If you were to script the perfect hot rod weekend, it would have looked a lot like our 17th Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals which brought over 2,700 vintage show cars and thousands of fans to the scenic Del Mar Fairgrounds on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The weather was the best we have ever seen here – not a cloud in the sky all three days! The old Del Mar slogan “Where the turf meets the surf” took on a different tack as the Nation’s finest tricked out rides put on a show that won’t soon be forgotten. Our weekend slogan was a little more like “Where the rods meet the sod!”
Engines started rumbling Thursday for the Over the Hill Gang Poker Run which took us on a scenic day’s drive to kick things off. A new route this year lit the wick for the big weekend. Our sincere thanks to the club for going all in!
The unquestioned highlight of the Del Mar Nationals has always been the scenery and the quality of cars here. This year’s crop of contenders for the 2017 Goodguys/March Performance Street Rod d’Elegance was the best we have ever seen. The AMBR winner, the Ridler winner, a fresh Cadillac phantom from Chip Foose and Wes Rydell, a fresh build from Kenny’s Rod Shop, and a homebuilt Chrysler Airflow comprised the top five finalists. Inside the saddling paddock Sunday afternoon, Bruce Wanta’s coach built “Mulholland Speedster” was crowned the d’Elegance winner adding more accolades for the year’s most talked about car. Read all about the spectacular winner HERE
With the country’s highest quality show cars in from all corners of the country, there was a lot more hardware to be handed out. A fresh ’56 Nomad from G3 Rods captured the Custom Rod of the Year finalist award while Rich Tillema’s radical ’61 Chevy Blazer grabbed the Truck of the Year-Late spot. Tony Arme’s ’32 Ford hot rod red pickup snagged Truck of the Year-Early honors while the radical “Viscous ‘Stang” by Timeless Customs raced its way to the Muscle Machine of the Year finalist award.
The final Top 12 regional finalist to be selected here was the yellow ’68 Plymouth Hemi Roadrunner of Walt and Tina Dias, which captured the Muscle Car of the Year finalist spot. Not only that – custom paint maestro Charley Hutton was in the house to select his top 10 for the Builder’s Choice awards!
On the track it was a fast and frenetic pace all weekend. The AutoCross racers upped their game with each trip around the cones, giving the fans all they wanted! With the drifting sand, it took a while to get the pavement sticky but once they hooked up, it was on. Weekend winners included: PRO – Casey Cronin ’72 Corvette (43.081), Truck – Bill Kinsman, ’72 Bronco (45.703), Hot Rod – Dennis Russell, ’33 Factory Five Ford (48.030), and Street Machine – Rick Juno, ’68 Camaro (43.919).
Take all that action and roll in the bustling midways, indoor exhibit building stuffed with cars and vendor booths, a stacked swap meet, Saturday’s specialty parking areas, and constant cruising and you have a basic picture of what the mechanical madness was like here. It was so much fun, it will hold us over until we meet again next spring. See you then!