Bill picks 10 from the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals

Bill picks 10 from the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals

Imaginary take-homes from the country’s best muscle car show

The 10th annual Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals held in suburban Chicago this past weekend is known as “The Pebble Beach of Muscle Cars,” offering the best of the best of Detroit’s performance cars of the 1960s and 1970s.

Which made it that much more difficult to spend my imaginary currency in the ever-popular fantasy of “Which cars would I bring home If I could?”

Sure, there are incredibly wild wing-cars like Dodge Daytonas and Superbirds, ultra-rare COPO Camaros, highly optioned Mustangs and competition Corvettes. But there are also spectacularly restored, bread-and-butter examples of standard-equipped muscle cars.

My 10 choices are not the top 10 from the show, but they are the cars I thought deserved equal respect among the incredible gems in attendance:

This unusual-colored 1968 427 Corvette was a terrific example of the first-year of the iconic Mako shark-inspired C3 body style, and it won the Carlisle Events Corvette Pick of the Show Award.

This 440-6 Pack equipped 1970 Dodge Super Bee was a promotional car for the Scat Pack advertising of the day.

This red-on-red 1970 Pontiac GTO convertible featured a color-keyed Endura bumper and minimal brightwork which made for one of the smoothest front ends of the muscle car era.

One of approximately twelve 401-powered AMC Gremlin-X’s built by Mesa, Arizona dealership Randall Motors in 1972, the power-to-weight ratio of this compact must be impressive.

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This 383-powered 1971 Dodge Challenger Convertible arguably wears the best grille design of the series, and the body side stripes, Shaker hood and Magnum 500-style road wheels checks all the right boxes.

This first-year, 383-powered 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner looked great in medium blue. And again, this is the best year for the Roadrunner grille design.

This pearl white prototype 1970 Buick GS/X is as wild as GM’s Flint division got, with a deep front spoiler and striped interior fabric.

Who could resist a black-over-white 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS with reproduction Firestone Wide Oval tires?

Legendary drag racer Herb “Mr. 4-Speed” McCandless’ 1968 Dodge Hemi Dart is the perfect example of the wildly-painted Super Stock racers from the late ’60s.

This bittersweet-colored 1970 AMC Javelin is powered by a 390cid engine and features much of the charm of the AMX with the addition of a backseat.

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William Hall
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  • Ryan Corman
    November 26, 2018, 8:55 PM

    Blew up the manual in a generic, 258 6cyl. powered Gremlin X, hope the 401 has a better partner; handling was an issue. Love all ’70 SuperBees. Best friend in highschool (’74-’78) had one, original 383 blown up by owner’s girl trying to power out of a snowy ditch (spun main). Replaced with a fresh, cammed/headworked/balanced 440 4bbl; the 727 got built with B&M components, but retained the column shift. Ugly GoMango Maaco over unprepped Sublime… we sprayed the inner door and underhood/undertrunk areas flat black, but Maaco preserved the tail stripe.
    On N-50/15 Kelly Supercharger bias-plies mounted on 15×10 Ansen slots, through a set of Hookers, 2 1/2 inch factory pipes and original Thrush straight-throughs, the "Stupid Bee" ate any challengers, at least those on South Madison Avenue in Indianapolis between 1976 and 1978.
    The noise that thing made on the cam was worth the chunks of scalp that dorkish ‘tween bumper hood extension- who designed that, anyway?- took out of our heads. Every single time ya worked on it, and a solid cam car ALWAYS needs work, that little filler panel would catch someone’s head.
    The night the Stupid Bee (with the factory "383 Magnum" fender call outs) put half a length on a real, 426 Hemi/727 auto ’65 Belvedere (in dark Navy blue) on the Raymond Street Expressway- from a dead stop, not rolling- we knew we had something. Dude with the B’dere was PISSED…, but he claimed a built 383 too, so it all worked out and we bought illicit beer with the $$$.
    I used to hate B-body Mopars (I’m a GTO guy) and still have little scars from that hood/bumper fill panel on my scalp, but for nostalgia reasons I have a very strong affection for ’70 SuperBees.
    Many will claim styling excess and ugliness, but that mean face and scalp-ripping hood always brings me back to highschool. The ‘Bee was like a sledgehammer to the Charger’s knife. Inelegant, crude, and cartoonish, but Jeez-us wept, would it run.
    -R

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  • Wally Wolcott
    December 1, 2018, 7:42 PM

    as always a great show

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