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Hot Rod History

Meet the car-crazy East Bay family that started the Goodguys.


Photos Courtesy of the Goodguys

Most suburban parents hope their teenager will give up a hobby like hot-rodding and start thinking about a career path. Marc Meadors is an exception: He picked up his hot-rodding habit from his parents.

“I was brainwashed into this,” says Meadors, 46. “I’ve been around cars all my life. I got a ’69 Bug when I was 16 and completely tricked it out.”

For Meadors, cars aren’t just a weekend hobby: they’re big business. His family owns the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association, a nationwide hot rod show that has four massive events each year near its Pleasanton headquarters. The 30 employees also publish a monthly magazine and work on vintage Buicks and Plymouths in a giant on-site garage.

Goodguys was started by Meadors’ father, Gary, a former razor blade and aerosol deodorant salesman, who always loved cars. (He has driven a 1932 Ford through all of the lower 48 states over the past 40 years.) The elder Meadors picked up the nickname “Goodguy” writing magazine stories about customized cars and organizing hot rod events.

In 1983, Gary organized the first Goodguys Get Together, a gathering of hot rod enthusiasts from the Western states. The event was a wild success, and the Goodguys became a social network of gearheads that predated the Internet by a good decade. This month, the Meadors celebrate the 30th anniversary of their business with the West Coast Nationals, their largest event of the year. Attendance is expected to be better than ever.



“It beats having a real job!”jokes the younger Meadors.

Goodguys West Coast Nationals is August 23–25 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. For info, visit good-guys.com.


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