If you haven’t checked out the 2011 Goodguys Southeastern Nationals, you are missing out on one of the premier East Coast car gatherings. Over 2,000 of the most unique and rare rides show up each October at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and this year was no different. You can check out our full writeup on the event here.
But while we were there we couldn’t help but wonder, what if we could bring you the Top Ten rides from the Southeastern Nationals? Could anyone really do it? Could we narrow 2,000 down to ten?
The answer is – probably not… but that’s not going to keep us from trying! It was no easy task, but we compiled a list (in no particular order) of the Top Ten rides from the Goodguys Southeastern Nationals. Keep in mind that the possibility that we didn’t see all 2,000 rides still exists, but these are the ones that caught our attention for obvious reasons.
Darryl Bobzin’s 1923 Ford Roadster
Now this one was a very easy pick! This was actually the very first ride we saw when we strolled into Charlotte Motor Speedway. We immediately knew that we had our first choice in our top ten.
The ’23 Ford Roadster is owned by Darryl Bobzin of Kannapolis, North Carolina. Gone is the 20 horsepower 4-cylinder, 4-cycle engine that once was considered engineering genius, and now is powered by a very stout 383 “chromed out” small block Chevy.
Bobzin is a regular at the east coast car shows and at the Southeastern Nationals, but that doesn’t stop him from winning award after award wherever he takes his Ford. At this year’s Southern Nationals he won the Terrific “T” award for the best Model T. That’s all grand, but all we can think about is how good this thing hooks up when he opens it up with those massive Mickey Thompson’s on the back.
Even to the smallest detail this roadster impresses.
Bob Kongelka’s 1956 Chevy Stepside
If you love classic trucks like we do, the Southeastern nationals are a great place to see some of very unique trucks. This custom ’56 Chevy pickup really caught our attention and after getting a close look we just knew that we had to include it in our list.
The Chevy truck is owned by Bob Kongelka, but received a full custom restoration by Eldred Hot Rod and Collision in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. The straight lines on the doors have been replaced with custom molded curves which gives it an amazing look. The body also received a 2-inch chop, and a 1 3/4″ hood pancake.
The original chassis has been replaced with a Fatman chassis, with a Mustang II front clip, and a 9-inch Ford 4-link. Powering the ’56 Chevy is a bored, stroked, and tuned LT-4 that has a 1,000cfm throttle body.
The customization continues with leather seats, and a complete Rockford Fosgate sound system. The truck sits upon Billet Specialties rims and also features a custom bed.
The ’56 Chevy is an immaculate custom, and was given the LMC Truck of the Year Late Finalist.
Powering the '56 Chevy is a bored, stroked, and tuned LT-4 that has a 1000CFM throttle body installed.
Jeff Cleary’s 1967 Corvette LS7
This ’67 Corvette Stingray really stole the show. It seemed like every where we looked we were seeing this car. We first caught a glance at it when we saw it literally all crossed up on the autocross course. But Jeff would lay down some incredible laps and actually run the 2nd fastest time over the entire weekend. Apparently we weren’t the only ones to take notice, on Sunday the ’67 was named a 2012 Detroit Speed Muscle Machine of the Year Finalist.
The ’67 features a dyno-proven 562hp LS7 with a modified tremec 6-speed manual. The modern spin on the Stingray that continues throughout the car was decided by Cleary who explained to us that he wanted a Stingray, but to go along with the high performing engine, he wanted a high-performance suspension to make the car not only ride better but also handle the curves.
The ‘Vette’s original frame was replaced by a SRIII Motorsports C2 Round-tube frame. Beyond just performance the Stingray’s interior also features many creature comforts like a sweet sound system that is hidden behind the convertible top.
This one will be a tough one to beat for the Detroit Speed’s “Muscle Machine of the Year”.
Jeff's '67 Stingray isn't one that sits in a shop. This one saw plenty of asphalt over the course of the weekend
Flip Bost’s 1961 Chevy Bubble Top Impala
Although the ’61 Impala “bubble tops” are popular, that’s not why we included it in this list. This ’61 was a crowd favorite throughout the entire weekend. But most people couldn’t get their head out from beneath the hood to see the rest of the car.
Underneath the hood is a mean 502 cubic inch big block Chevy that has every chrome attachment that you can imagine. The Impala is owned by Flip Bost of Statesville, North Carolina. Flip has done all the work himself, except for the seats and paint job.
The car features a 3.73 positrac rear end, and an Airtech suspension. Bost also went as far to install Italian leather throughout the vehicle to not only give it that extra pop of red, but also to make it one of the most comfortable rides you’ll ever sit in.
As awesome as they can be, it was good to see a 502 that wasn’t supporting a blower of some sort. The 502 looks just perfect sitting inside the spacious engine compartment. However, we were quite surprised to hear at the end of the weekend that Bost’s ride did not receive any awards, we felt like it was extremely worthy of it.
There was plenty of chrome on the bubble top, but it was very tastefully done.
Wayne Pennington’s 1953 Studebaker Coupe
The last Studebaker rolled off the assembly line in 1966, but you would never know it by how many were at the Southeastern Nationals. But this particular one really caught our attention. We couldn’t put our finger on it, but something just looked different about this Studebaker. Once we got talking to the owner Wayne Pennington we found out what made it so particular.
“If you’re not familiar with Studebaker’s, you’ll never see it, “explained Pennington. “It’s not a chop-top, but I did lower the back 2 inches to level out the roof.” We felt that this Studebaker didn’t get the love that it deserved. Sure it’s another LS conversion, but the story behind the car is what we found remarkable.
“I’ve had this car for 30 years, and it’s still my daily driver,” Pennington told us. “I drive it to and from work when I can, hell I even drove it here!” That’s pretty impressive when you consider the fact that Pennington hails from Roanoke, Virginia. It’s not like he just crossed the street with it. That’s a good four hour drive to the speedway.
The Studebaker is powered by a modest 350 horsepower LS1 and sits on a air-ride suspension. “I chose to go with a LS1 because of how reliable they are and really 350 horses is plenty for this lightweight car.”
Pennington was quite surprised that we took such a liking to his Studebaker, “You really think that this is one of the nicer rides here? Have you been to pit road yet? That’s where the million dollar cars are.” It’s not all about the money Wayne, sometimes the stories that go with the car make the ride what it is.
This Studebaker Coupe sits on an air-ride suspension and features a 350 hp LS1 powerplant.
Big Joe McKowen’s 1970 Hemi Charger – “Suicide”
At first it didn’t look like there was going to be a Mopar on the list, but then we came across the appropriately named ’70 HEMI Charger “Suicide.” Obviously the first thing you notice is not only the suicide doors, but also the suicide hood and trunk. “One of the hardest parts of the entire build was the hood,” said owner of Rooster’s Rod Shop ,Dennis D. Rostenbach. “Trust me, that thing will not be coming off again.”
One of the hardest parts of the entire build was the hood. Trust me, that thing will not be coming off again.
“We created four bucket seats and a custom console that runs the length of the car with the door handles installed in the console to clean up the doors,” Said Rostenbach, “We also installed a custom fitted ’59 Chevy dash with classic instruments gauges.”
This complete custom restoration was completed by Rooster’s rod shop who did an immaculate job. But not to worry, it does include of the most important pieces to any true Mopar fan – the Charger is powered by a 5.7L HEMI. It’s also equipped with RMS front and rear bolt on suspension kits.
Inside and out, everything about this charger is unique, and that's why we included it on our list of 10.
Jason Flis’ ’55 Chevy Convertible – “Black Gold”
Literally just finished before the Southeastern Nationals, Jason Flis’ ’55 Chevy “Black Gold” was one of the newest rides in attendance. “I got this ride about 10 months ago and worked on it as an evening project since then,” explained Flis. “This was a personal project for me that I was just able to take my time on in between the projects I had while at work.”
Flis owns All American Street Rods in Manassas, VA, so a resto-mod is nothing new to him. “It was in pretty rough shape when we first got her,” said Elis. Almost all the work was handled by Elis except for just a few things. Powering the Bel Air is a 480hp LS3, a 4l70 4 speed automatic transmission, and a 9-inch Ford with 3.89 gears.
“I chose to go with a LS3 because of how reliable they are and I wanted a little more horsepower,” Flis told us. The Bel Air features an Art Morrison GT-55 chassis, with polished Wilwood disc brakes.
The interior is a 1-off custom, and the creature comforts include power steering, brakes, and windows. The dash includes Dakota Digital’s gauges, and even though the ride was finished just weeks before the Southeastern Nationals, it still was able to win the best ride on Intro’s award
'Black Gold' features a 480hp LS3 and a 700W Speaker system.
Joe Henderson’s ’67 Chevy Corvette – “Project A-Bomb”
Our second ’67 Corvette to make the list, but once you see read about this ride you’ll understand why we added it to the list. Making 700 horsepower on pump gas sure does help it’s case for being included on here, don’t you think?
Slammed in the custom ‘Vette is a Katech 500cui V8 with a Kinsler cross ram induction creates that 700 horsepower and 677 ft. lbs of torque on pump gas. The car is owned by Joe Henderson, but the resto-mod was completed by The Winning Collection out of Asheville, North Carolina.
“A-Bomb” was actually in decent shape when it arrived at The Winning Collection, but then it went through an extensive build. Besides the engine, the upgrades included a C4 suspension, custom gauges faces by Classic Instruments, and a TKO 6-speed transmission.
The A-Bomb almost encountered disaster before it ever arrived at the southeastern Nationals. When it was in Hanceville, Alabama at Paul Atkins Interiors getting a very nice custom interior installed, a tornado hit the small town and drew national attention. Luckily for A-Bomb and Paul Atkins the tornado missed the shop, but leveled parts of Hanceville.
Steve Demarco’s 1930 Ford Sedan
The list finishes off with a pair of ’30 Fords, that while they share the same original manufacturer, they are so drastically different. The first of which is Steve Demarco’s ’30 chopped Ford sedan. The sedan has been chopped 6-inches in the back and 3-inches in the front, which might explain why the roof only comes up to your hip.
The Interior features a blend of history and modern technology. Notice the throwback shifter, and then right underneath it, the dvd touch screen.
Powering this ride is a small block Chevy that has a very interesting custom intake manifold. The intake has been customized to appear like a HEMI with six Rochester carburetors.
What puts this ride into a category by itself is the chassis that was built from scratch to support the small block. A lot of work went into this sedan, and it really impressed us.
This cruiser really grabbed a lot of attention, in fact the Ford Tudor was one of the rare rides that received two awards at the event. The first award was the Detroit Speed Builder’s Choice Award, and then it was also listed as one of the Street Rodder Top 100.
The small block Chevy rests upon a custom built chassis made by owner Steve Demarco
Robert Cayton’s 1930 Ford Pick-up
We finish our list of the Top Ten rides from the Southeastern Nationals with a ride that is one of the baddest machines that this editor has ever seen. Take a look at Robert Cayton’s ’30 Ford pickup. Cayton like most of the other unique rides in attendance, explained to us how this wasn’t something that happened over night, this was a planned out build.
The ’30 Ford pickup has a monstrous 434cui Charlie Buck Racing engine slammed into the engine bay. But if that’s not enough power for you, the Model A comes equipped with equipped with NOS. Imagine what it must be like to push that button in a vehicle this light. “Oh it will sit you back,” said Cayton.
The interior, which was completed by none other than Paul Atkins, is absolutely stunning for a ride like this. It is also equipped with a Winters quick change rear end, and a 5-speed Tremec transmission.
The interior, completed by Paul Atkins, is absolutely stunning.