Goodguys keep hot rods and custom cars nice and warm

For the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, the annual Southwest Nationals, a gathering of some 3,000 hot rod and custom cars each November at the WestWorld complex in Scottsdale, Ariz., marks the end of the show season. For most classic and custom car owners, it’s time to put those vehicles away and to wait out the winter weather and anticipate getting them back on the road in the spring of 2015.

>> Photo gallery: Goodguys Rod & Custom Association annual Southwest Nationals

But for those in the Phoenix area, the Goodguys visit — this year marked the 17th annual Goodguys show in Scottsdale — the Southwest Nationals signify the start of the classic and custom car season. Triple-digit temperatures are in the rear view mirror. Ahead are glorious sunny days and starry, if sometimes chilly, nights.

Yes, we know, “chilly” for Arizona would be balmy, break back out the shorts and flip-flops weather in Michigan.

But in Arizona — and in other far southern states — it’s time to get out those sports cars and classics and customs and hot rods and to shine them and show them and drive them. Don’t forget, the longest good stretch of the original Route 66 goes across the western half of northern Arizona.

The Goodguys annual autumn visit gets things started.

And they accelerate quickly. Next comes the big Phoenix Swap Meet, put on by the same folks who do the huge Pomona swap meets in Southern California. Thanksgiving weekend brings the annual Phoenix (new car) auto show as well as  Silver Auctions sale of classics at Fountain Hills, just east of Scottsdale.

The weekly (Saturday) car show at the Pavilions shopping center in Scottsdale is one of the largest and oldest in the country, and there are other weekend shows at various locations across the Valley of the Sun.

The big Arizona Auction Week arrives in mid-January, kicked off again in 2015 by the second annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance, an event much like the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. Johns in Plymouth, except set not on a golf course but within the intimate gardens of the famed Arizona Biltmore resort.

RM, Gooding & Company, Bonhams, Silver, and Russo and Steele all have their big classic car sales during Arizona Auction Week, but in 2015 the biggest of all, as usual, will be Barrett-Jackson.

Barrett-Jackson is adding a couple of days to its January auction schedule because car collector Ron Pratte is selling his entire collection, which includes more than a thousand pieces of automobilia (signs, gas pumps, gas globes, etc.) but famed classic customs, several Cobras by Carroll Shelby — including Shelby’s own Super Snake — the 1954 Pontiac Bonneville from the GM Motorama era, and even one of the Parade of Progress GM Futurliners.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at