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Goodguys 24th West Coast Nationals • August 27-29, 2010
story and photos by Dennis Sammon

California Dreamin’. That’s more dreaming of making this show, on August 27-29, 2010 the Goodguys West Coast Nationals were taking place and I was on schedule to go. I know there are a lot of shows out there, and you’ve heard about my favorites before. This has always been on my list to attend, and hot dog, I could finally make it!

San Jose was the landing spot Friday, and after checking in, grabbing the camera and sunglasses, I was off to Pleasanton, about 45 minutes away. I made it in time for everything to close up, but was still able to look around a bit before sundown. Got the directions down, so I could jump on it early the next day. Early I was; up at 4:00am, and at the show by 5, armed and ready. It was a bit breezy and chilly that morning. 55 degrees to be exact with 30 mph winds. Crazy, but nice. The morning offered nice enough temps to utilize my F L A Roadsters sweatshirt.

The show area was just super. Palm trees, shade trees, paved roads weaving thru the whole Alameda County Fairgrounds perfect for cruising, and they even had a restaurant on the grounds offering a breakfast buffet. Good thing, as I needed to bulk up knowing I was in for a long day of hoofing it. Now, of course they had all the normal Fair food vendors available too….just to keep you regular. During breakfast I managed to meet some nice guys, that oddly enough turned out to be Roadster guys. After sharing a table and topless (roadster) stories, we were off in different directions. I had some serious ground to cover. By the end of the day my feet agreed I had seen all 80 acres of cars.

Now the first thing I like to hit is the swap meet. I was surprised, not many swap vendors for this size of show. I thought it would be huge like the LA Roadsters Father Day show in Pomona. After buying a few trinkets I was off to look at what cars where for sale. The car corral was small as well, with only about 100 cars. Some good deals, some not so good. But all rust free. They had about 4 or 5 buildings with vendors in them, nicely stuffed with all the usual hot rod companies. Inside at Brizio’s booth sat an incredible Deuce Vicky hiboy. Green, riding on what looked to be Curtis Machining knockoffs, sporting an all aluminum (blown) flathead with Ardun heads. REALLY nice! Jorge Zaragoza out of El Paso, Texas owns it.

Outside one of the main buildings was the RPM Rod Shop out of Warrendale, Pennsylvania. The Model A they had on display had some of the coolest craftsmanship I’d seen at the show, and buddy, there were a lot of craftsmen represented. It was covered in tan with black accents, running a 331 Hemi tucked between the frame rails. Not overly flashy, and not a color I would have picked, but wow, if you get a chance check this thing out. It just so happen it was last years Goodguys 2009 Street Rod of the Year. Surprise.

Another cool ride was certainly the biggest of the show. It was a ’54 Chevy Cab-Over “Tourliner”, with home-built living quarters attached to it. Built completely by Russ Moen out of Canada, eh! With the glossy black paint and awesome blonde wood on the art deco interior, it was certainly an attention getter. Dual wheels on the late model diesel chassis made for a comfy ride. Speaking of trucks, how about Tom Stephens pickup, “Vendetta”. What started out as a ’48 Ford pickup cab, strap on a ’37 LaSalle front end, and you’ve got one wicked looking ride. Nissens Hot Rod Garage built it, wrapped it in mustard yella paint with craftsmanship oozing out of everywhere. Talk about custom. Check this thing out at

While wandering around I ran across my roadster hero, Dave Schaub, of the “49 in 9” fame. Not familiar with him? He’s the guy that took on all 49 states in the continental US. Yes drove all of them in 9 days! Actually 8 days and 16 hours, that covered 9,856 miles! He was raising money for the Ronald McDonald House of Stanford, Ca. Check him out and his route online at Truly an incredible feat.

On the show grounds they had the Deuce Doin’s gathering. There were some great rides on display. Tons of 32’s were placed out there in the beautiful grassy area. One that stood out among the hundreds of deuces was Paul Gommi’s blown 21 stud Flathead powered Phaeton. Jet black, running the factory optional 20-inch steel wheels. This ’32 had more rare options and do-dads than I’ve ever seen. Sporting side curtains and no fenders rounded out a neat package. A very “optioned” package.

After Saturdays activities were done, it was time to head to the hotel, soak in the hot tub and relax. After a long hard day of hoofing it, my dogs were tired. And yet, we still had Sunday to go! Originally I wasn’t planning on hitting Sundays show, but I couldn’t help it. I had to have more of northern California’s car scene. Oddly I didn’t see many southern Cal cars. But still there were plenty to check out....and drool over.

Put the Goodguys West Coast Nationals on your list. You won’t be disappointed. A few thousand cool cars up to ’72, and 99% of them were jam up! No kidding. No stuffed crying kid dolls anywhere. No neon lights. Even the 6 or 7 rat rods that showed up were slick. The show consists of mostly street rods, with some sleds and small amount of muscle cars thrown in for good measure. A perfect mixture. So if you find yourself on the Left Coast around late August, you gotta go. Be sure to hit the west coast a week before to take advantage of all the shop tours Goodguys are involved with leading up to the Pleasanton show.

While I was in the area I was able to visit the Goodies Speed Shop in downtown San Jose. A cool old time speed shop that’s been there since the 60’s, complete with a gasser style Dodge van with zoomies as their delivery van. A full repair and restoration shop is behind it. Check it out and say hey to the great guys behind the counter, Chappy, Dan and Bill, who gave us a great tour of the facility and filled us in on the local cruises. Another stop on my agenda, I had to check out Brizio’s Street Rods in So. San Francisco. Nice guys and real nice rides in construction. Some projects being worked on for people you’ve heard of, John Mumford, Eric Clapton, Neil Young and others that can afford the killer quality and name that Brizio brings to the table. Make a stop there for sure, and pick up a set of Sanderson Headers while in the neighborhood, they’re right next door.

I hope you enjoyed the tale of my travels to California, and I hope you can make a trip out soon. Take care and keep it on the streets, safely!   -Dennis Sammon • F L A Roadsters