Eye Candy: Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals

Photos by Larry Nutson

With no snow on the ground to deter travel on this pre-Thanksgiving Chicagoland weekend, young and old alike got to see hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of cars that delighted all and brought a smile to many a face at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals.

As the show’s title suggests, there are muscle cars both vintage and new, Corvettes, drag race tribute cars, nostalgia drag race cars, a midway of vendors for car enthusiasts and hobbyists, as well as an assortment of vehicles for sale.

A 1971 426 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible that sold for a record $3.5 million earlier this fall greeted show visitors at the entrance.

VIP celebrity guests included the likes of Jim Wangers, the Godfather of the GTO; Ohio George Montgomery, the famed gasser and pro-stock drag racer; members of the Plymouth Golden Commandos drag race team from the mid-1960s, and Corvette road racer Tony DeLorenzo, who was recently inducted into the Bloomington Gold Hall of Fame.

Dennis Pittsenbarger, star of the Discovery Channel television show Highway to Sell, emceed weekend premier unveilings of recently completed restorations such as the Clark Rand 1964 Hemi-powered Cheetah.

A field of Cobra Jet Fords, L89 Chevys and Hemi Mopars brought oldsters back to their younger years and educated youngsters about the history of performance cars in the U.S. auto industry.

Did you know that the drag racing term “funny car” had its beginnings in 1965 with the Mopar altered wheelbase race cars?

For those looking for a winter project, a display of dusty and dirty “barn finds” offered various muscle cars and ex-race cars, each one waiting for a hobbyist. Free seminars offered information and education for the muscle car enthusiast.

Preliminary estimates had it that about 20,000 folks would visit the show and from about 30 different states.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of many, many of these iconic and unique contributions to the American automotive scene. The sixth annual Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals featured nearly 600 mint condition muscle cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s, first generation Corvettes up to today’s Stingray and a collection of local hobbyists cars and trucks.

 

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