’s selected top custom, hot rods and street machines. Combined, the cars are valued at about $4 million, according to Drummond. One of them — a metallic blue 1932 three-window Ford Coupe — is owned by Joseph Schott of Phoenix. Schott, 59, who has fixed and restored cars since high school, has owned the coupe for four years and has been babying it since.
“It’s quite an honor to be here,” Schott said.
The car’s custom grille, its LS1 Corvette Engine and a license plate that reads MYGIRL1 are just three of the main features that help the sleek machine stand out.
Some of the “Terrific 12” selections, such as Gordon Peters’ 1956 Chevy Handi Man Station Wagon, however, had to undergo quite a fine-tuning before it was selected as the custom rod of the year by the group. Peters, 65, of Sunfish, Minn., was polishing the cinnamon and copper-colored wagon outside the WestWorld tent on Thursday, and was proud to show off a photo album filled with pictures that showed the restoration process.
It was a restoration project that Peters completed in March after slightly more than three years. Some of the early pictures he took showed the car’s front fender riddled with bullet holes and jagged metal edges around the wheel wells.
The wagon, which was used to carry rocks, logs and dirt to build trails, was retired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Idaho, Peters said. The wagon now has 1,141 customized parts and 140 body modifications, he said.
“This keeps me off the couch at night,” Peters said of his passion for restoring cars. “It keeps me engaged. You have to have a hobby. I enjoy the people and competition. If I didn’t stay engaged, I would get old.”