The 26th East Coast Nationals was large on spirit, sights and sounds as New Yorker’s and Northeast hot rodders blanketed the Dutchess County Fairgrounds with chrome, color and cubic inches. They like their cars loud back here! The two-day event format seemed to be popular offering 25 hours of fast paced fun.
Unlike year’s prior, this year’s Rhinebeck run featured spectacular conditions with mild temps and dry pavement all weekend. The fairgrounds were in pristine shape and old cars just seem to enhance this 100-year old facility on the outskirts of town. Making the participant’s drive here all the more enjoyable, every car that comes from the west crosses the massive Hudson River over the Rhinecliff Bridge adding awe inspiring views on the drive in.
Saturday’s action was full throttle from the opening bell. Over 1,200 cars streamed in throughout the morning then the crowds came flowing in. So many families were spotted checking out the scene. The little ones were just as revved up as the big kids.
The infield area was ground zero as the sprawling acres featured all seven special parking areas and the highlight of the entire event – the winner’s circle! While plenty of cars were picked on Friday, the bulk of the award winners were selected throughout the day Saturday. It was fun to watch the cars stream in with proud smiles from the owners. Their hard work and elbow grease paid off! Mark Giambalvo of Pennsylvania’s Creative Rod & Custom selected the Top 10 (Builder’s Choice awards) and nailed the selections!
Highlight cars included Lenny Ferrari’s 1968 Plymouth GTX which bagged the finalist honors for the Goodguys 2018 MSD Muscle Car of the Year, Eric Boily’s 1971 El Camino, a gnarly 540c.i. V8 powered beast which was selected as the Goodguys 2018 LMC Truck of the Year-Late. Another beauty which you will see a full feature on in a future issue of our magazine was Marie Updegrave’s ’49 Chevy Fleetline which bagged the Gazette Pick.
If tire smoking madness was your desire, Saturday’s burnout competition was literally insane! 8 cars (including a mini ride-along Willys) put on a smoke show for the ages. The winner was Peter Newell’s red ’69 Camaro who blasted clouds of serious smoke drawing the lagrest applause from the masses gathered along the fence line.
As you can see in our gallery below, plenty of other wonderful winners graced the green in the trophy ring. The fans were thick around the cars throughout the day, culminating with the Saturday evening awards ceremony.
Just before dark, everyone packed up and rolled out, capping another epic East Coast Nationals. The entire Goodguys team thanks everyone in this region who came out to support the show!