Several years ago, I was reading about the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in a magazine (remember those?) and decided to visit the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago for the next "MCACN." I was wowed, and every subsequent event has continued to uphold a special standard — the bar seemingly can't get any higher yet never sinks.
Among the hundreds of cars in display are several feature showcases that head the marquee. For 2017, this consisted of the following: 50th Anniversary F-body Invitational, Kars of Kar Kraft Invitational (Boss 429 and more), two Corvette showcases, Ford Drag Team display, 1967 Camaro Z/28 Invitational, the Class of '67 and '72, Fabulous Formulas (1970-74 Firebird Formula), Shaker E-body Invitational (1970-71 Barracuda and Challenger), Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race display, Studebaker Legends, Shelby & Mustang Pinnacle display, Vintage Certification, and Barn Finds/Hidden Gems, among others.
And that's just the core. MCACN often plays host to reveals by owners and restoration shops, resulting in oohs and aahs that can reach a fever pitch. Local and regional collectors also can enter their cars, which often brings surprises rivaling the showcases. Here were some of the more unusual picks at this year's MCACN:
1966 Bonneville: While not quite a muscle car, Pontiac's top-line cruiser was available with the High Output 421 with Tri-Power and 376 horsepower. Did I mention a four-speed? Charlie Lillard brought his primo, freshly restored black Poncho that was loaded with eight-lug wheels, gauges, and class in spades.
1969 Mustang: Sure, the 1969 Mustang SportsRoof (aka "fastback") is almost a dime a dozen, and even a 428 Cobra Jet Mach I isn't quite rare. But a base fastback with the CJ is a different story, and the Petty Blue "The Going Thing" Mustang, built for an Ohio promotion supporting the Ford Drag Team, is about as special as it gets.
1971 Satellite Sebring Plus: Midsize Plymouth performance fans had the Road Runner and the GTX. But among the more pedestrian B-body offerings was this model, the successor to the 1968-70 Sport Satellite and with its own unique set of trim and pinstriping. Painted In violet and equipped with a 383 four-speed (one of 145 according to the owner), this Satellite stood out among the more popular 'Cudas and Hemis.
1972 Firebird Formula 455: The Formula is often overshadowed by the Trans Am, but the former's strength is that it shows the Firebird's lines best since it lacks the T/A's doodads. This one pressed all the buttons: top-shelf 455 HO, honeycomb wheels, and painted in special-order black. Was there a faster and cooler car for 1972? Show me.
Barn finds: Ryan Brutt's gem of a display — a crowd favorite — has perhaps the densest assemblage of the unusual in all of MCACN. A 1970 Chrysler 300 Hurst prototype? Check. What about a 1969 Savage GT Barracuda? Check. One-of-six 1970 Road Runner ragtops in Moulin Rouge? Check. And that's just the Mopars.
Check out the gallery above for a show that runs the gamut.
Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals 2017: Maintaining the standard originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 02 Dec 2017 10:00:00 EST.