Goodguys Del Mar Nationals – Palm Trees and Hi Performance
For our money, the Goodguys Del Mar Nationals is one of the top five car events in the western United States. The seaside village erupts with color, chrome, sunshine and excitement each April bringing car crazy gear heads of all ages together at the scenic Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Being 90 miles south of the Los Angeles Basin, the Del Mar region has a relaxed vibe, less traffic and when you’re here it really does feel like a vacation. But the horsepower and thunder generated by over 2,500 classic cars and hot rods cut through that chill vibe to energize the whole town. Locals, visitors and scenesters flock to the fairgrounds. Lots of them!
It kind of ironic that all these ponies are on hand at one of horse racing’s premier facilities. It’s a spectacular event grounds with a giant two way “main street” running right down the center of the event which makes it ideal for cruising. And cruise they do.
More than other Goodguys shows, the Del Mar Nationals has numerous specialty exhibits and event attractions that set it apart. Inside the main building is the competition for Goodguys Street Rod d’ Elegance awards where the country’s top 1949 and earlier cars square off for the title. But the Goodguys/PPG Lowrider Palace sucked us in deep. Over 75 custom lowriders laid out for the crowd with clubs from all over San Diego in the house.
Out on the west lot, things get hot and heavy with the Goodguys AutoCross in full swing. Bruce Cambern’s original AC Cobra, RideTech’s new Track One ’70 Camaro, David Carroll’s LS3 powered Datsun Z car, Rob Phillips’ C-10 and the list goes on. They were throwing it down hard out there and the crowd was digging it.
Fans of the sweet smell of nitro methane were in luck too. The Goodguys “Nitro Thunderfest” brought together seven era-correct front engine top fuel dragsters to pound the ground. Tommy Allen’s “Watchdog”, the “Poison Ivy” and other iconic So-Cal tire fryers gave the fans a full dose.
This event really does have it all. And after they leave the show, the quaint village of Del Mar offers all the nightlife you could ask for. Not only that, you’re literally walking distance to the beach and Pacific Ocean from the fairgrounds.
Through these pictures you can clearly see why Goodguys calls the Del Mar Nationals “The Best in the West.” We couldn’t agree more.