August 14, 2014 in Washington Voices

Annual car show does best to dazzle

By The Spokesman-Review
Dan Pelle photoBuy this photo

A classic ’55 Chevy Bel Air turns a few heads during the 2011 Goodguys Great Northwest Nationals in Spokane. This year’s event at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center runs Friday through Sunday.
(Full-size photo)

If you go

 Goodguys Great Northwest Nationals car show will be held Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, 404 N. Havana St.

 Tickets are available at the door or online at www.good- General admission is $15, kids age 7 through 12 are $6, and children 6 and younger are free.

 Parking is free.

At the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center this weekend, there will be hundreds of cars. There may be cars with shiny chrome fenders, vibrant paint jobs and stories about the thousands of hours of elbow grease it took to restore them.

For the 13th year, Goodguys Great Northwest Nationals will be in Spokane, bringing thousands of spectators along with them. Betsy Bennett, the Northwest event director, said this is one of 19 similar events held nationwide.

The cars are independently owned hot rods, custom cars, classic cars and muscle cars through 1972 vintage. Owners from about 10 states register online to participate.

“As long as it runs, it can come,” Bennett said.

She said events like this are almost like a visit back in time to the owners’ youths. Many find cars they drove as teenagers – or cars their parents drove – and restore them to their previous glory. Some come to reunite with friends they only see at shows like this. Some come to get ideas for their own vehicles.

“I love seeing the cars,” Bennett said. She likes seeing the early Model A’s, and has spotted some Hudsons and a Hillman Husky.

This year’s featured car will be the “Rivision,” winner of the Ridler Award. Built by JF Launier, the car started out as a 1964 Buick Riviera. The engine is a twin turbo LS motor with 850 horsepower. The front half of the sunshine yellow car is the ’64 Riviera, while the back half looks like a 1971 Buick, hand-formed from sheet metal.

“He’s a talented guy,” Bennett said of Launier, who hails from British Columbia.

This year’s show will include more than 1,500 vehicles. There will be manufacturers’ exhibits where performance automotive companies will hold demonstrations throughout the weekend.

Sunday is All-American Sunday, which includes all years, makes and models of American cars and trucks.

“There’s always people that bring out brand-new cars,” Bennett said.

There also will be a swap meet and awards ceremony Sunday at 2:22 p.m. where more than 75 awards will be presented to participants.

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