Photos courtesy Goodguys.
While pretty much anybody else would start small, the first car show Gary Meadors put together attracted several hundred street rods, and in the decades since, Meadors – who died Sunday at the age of 76 – managed to gather many more than that under his Goodguys network.
A hot rodder from the start, Meadors cruised his hometown of Dinuba, California, in a 1947 Plymouth lowered to the ground and fitted with a hopped-up Chrysler six-cylinder. His car enthusiast organizing activities began in the late 1960s when he co-founded the Nor Cal Early Iron car club and continued into the early 1970s when he organized that first car show, the National Street Rod Association’s West Coast Mini Nationals in Lodi, California, which attracted more than 550 cars.
Over the next decade, he continued to organize NSRA shows, but in 1983 decided to break from the NSRA and start organizing his own shows under the Goodguys banner. Along with the shows, he included vintage drag racing, and he soon started to expand across the country, adding dozens more venues and dates to his show calendar. These days, Goodguys has about 70,000 members and puts on about 20 shows. While the majority of those shows take place west of the Mississippi, the largest gathers more than 6,500 cars in Columbus, Ohio, every year.
Meadors handed the reins of Goodguys over to his son Marc after suffering a heart attack in 2007. For his contributions to the world of hot rodding, he’s been inducted into the Hot Rod Industry Alliance Hall of Fame and awarded the HRIA’s Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the ISCA’s Legends of Hot Rodding Award.
Memorial plans have yet to be announced.