2022 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals: The Cream Of The Performance Crop In Illinois


2022 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals: The Cream Of The Performance Crop In Illinois


For the muscle car faithful, there are only a number of events that have attained "bucket list" status. The Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN) show, held the weekend prior to Thanksgiving at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, has reached that enviable status. Every year this show keeps delivering a fresh perspective on all things muscle car related. The organizers spend huge amounts of time during the year to assemble relevant themed displays to showcase a particular brand or trend, with some of the finest and rarest vehicles available. The 2022 edition had a number of these displays, with the Wings Over America Invitational the most prominent. It was a celebration of Chrysler’s "Aero Warriors", the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona and 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird. Another major display was the GMMG Legends Invitational of the ultra-rare 2002 Berger Supercar Dick Harrell Edition Camaros. An equally large display, one that acknowledges Detroit’s performance efforts after the end of the muscle car era in the early 1970s, was the Malaise Era Muscle Invitational. This eclectic mix of cars that had the unenviable job of keeping the performance torch aflame after the arrival of emissions equipment, lower and lower net horsepower ratings, and the two gas crisis spanned from the mid 1970s to the late 1980s.

Throughout the show, there were also single vehicle displays, each with a story to tell. Some of these were fresh restorations that were part of scheduled unveilings from a select crop of the finest restoration shops in the country. The Vintage Certification that takes place each year is also an integral part of the weekend where exceptionally original unrestored cars are certified. One of the more popular attractions is the highly anticipated Barn Finds and Hidden Gems section, organized by Ryan Brutt, better known to some as The Auto Archaeologist. Every year Brutt has a hand in pulling in some extremely rare Detroit iron. These are the forlorn, forgotten cars that have been out of service for years, even decades. The most fortunate examples are saved and return to MCACN fully restored after their initial "barn-find" appearance at the show.

If you are contemplating attending MCACN next year, mark your calendar for November 18-19 2023.

MCACN 2022 Speedkore Charger

When brand-new looks old. This Speedkore carbon fiber-bodied 1968 Dodge Charger is powered by a 1,000 horsepower 426 cubic-inch Hellephant Hemi and is owned by Stellantis design chief Ralph Gilles. It was front and center at the show’s entrance.

MCACN 2022 King Kong Hemi 'Cuda

The holy grail of muscle cars, this 1-of-14, unrestored 1970 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda convertible has been tucked away, out of sight since 1976. It recently changed hands and was shown to the public for the first time in decades.

MCACN 2022 Hurricane Ian Superbird

The battered 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird that made the rounds on social media after Hurricane Ian gave it a saltwater bath was on display. The Wing Car is scheduled for a full two-year restoration and will debut at MCACN 2024.

MCACN 2022 Barn Find Superbird

On display in the Barn Finds section of the show was this original Y1 Lemon Twist Yellow 1970 Superbird that had been in storage for decades completely disassembled. It has recently changed hands and the new owner has started the restoration.

MCACN 2022 1977 Z28 Camaro Trio

Arguably the finest examples of 1977 Camaro Z28s, these three cars are about as close as you can get to a brand new one. The Light Red one had only 163 miles on the odometer.

MCACN 2022 Muscle Bikes

The MCACN show isn’t just a celebration of cars that represent a specific era. It embraces many of the trends that were popular with the youth of the time. A show within a show, the Muscle Bikes display taps into those memories.

MCACN 2022 Rusty Charger 500

The extreme rust damage on this rare 1969 Dodge Charger 500 is a result of sitting outside exposed to the elements for decades. It was recently rescued from an owner that had refused to part with it.

MCACN 2022 Cunningham LeMans Corvette

On display as you walked into the show was the 1960 Cunningham Le Mans class-winning Corvette. This is one of four cars that ran at the 24-hour race in France in 1960.

MCACN 2022 Creative Industries Wing Car Template

Often the things associated with cars are as interesting as the cars themselves. This is a unique template used at Creative Industries (the company that modified the Charger R/Ts into Daytonas) to drill the location holes for the front spoiler and license plate bracket on every Daytona produced in 1969.