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RIP to Goodguys Founder Gary Meadors

Founder and Chariman of the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, Gary Meadors, passed away Sunday of natural causes at the age of 76.

Meadors spent his life expressing his passion for family, hot rods, cool cars, and good people. Meadors  founded Goodguys in 1983 in Northern California with his wife of over 50 yeras, Marilyn, standing by his side. After founding Goodguys, he then branched out to stage a national series of hot rod and custom car events beginning in 1987 that still run today. Meadors started Goodguys as a pssion-based idea, and it has turned into an association with a worldwide memebrship of over 70,000 people. Goodguys promotes 21 hot rod and custom car events that attract millions of visitors each year. In addition, the official magazine of Goodguys, The Goodguys Gazette, was first published by Meadors in 1989.

Meadors began his life in California's Central Valley in the small town of Dinuba. It was there that he discovered his lof of classic cars when he tricked out his first rod: a 1947 Plymouth when he was just 16 years old. He had a few requirements for his first project. The first was that it had to sit way down low. To get it to sit just where he wanted it, he "cut the coils" and removed a few inches from the factory coil suspension springs, which was common in the 1950 era hot rodding. This was just the first of many hot rods and custom cars Meadors spent his life building and collecting, the most recognized of which was his bright yellow 1932 Ford Tudor. This custom hot rod has served as the centerpiece of the Goodguys logo since 1987.

Meadors spent much of his time dreaming up ways to spread his passion for hot rods. In 1973, the Nor-Cal Early Iron Car Club - a club Meadors helped create in Fremont, CA - organized the first "Street Rod Mini Nationals" at the Lodi Grape Festival Grounds. The event attracted more than 500 hot rods, and Meadors saw this as his chance to continue as a promoter. Meadors later developed the Western Nationals in Merced, California into the West's signature event for vintage street rods and customs while working as a regional event director for the NSRA.

After Meadors and his wife Marilyn quit their day jobs and launched Goodguys in 1987, the Western Nationals became the Goodguys West Coast nationals and was moved to its current location, the Pleasanton Fairgrounds. This event will be celebrating its 30th anniversary next August. 

As Goodguys grew as a association with popular events in cities such as Pleasanton, San Diego, Des Moines, Iowa, Columbus, Ohio, and Scottsdale, Arizona, Meadors successfully developed and sanctioned vintage drag racing events in California and INdiana, adding them to the Goodguys event tour. Meadors, a speed demon, gained membership to the Bonneville 200mph club in 1994 wghen he drove the Dozier & Hegarty Chrysler powered streamliner to a top speed of 223mph.

Later on, in 2008, AutoCross regained prominence under the direction of Meadors and Goodguys. AutoCross racing competitions began to take place at select events, and today, AutoCross is held at 16 Goodguys national events.

Meadors let his passion lead him to do many important things, including encouraging young hot rod builders and helping them launch their own careers. In 2000, Meadors and Goodguys worked hard on the development of the Trendsetter award - a perpetual honor presented at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas to rising young hot rod crafstmen.

More recently in 2009, Gary and his wife stepped back from the day-to-day operation of Goodguys, appointing their youngest son, Marc, as company president. Gary was finally able to get back to what he enjoyed most - taking a cool car out on the open road. With Marilyn riding shotgun and their dog Whitewall hanging his face out the window, they have circled America dozens of times in just the past few years, stopping along the way to meet new friends and live out their dream.

Gary's life was enriched with deep personal relationships and hot rodding milestones, and he will be missed by all those that he touched throughout his lifetime. He is enshrined in the Street Rod Market Alliance Hall of Fame, Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Hall of Fame, and is a recipient of both STREET RODDER Magazine and the HRIA's "Lifetime Achievement" awards. In 2014, he received the International Show Car Association's "Legends of Hot Rodding" award.

Gary Meadors achieved what he had hoped for, to share hsi love and passion of hot rodding with others and bring people together around the industry.

He is survived by his wife Marilyn, brother Craig, sons Marc and Marty, grandchildren Breann, Grant, Grace, Reece, and Rory.