The 'Good Guys' of Pleasanton

This weekend's Goodguys Get-Together is now global event

As tens of thousands of classic car enthusiasts head to Pleasanton for next weekend's 28th annual West Coast Nationals, Goodguys founders Gary and Marilyn Meadors reflect on how they started the event in their Alamo home in the winter of 1987.

The husband-and-wife team didn't know it at the time, but their plan to form an association of hot rod and custom car aficionados would put Pleasanton on the international map of motor sports.

It was a big gamble to quit their day jobs and go into show business full time, but the Meadors' family passion for cool cars fueled the dream. That dream blossomed, turning their new Pleasanton-based company into one of the world's leading promoters in the automotive realm and the Alameda County Fairgrounds serving as the anchor facility of a fledgling network of national hot rod events.

Looking back, it was really just a simple plan that morphed into something much more. The Goodguys show caught lightning as baby boomers grew to a time in their lives when they sought to rekindle their youth through Lil' Deuce Coupes and hot rod roadsters, the kind of cars the Beach Boys sang about.

Goodguys' events and their association grew almost as fast as a 1,000-horsepower muscle car. Today, the association is 70,000 members strong, holds 20 annual events across the country (including four each year in Pleasanton), publishes a monthly color magazine and employs more than 30 full-time staffers at its Serpentine Lane corporate headquarters. The Meadors' son Marc, now 43, serves as company president.

The West Coast Nationals, called "The Perfect Rod Run" by Hot Rod Magazine, is known as the industry's "Crown Jewel," due to its propensity to attract hot rodding's top cars and star builders, said John Drummond, communications director for Goodguys.

"The pull of Pleasanton and the Goodguys West Coast Nationals is truly international," he said. "Hot rodder Martin Lundqvist of Stockholm, Sweden shipped his car to Georgia in July and is driving across America to Pleasanton to fulfill 'a lifelong dream.' Years of national automotive magazine coverage have made it like Woodstock for car enthusiasts."

The three-day celebration of vintage American iron will be held this weekend, Aug. 22-24, at the fairgrounds, attracting close to 4,000 cars, 1972 and older, and tens of thousands of fans.

Not only is the event popular around the world, it's a boon to Pleasanton.

"I still remember my first meeting with Gary Meadors," said Scott Raty, president and CEO of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce. "Many years ago Gary came to the chamber office and shared his enthusiasm and vision for a weekend event that would sell-out every hotel room in town."

"There were about 1,000 new hotel rooms coming online at the time, and it was exactly what was needed to put Pleasanton on the map for weekend visitors and convention business," he added. "Not only did Gary make it happen then, the Meadors family is still making it happen today with capacity crowds and every hotel room both here and around the Valley sold for three-plus days each August as well as for the other events Goodguys stages. With all the visitors come significant boosts in retail and dining all over town."

Pleasanton Downtown Association executive director Laura Olson echoed Raty's sentiments. She told Drummond:

"Downtown Pleasanton is, as always, excited to welcome the Goodguys back to Pleasanton. Goodguys events bring energy and excitement into our community, and we love seeing the attendees enjoying our beautiful downtown as part of their visit to Pleasanton. We are fortunate to have a strong relationship with the Goodguys organization and appreciate all they do for our community as a whole."

Barbara Steinfeld, president of Visit Tri-Valley, agreed.

"Every time Goodguys comes to the Alameda County Fairgrounds, the Tri-Valley thrives," she said. "The event's loyal crowd fills our hotels and animate downtown's Main Street with jaw-dropping cars. Goodguys brings new visitors to the Tri-Valley every year. As their audience grows, so does the exposure for our region."

Indeed, Goodguys and events such as the West Coast Nationals and others throughout the year have been good for Pleasanton.

The city has also been very good to Goodguys. After operating for 15 years in their hometown of Alamo, the Meadors family decided it was time to expand. The search for a new Goodguys corporate headquarters led them to Pleasanton.

"We've always considered the city of Pleasanton home," Marc Meadors said. "It's a friendly place with a great community spirit and the fairgrounds is second to none."

"When looking for a new home for the company in 2003, we looked here first and found a perfect home on Quarry Lane," he added. "We envision being here for decades."

Goodguys firmly believes in being a good community partner and giving back. It supports Foothill and Amador Valley high school athletic programs and is active in local community events as well as aiding those at the Veterans Hospital in Livermore.

Two key Goodguys staff members also have roots firmly planted here. Andrew Ebel, vice president of Business Operations at Goodguys, has been a Pleasanton resident 11 years. He serves on the executive board of Visit Tri-Valley in addition to coaching youth football here.

Drummond spent his youth in Sunol and Pleasanton, graduating from Foothill High in 1984.

The Goodguys 28th West Coast Nationals event will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. next Friday and Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24.

For complete event details, including admission prices, event attractions and more, visit or call 838-9876.


Like this comment
Posted by Randy
a resident of Mission Park
on Aug 16, 2014 at 8:51 pm

I remember when I first moved to Pleasanton we would walk downtown on Goodguys weekend and got to enjoy many beautiful cars parked all along Main St. Main St was closed to traffic and it was packed with pedestrians enjoying the the cars and eating at the restaurants. As a matter of fact it was this positive experience that convinced me to get a "hot rod" and join the thousands attending Goodguys four times a year. Many years ago the Main St closure stopped and the only cars down there are the few that can find an open parking space. Any idea Jeb why they stopped this? It was perfect for families with young kids that can not spend an entire day at Goodguys.

Like this comment
Posted by Sara
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Aug 16, 2014 at 10:15 pm


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Posted by insurance
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 16, 2014 at 10:29 pm

The reason it was stopped is that the city did not want to pay the high price of insurance that was demanded by the car owners in case someone damaged their car.

Like this comment
Posted by Tom F
a resident of Castlewood
on Aug 17, 2014 at 7:34 am

Great. Good Guys is in town again. Wonderful seeing a bunch of hayseeds tooling around Main St. At least they stay out of the nice restaurants and pretty much congregate in that God awful Albertos 'Mexican' joint.

Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton resident
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 17, 2014 at 12:04 pm

[Removed] You should be thanking goodguys for bring hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue to pleasanton in a fun, friendly way! Hot rods are a way of life for me and millions of others. We "tool around" on Main Street because back in the day, we cruised. Sorry that for 4 weekends out of the year you get a stick up your butt and mope around. Open your heart brother, once you accept us we will accept you.

Like this comment
Posted by Don't like 'em
a resident of Ponderosa
on Aug 17, 2014 at 11:47 pm

This is the type of person that is brought into our town by the horrid car show: Web Link I hope our community stays safe and no outsider attacks our humble town like last year. I am planning to be out of town the week of the show so I do not have to deal with the thugs that take over. Hide your kids, hide your wifes, 'cause the bad guy car show is in P-town!

Like this comment
Posted by Don't like 'em
a resident of Ponderosa
on Aug 18, 2014 at 12:01 am

Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)

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Posted by Don't like 'em
a resident of Ponderosa
on Aug 18, 2014 at 12:04 am

For maximum safety for the elderly and children, I suggest they hide in a bunker, or run into the hills.

Like this comment
Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 18, 2014 at 7:31 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

It could be way could be enduring the animalistic behavior of the tribes that have taken over Ferguson, MO. Count your blessings and enjoy the hot rods and fair food.

Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Aug 18, 2014 at 9:03 am

Hey, Tom F: Don't bad mouth" Alberto's. A fun place, good food, great waiters and great location to "people watch".

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Posted by San Ramon Observer
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

@Don't like 'em,

I usually take my 1973 Maverick Grabber to at least one Good Guys show each year. I have never seen anyone who looks like the guy in your photo. You must be going to the wrong show.


Like this comment
Posted by Don't like 'em
a resident of Ponderosa
on Aug 18, 2014 at 12:53 pm

No Roz, YOU must be going to the wrong show!

For y'all who are staying behind to bravely defend P-town against the bad guys, I suggest you carry a gun. I you are a silly leebrul who does not own one, I would be happy to give one to you. AT ALL COSTS try to avoid Albertos and the fairgrounds!!! Albertos is where they all like to congregate after the show!

Like this comment
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Aug 18, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Four Good Guys car shows per year is approaching my saturation limit. Nice to see the hot rod cars once in a while, but I hope that the organizers realize that they are really pushing the limit with the big hot rod crowds every few months.

(Comment partially removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as irrelevant to this thread.)

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Posted by Kruzin kris
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 18, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Alberto's is awesome! Love the food and the people. I've never seen anyone who looks like some criminal at a goodguys show. The only criminal act I've seen is two old men fighting over a part in the swap meet! Goodguys is fun, and 4 is a perfect number. I

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Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Aug 18, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Well, the Pleasanton Weekly censored my statement about Alberto's miserable two-and-a-half star out of five Yelp review, claiming that it was "irrelevant" (while at the same time allowing all the "Alberto's is awesome" comments"). So I am re-posting the claim here.

As for you, Pleasanton Weekly, we can play this game all you want. I can continue to post comments about Alberto's on each and every thread and you have no way of stopping me short of locking down each and every thread. You want to play games? I can play games, too! I can [Comment partially removed for making unflattering comments concerning the physical appearance, intelligence, and personal hygiene of certain Pleasanton Weekly staff members].

Like this comment
Posted by Lenny
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Aug 18, 2014 at 11:38 pm


You are permitted to talk approvingly of private sector companies. Not so much if you want to be critical of them, even if you are being truthful. Pretty much a standing rule of capitalist newspapers, which means almost all of them. The price we have to pay for reading stuff in this newspaper is that we have to confront ads everywhichwhere. The ads are the newspaper's bread and butter. You simply are not allowed to criticize its clients, or potential clients. (That is why threads on Walmart get shut down as quickly as they do.) If you want to criticize government, that's okay. But not private companies. And that, my friend, is one in-built right-wing bias of virtually all "mainstream" newspapers. Of course, there are many others.

Like this comment
Posted by Chris
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2014 at 9:08 am

awe..poor P-town trying so hard to keep something alive... while Livermore thrives nightly because of the variety, landscape, parking and fun!

Like this comment
Posted by Arroyo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2014 at 9:06 am

I always look forward to the old cars cruising around town. Bring on the Good Guys ~ Welcome to our little town of Pleasanton, where nimbyism is a way of life...

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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