Gary Meadors, Goodguys, Fuel Curve

Hot Rod Scrapbook – Gary Meadors Edition

We love our Tuseday Time Capsules and we have a treat this week – a few pictures from the Gary Meadors scrapbook. Gary as many of you know was the Founder and President of the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association. His first official rod run as a promoter was the 1973 Lodi Mini Nationals which led to a long stint as a prominent Event Director for the National Street Rod Association. Goodguys was incorporated in 1983 then began their national series of events in 1987. Through all that time, (as you can see in the lead photo) Gary wore Birkentock sandals, or “mandals” as the kids like to say. But I digress.

Gary Meadors, Goodguys, Fuel Curve

Sometimes for fun, I walk into Gary’s office here at Goodguys World Headquarters to rummage through old pictures to take in some hot rod history. After Gary passed in December of 2015, we kept his office exactly as it was. It’s still untouched, full of memorabilia and cool stuff from a lifetime of hot rodding and event promotion. It’s bitchin’!

So I pulled open a drawer and saw these images, rubber banded together in no particular order. They offer a brief window into what Gary’s life was like in the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s and even into the new millennium a bit. He belonged to many car clubs over the years most notably the Nor Cal Early Iron and the Danville Dukes – a popular club he co-founded with fellow Danvillians Tom Walsh and the late Bill Burnham.

Let’s take a look.

Gary was a renowned bowler. Yes, he once bowled 300 – a perfect game. Here he is with his bowling team (to the left of the man in white) with that classic Goodguy grin. This is somewhere in Clovis or Gary’s hometown of Dinuba, CA sometime in the early 1960s. Good, clean fun!

Hot Rod Scrapbook, Gary Meadors, Fuel Curve

Gary was the world’s biggest fan of dirt oval racing. USAC, NARC, Sprints, Midgets, Modifieds – if it was turning left on dirt, he was into it. Here’s a a shots from those early days. The pic on the left was snapped of Gary and Marilyn at a dirt race in Oct of 1969 while the shot on the right is from the early 70s. Marilyn (with checkered pants) is shown with a less-cranky A.J. Foyt and some other female fans. Looks to be an early photo bomb too! LOL

Gary and Marilyn took both of their sons Marty and Marc to every rod run they went on. Here they are with Marc under a shade tree sometime around 1971. As you know, Marc, now 51, is the president of Goodguys.

Hot Rod Scrapbook, Gary Meadors, Fuel Curve

Being the oval track fan he was, naturally Marc and Marty Meadors got into quarter midgets in the early 70s. Here’s Marty looking the part in his racer. Check out that trick helmet!

Hot Rod Scrapbook, Gary Meadors, Fuel Curve

Gary’s “Beer T,” – A 318 c.i. Plymouth-powered 1923 bucket with a Lowenbrau beer keg for a fuel tank. This car was driven everywhere. This had to be 1972-1973 at their home in Newark, CA.

Hot Rod Scrapbook, Gary Meadors, Fuel Curve

The images below jump around a bit in terms of decades. Gary snapped this pic of the late, great Ed “Big Daddy” Roth at the Oakland Coliseum. On the right is Gary and a friend in the Beer T at Ontario Motor Speedway for the California 500.

What a crew! We’re not 100% sure of the occasion but this looks to be a Nor Cal Early Iron club trip to Los Angeles. Lots of other guys on board too. Being in the mid 70s, you can see the effect the movie “Urabn Cowboy” had on hot rodders. Gaudy cowboy hats with feathers were it! Recognizable rodders in this image include Rudy Perez, Dino Ramachetti, Tom Walsh, Bill Burnham, Bruce Olson, Larry Westervelt etc. We’re guessing the ice chest is full of barley sodas. Or is that a basket?

Hot Rod Scrapbook, Gary Meadors, Fuel Curve

Gary in the Goodguys “Logo” car – our yellow deuce Tudor full-fendered edition. This was most likely at the Street Rod Nationals in Minneapolis during the Go-Whoa game (run to your car, get in, start it, accelerate, then stop on a mark). Next time you see Marc at a Goodguys event, ask him about this cross-country trip in the deuce. He has some funny stories.

Hot Rod Scrapbook, Gary Meadors, Fuel Curve

More cowboy hat fun at an NSRA event in the mid 70s.

Hot Rod Scrapbook, Gary Meadors, Fuel Curve

Gary and his Cowboy hat at the 1982 NSRA Nats East with reps Johnny and Bob.

Hot Rod Scrapbook, Gary Meadors, Fuel Curve

What hot rod family didn’t have a hot jet boat in the 70s and 80s? Sporting a tunnel ram-topped 460 Ford with chromed “stacks”, this was the Meadors boat better known as the Danville Dukes “River Roadster.”

Gary and Marty built this sweet ’53 F-100 in the early 80s. It was cherry pie and was the first trick truck in the family stable. It was sold to Ohio’s Terry Cantrell sometime during the 1990s.

Hot Rod Scrapbook, Gary Meadors, Fuel Curve

Marilyn is going to kill me for running this but here she is in 1987 in the first Goodguys offices in Alamo, CA. Marilyn ran the office, books and business details while Gary and the boys handled events and promotion.

Hot Rod Scrapbook, Gary Meadors, Fuel Curve

Gary Goodguy was a world class promoter, merchandiser and marketer. An early offering to the Goodguys catalog, these flamed Converse “Chuck Taylor” hi-tops sold like hot cakes. This was long before the Chuck Taylor rebirth of the new millennium.

Hot Rod Scrapbook, Gary Meadors, Fuel Curve

Gary had this customized Cushman scooter painted to mimic his first car – a bright yellow, purple-scalloped ’47 Plymouth. This scooter is still in the warehouse here at World Headquarters. How about those polished custom Moon discs?

Hot Rod Scrapbook, Gary Meadors, Fuel Curve

Here is some 1990s fun. On the left is Marty Meadors, an inebriated Roy Brizio and Kathy Berghoff – the first-ever Goodguys employee not named Meadors. This picture was snapped at the Pacific Northwest Nationals. On the right, Gary smiles wide and cracks the bubbly after going 223.220 mph at Bonneville in the Dozier and Hegarty streamliner back in 1994.

Gary and Tom Topping enjoyed a decades long friendship, mostly centered around drag racing. Gary booked Tom’s Nostalgia Top Fuel car at the early Goodguys Vintage Drags but in the 1990s when NHRA A/Fuel was taking off, Topping fielded one of the fastest cars in the class with his son Brooks Brown driving. Goodguys sponsored the dragster by painting it, helping with fuel and travel costs. You can see the GG logo near the front of the dragster.

Hot Rod Scrapbook, Gary Meadors, Fuel Curve

Gary and Bill Burnham at the 1995 West Coast Nationals talking Shop. Sadly, Bill would pass away during the 1996 West Coast Nationals weekend.

Hot Rod Scrapbook, Gary Meadors, Fuel Curve

Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane! Feel free to email me with any additional notes I may have missed – [email protected]

Senior Editor, Digital Media

With three decades of automotive journalism under his belt, John Drummond serves as Senior Editor – Digital Media for Fuel Curve and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association where he has worked since 1990. Drummond got his start in motorsports reporting by making a fake press pass to gain starting line access. The ruse worked and he began covering auto races as far back as 1986 in Northern California, eventually getting his stories published worldwide. He has owned and driven everything from a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere to a ridiculously modded Subaru WRX as well as a string of Mercedes AMG’s, most of which had the warranties voided the day after leaving the dealership.

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