Goodguys Raise Cutoff Year to 1987
The times they are a changin’! Beginning in 2018, the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association will open their cherished event gates to show cars 1987 and earlier. The move is inevitable as the years peel off the clock and will open endless new debates countrywide as to exactly what a classic or collector car is. The reality is – the early 80s stuff was fugly with hideous and liberal amounts of plastic, god-awful bumpers and some suspect designs. It was a weird time in American automobile manufacturing as the gas crunch and K-Car syndromes began to ease. But with a drop, big wheels, upgraded suspension and some more ponies, any hot rodder worth his lug nuts can take a late 70s or early 80s ugly duckling and make it fly. Don’t believe us? The pictures in this article offer hope.
The move is sure to put a hitch in the giddy up of the graybeard, died-in-the-wool deuce crowd but the millennial’s who can get on Craigslist, buy a Foxbody Mustang or 3rd Gen Camaro for $2,500 and fix it up will be beyond stoked. The Squarebody truck guys have a head start on everyone and have been dragging rocker for years now. Remember Steve Reyes’ pimped out mid-80s Astro Van when he was chief photographer for Super Chevy? He might just have to find it and bring it back out. And the Buick Grand National crowd needs no introduction as the poster child of mid 80s muscle.
Already, hot rod manufacturers have parts ready at the click of a mouse for Malaise-era machines. RideTech, Detroit Speed, Speedway Motors, Speedtech, and many others have aggressive Pro-Touring style suspension upgrades. Any good bodyman can tuck bumpers, fill in gaps and clean up the rough edges for sleeker profiles. We have personally seen a few “beyond ‘73” cars at superior rod shops and they look spectacular to be quite honest.
You want a good chuckle? Back when GM released the 305c.i. H.O. V8 in 1976, little could they have imaged it would become “one of the hottest performance V8s of the 1980s.” LOL. Watch out for that stump-pulling 145hp monster! Budget minded kids who can’t afford LS swaps for their mounts can get creative to coax another 100 to 150hp of their tiny-bored 305’s by swapping heads, re-jetting the carbs and adding headers. Many might just save their Starbucks Barista wages and plunk down $3,000 and swap in a crate Chevy 350. These engines are available at any one of our industry’s fine super suppliers like Summit Racing, Jeg’s, Speedway Motors and others. Either way – they’re still “hot rodding” their classic.
We could talk for hours about all of the Malaise-era models suitable for modding. The possibilities are endless really, especially when you throw the trucks, vans and grocery getters in the mix. The cool thing is – once the events are opened up – GOD only knows what will roll through the gate. It’s kind of like Thanksgiving. You never really know what your alcoholic aunt might say at the dinner table. Thankfully, hot rodding kind of self-polices what is cool to drive into a show and what isn’t. No stock ’77 Capri’s please!
For Goodguys – the move is a calculated risk, one they’re willing to take. “We carefully considered all aspects of a year bump,” said VP of Events Harry Daviess. “Over a period of two years, we discussed it with prominent car builders, manufacturers, Goodguys members and event participants. We asked our 152k Facebook followers for their input. The Gazette had a column in the November 2016 issue discussing all aspects of a year bump. The resulting flood of feedback and collective input suggested nearly 70% of Goodguys social media followers, association members and attendees were in favor of the bump.”
The jump to ’87 is the first time Goodguys has raised year eligibility for their national events in 23 years. Will it work? We say yes. Seeing twenty and thirty year olds, longing for a chance to show off their hot cars welcomed with a nod and a smile might sound like utopia but it isn’t so farfetched. Their passion for cool cars, like everyone else, will shine through. What about the kid that took his ’58 Impala to the early Ford hot rod cruise nights back in the 60s? Eventually the waters warmed and history will undoubtedly repeat itself here as well.
Not so far down the road (and is it’s even happening now in real time), the vendor midway will expand with new companies and new products. And ya know what else? There will be another story just like this written fifteen years from now. Maybe sooner.