Goodguys has officially turned up the heat on the 2018 event season, as the 13th Nashville Nationals just wrapped up two whirlwind days of sun-filled, tire-smokin’, gear-shiftin’, showin’ and shinin’ action at Nissan Stadium in Music City!
There’s always been something special about the Nashville Nationals. Its proximity to downtown Nashville and the District give this event a personality like no other, with the beautiful city skyline as a backdrop! Plus, the sounds of world-class music and smells of fantastic Tennessee BBQ drifting across the Cumberland River to engage your senses. As for the sights – well, they’re second to none, with thousands of the best hot rods, vintage trucks, customs, muscle cars, and classics from the central and southern US converging on the spacious stadium grounds to provide a chrome-and-color-filled feast for the eyes!
An added highlight of the Nashville Nationals is the annual Hot Rod of the Year competition sponsored by Tanks Inc. More than just a beauty contest, this honor was conceived to celebrate street-driven pre-’49 rides that keep the attitude and spirit of hot rodding alive – cars that not only look great, but also have the proven performance to back up those looks. To that end, the competition involves a real-world reliability run and blasts down a legit dragstrip, complete with burnouts.
The 2018 Hot Rod of the Year lineup was as impressive as ever, with more than 30 cars embarking on Friday’s 150-mile run to Holley Performance Products, the National Corvette Museum and Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. By the end of the day Friday, the Top Five finalists had been determined – Bob and Chrissy Gratton’s ’32 Ford coupe, Sean Black’s ’32 Ford roaster, David and Brenda Lurding’s ’32 Ford roadster, David Martin’s ’31 Ford Model A roadster, and Brian Cruz’s ’32 Ford roadster.
After further deliberations and judging on Saturday, David Martin’s Model A roadster was announced the 2018 Tanks Inc. Hot Rod of the Year at the Saturday evening awards ceremony. A most impressive car with an even more interesting history, Martin has owned his roadster 35 years and guided it through three incarnations, the latest of which – performed by Scott Bonowski and his team at Hot Rods & Hobbies – earned the Model A the prestigious America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award at the 2018 Grand National Roadster Show. Watch for a full feature on good-guys.com on Monday.
The hot rods weren’t the only vehicles banging gears and burning rubber. There was full-throttle action on the AutoCross course for two days straight, culminating in the Music City Mayhem Shootout Saturday evening. Nearly 100 cars battled it out Friday and Saturday, dodging cones to make the 16-car shootout field presented by Optima Batteries. The final winning roster included Robby Unser (PRO), Brian Finch (Street Machine & Optima Shootout Runner Up), Jason Brady (Truck) and Joe Gregory (Optima Shootout Winner).
Back in the car show area, longtime hot rod builder Bobby Alloway was busy selecting the Builder’s Choice Top 10 awards – no easy feat considering all the fine iron assembled. We think you’ll like his picks. We also selected finalists for four of our regional Top 12 awards. The Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year finalist selection went to Bruce Ricks’ newly-debuted ’63½ Ford Galaxie, while Danielle Lutz’s ’34 Ford took the Scott’s Hot Rods Truck of the Year Early finalist nod. The MSD Muscle Car of the Year finalist pick was Chet Biggers’ ’70 AAR Cuda, and Greg Callahan went home with the Griot’s Garage Muscle Machine of the Year finalist honor with his ’72 Camaro. Other award highlights included the PPG Dream Car pick going to the ’53 Studebaker of Ken Evans and Blaine Goitia winning the social media voting for the Goolsby Customs YoungGuys Award with his ’67 Dodge A100 van.
This year’s new two-day format in Nashville made for a rapid-fire affair – it felt like we had the throttle to the floor from Thursday evening’s kickoff party at Advanced Plating straight through to the Saturday evening awards ceremony. We even had the event open until 8pm Saturday to keep the party rolling as long as possible. There was plenty to keep participants and spectators busy, too, from multiple rumblings of the Nitro Thunderfest, to live bands on the Hunters Custom show stage, a spacious swap meet, scores of parts vendors, kids activities, and much more. Indeed, it seems like 13 was a lucky number for the Nashville Nationals – check out the coverage and we’re sure you’ll agree.