More than 6,500 vintage muscle cars, hot rods and stock cars will migrate to central Ohio from throughout the United States for the Goodguys 16th PPG Nationals Car Show July 12-14 at the Ohio Exposition Center, 717 E. 17th Ave.
The Columbus stop is the 10th of 19 national events that the California-based Goodguys Rod & Custom Association hosts each year across the United States, attracting owners of cars such as those highlighted in the films American Graffiti and Gone in 60 Seconds.
The Goodguys shows focus on vehicles made no later than 1972, the year before major automobile manufacturers, in response to a first-of-its-kind energy crisis, began scaling back the horsepower of stock cars, signifying the end of the true muscle-car era.
"If you love cars, this is the place to be," said Betsy Bennett, public relations coordinator for the national Goodguys shows.
The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif., sponsors the show. In addition to showcasing thousands of hot rods, the event features vendor exhibits, a used auto parts swap, seminars, a model car show and live entertainment.
The show opens at 8 a.m. Friday, July 12, at the Ohio Expo Center, but some activities are offsite at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, where drag-racing competitions are held.
Gates at the raceway open at 2 p.m. July 12. Time trials commence at 4 p.m., followed at 7 p.m. by eliminations in a variety of classes. Tickets for the races are sold separately at the raceway for $20. Tickets for children ages 7 to 12 cost $6.
The Ohio Expo Center will host the Goodguys AutoCross course. The course is approximately 1,000 feet in length, electronically timed, and features tight turns requiring rapid acceleration and deceleration.
The event features several specialty parking areas, open from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 13, including a "Ya Gotta Drive 'Em" area reserved for vehicles whose owners drove their vehicles, rather than transporting them by trailer, at least 300 miles to the show; "Mighty Muscle," an exhibit for cars built from 1955 to 1972; "Homebuilt Heaven," featuring home-built cars; a "Youngguys area" for vehicle owners who are no older than 25; and a "Trick Truck Corral" for pick-up trucks.
Sunday, July 14, is "All American Sunday" when newer cars, such as the latest generation of the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Charger, are featured.
"We have drivers coming from 34 different states and Canada (as of July 3)," Bennett said.
The show also features vendors selling or swapping auto parts and accessories.
The Goodguys PPG Nationals conclude Sunday, July 14, with an awards ceremony beginning at 2:22 p.m.
The odd starting time began as a lark in 2002. In response to concerns from contestants that the 3 p.m. ceremony was too late because some were driving several hours to get home, promoters moved up the time.
Even though it was only 38 minutes earlier, Bennett said the quirky time stuck, and organizers stayed with it.
Awards include "Low Lid," for the ride with the lowest roof; "Homebuilt Heaven," handed out to the best car completely fabricated in the enthusiast's own garage; and "Builder's Choice" selections.
Dozens of other specialty awards will be presented.
The 16th Goodguys PPG Nationals will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, July 12, and Saturday, July 13, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 14.
General admission is $18 for adults and $6 for children ages 7 to 12. Children ages 6 and younger are admitted free.
Parking is $6 per vehicle, a fee of the Ohio Expo Center.
For more information, including particular times for various events, call the Ohio Expo Center at 614-644-4000 or visit good-guys.com or ohioexpocenter.com.