The History of Goodguys Rod & Custom Association - or "America's Favorite Car Show"

The History of Goodguys Rod & Custom Association - or "America's Favorite Car Show"

They host some of the most well-attended hot rod and custom car events around the world. From road tours, national events, AutoCross competitions, shop tours, and more, Goodguys offers something for hot rod lovers everywhere.

Legendary Since 1983

The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association hosts classic car shows around the U.S. and the world, forming a unique community of hot rod lovers. All of this began with a single hot rod lover in 1983.

Founder Gary Meadors

A lifelong hot rod lover, Gary Meadors created this association with the help of his wife, Marilyn, in northern California. In the beginning, it was just about a man and his love of classic cars and hot rods.

Meadors’ First Car

Meadors’ love of classic, custom cars started when he was 16 and bought his first car: a 1947 Plymouth. One og the first changes he made was to adjust the height to be lower, removing several inches by cutting the coils. This low-to-the-road style became his trademark and a feature he included in many of his customizations.

This car was the first in a long line of cars that Meadors bought and customized. His most recognizable car was a 1932 Ford Tudor in bright yellow. It’s this car that’s been front-and-center in the Goodguys’ logo since 1987.

Continued Growth

Goodguys quickly branched out, and in 1987 Meadors staged a series of national custom car and hot rod events. The events rapidly became some of the premier auto-related events across the country. Meadors continued to plan and host events in popular locations like Columbus, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; Scottsdale, Arizona; and San Diego, California.

These events led Meadors to develop and sanction various vintage drag racing events across Indiana and California. Of course, Meadors himself loved to participate, and joined the Bonneville 200 mph club in 1994, driving a Dozier & Hegarty Chrysler to a speed of 223 mph.

Meadors and Hot Rod Builders

Meadors was one of the first to champion and publicize up-and-coming hot rod builders. He launched many of their careers and even created the Trendsetter Award in 2000 to honor a young, rising talent.

Some winners of this prestigious award include:

  •   Chip Foose (the inaugural winner)
  •   Dave Kindig
  •   Troy Trepanier
  •   Troy Ladd
  •   The Ringbrothers

America’s Favorite Car Show

Membership to the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association has steadily grown to over 50,000 active members from across the world. Events are known for their candy-colored hot rods, muscle cars, and tricked-out trucks. Venues frequently include outdoor stadiums, speedways, and fairgrounds.

These shows are about more than just cars, however. Attendees have come to expect live entertainment and good food. Events can run for two or three days and can see anywhere from 30,000 to over 100,000 car enthusiasts.


Every year, Goodguys hosts 19 to 20 events in the U.S. These events bring together between 3,500 and 6,000 classic cars at each event and anywhere from 35,000 to 100,000 spectators. Some car owners travel across the country with their cars and attend as many of the events as possible.

Here is a sample of some of the events being held in 2023.

Fort Worth, Texas: 12th LMC Truck Spring Lone Star Nationals, held at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Pleasanton, California: 38th All American Get-Together, held at the Alameda County Fairground. This is one of the oldest and longest-running events.

Lebanon, Tennessee: 16th BASF Nashville Nationals, held at the Nashville Superspeedway

Scottsdale, Arizona: 12th FiTech Fuel Injection Spring Nationals, held at the Westworld of Scottsdale

Spokane, Washington: 20th Classic Performance Products Great Northwest Nationals, held at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center.

Some events have different focuses, like trucks vs. classic cars vs. brightly colored hot rods, but all have the same Goodguys signature, including kick-off parties, kid’s zones, live music, an array of vendors, and giveaways.

Goodtime Gazette

Goodguys created their digital monthly magazine to keep their members in the know. It’s a massive publication, over 200 pages, that features Goodguys events, how-to’s, shop tours, buyer guides, hot rod news, and more.


Members enjoy exclusive road tour invitations, special pricing for shows, and industry discounts. Meadors believed that hot rods were meant to be driven, so each year, members can enjoy six exclusive road trips (traveling between events) stopping at unique locations, car collections, hot rod shops, and more. Multiple levels of membership are available, including Silver and Gold.

A Classic Car Show For Everyone

You don’t have to be a member to attend one of the nearly two-dozen events planned each year. So, what are you waiting for? Find an event near you and get ready to get a look under the hood of some of the most classic and well-loved cars and hot rods in the country.

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