The Charlotte Motor Speedway is no stranger to Motorheads, but when the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association throws a party at the tri-oval, the action is in the infield, not on the track. At this year’s Southeastern Nationals, 65,000 people gathered to admire brightly-colored hot rods, polished-chromed classics, and powerful V8s. With almost 2,800 vehicles in the show, some customized to-the-limit and others restored to their former glory, it wasn’t an easy task to select the stars. However, there were some that regularly attracted a crowd of onlookers. Here are five of the standouts.
It isn’t often you see a Bugatti at a car show, and particularly at a Goodguys Hot Rod Association event, but, this year, an elegant, black 1931 Bugatti Royale Coupe was among the other custom creations. This Bugatti is a tribute car, fabricated to resemble the Italian automaker’s grand touring coupes of the era. However, it has a little something extra under its long hood — a GMC V12 702 cubic-inch Thunder Engine. Adding to the Bugatti’s “big and bad” persona, modern low profile tires are wrapped around massive 24″ wheels. On second thought, this Bugatti fit right in with the other hot rods.
1947 Ford COE
One of the trucks stood a little taller than all the rest, both figuratively and literally — a 1947 cab over engine (COE) Ford. This truck, which started life as a plain flatbed hauler, had been heavily modified into a two-toned, purple-over-gray showpiece. The cab was extended for second-row seating, and the rear bed and fenders of a 1956 Ford pickup were added. Large chrome, dual exhaust stacks were installed behind the cab, and the motor was replaced with a 454 power plant.
You just gotta love cool, customized trucks.
1929 Cadillac Fleetwood
This 1929 Cadillac would catch anyone’s eye, if for no other reason than its striking size. However, its dimensions are not the only outstanding feature. Its rich brown paint, stylistic-chrome wheels, and interior accents of real wood against plush leather, makes this Fleetwood the epitome of vintage luxury. Other upgrades were: a late model 6.0 Cadillac engine was installed, the suspension and running gear were modernized, and several creature comforts and electronics were added, including a backup camera.
1935 Buick Cabriolet
A drop-top 1935 Buick is, in itself, a rare and refreshing sight among the many Ford and Chevys on the showfield. However, this car deserved special recognition because of its extremely high level of restoration. To add that special touch, its motor had been upgraded to a ’60s era Buick Nailhead, fed by dual quads. There’s no doubt this Buick is a quality build, and although not flashy, it’s first class, all the way.
Proving, once again, that first impressions can be deceiving, this Mustang looks like an ordinary 1970 Mustang — that is, until you peak under the hood. Only a radiator and gas tank are inside what is typically the engine compartment. Also, the original small trunk lid had been modified into a full hatchback. And, mystery solved — the engine isn’t missing, after all. A Ford GT mid-engine had been installed in the rear of the car. This engineering marvel is riding on a custom chassis to accommodate its very unique drive train. Although the modifications that were necessary to fit the supercharged engine mid-ship eliminated the ability to have rear seats, any pony car owner knows, they’re too small for passengers, anyway.
For photos of the other great cars displayed at the Goodguys Southeastern Nationals, go to: eClassicAutos Facebook page.