The largest vintage car show in the Midwest is opening today in central Iowa. The 24th annual Goodguys Heartland Nationals is underway through Sunday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
Goodguys spokeswoman Betsy Bennett says many hundreds of shiny vehicles will be on display from all across the country at the event.
“This one showcases about 4,000 hot rods, customs, classic cars, muscle cars,” Bennett says. “Our cutoff year is 1972 to bring in all of those muscle cars up to that era. We have cars coming from 28 different U.S. states.”
The cutoff of 1972 is in place, Bennett says, as that’s about the time the oil crisis hit, gasoline prices jumped and automakers were forced to start making much more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Some of the cars parked along the Grand Concourse will date to the 1930s and ’40s, street rods like the classic ’32 Ford, on through the tricked-out custom Mercurys and Buicks from the 1950s and early ’60s, and then the muscle cars of the late 60s and early 70s, like powerful Mustangs, Camaros and Novas.
“In addition to the cars, there’s huge vendor exhibits, there’s a swap meet, a cars-for-sale corral, entertainment, a model car show, Goodguys autocross racing,” Bennett says. “There’s something for everybody in the family. It’s a great place if you love cars, even if you don’t love cars, it’s a pretty spectacular sight to see 4,000 vintage cars in one place.”
Registered participants will also be taking part in the Goodguys AutoCross, where they can put their cars through the paces and test their driving skills. Two men from a legendary American racing family will be on the track for the AutoCross event:
“We have a couple of really well-known race car drivers,” Bennett says. “If you know the family name of Unser, we do have two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Junior and Robby Unser, who’s won the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb, which is literally the climb up the side of Pike’s Peak without the roads, he’s won that nine times. They’re racing in our pro class this year.”
There’s also a big fireworks show planned for 9:30 PM tomorrow night to celebrate the 4th of July. Learn more at www.good-guys.com.