By Rich Truesdell
While most of my peers are in Los Angeles this week celebrating the electric future of the automobile at the L.A. Auto Show, I find myself in a slightly colder Chicago attending a celebration of its hydrocarbon-infused past. I am covering the second annual Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont. I'm here at the invitation of Bob Ashton, whose dream it has been to host a world-class, indoor auto show that celebrates the time when these legendary cars ruled the road. And his location of choice is the city that gave us both Nickey Chevrolet and Grand Spaulding Dodge, two icons of the era of the all-American supercar.
Although the show doesn't open to the public until Saturday morning, I checked in on Thursday during the first day of set-up to get a look at the cars as they were driven into position, a process scheduled *to continue all day Friday. Based on what I saw Thursday as the first cars rolled into the convention center, we're in for a great weekend.
While the lighting conditions are challenging for photography--high-intensity overhead lights in a cavernous hall--the cars are simply spectacular. An outgrowth of a Corvette-only show, this event celebrates the American supercar, dealer specials from the era's top dealerships and their tuner arms, Baldwin-Motion, Dan Chevrolet, Royal Pontiac, Fred Gibb Chevrolet, Nickey Chevrolet, Yenko Chevrolet, Grand Spaulding Dodge, Berger Chevrolet, Shelby American, Hurst, and many others who used 1,320 feet of drag strip to establish their supremacy.
In addition to the cars on display for several classes of judging over the event's two-day run, the MCACN will host a car corral open to all makes. Also planned is a VIP presentation of up to 20 top-tier collector cars offered for sale. I'm looking forward to walking through the swap meet, as well as checking out the dozens of vendors who are displaying at this year's show.
If you're wondering about the modern-day Sox and Martin 'Cuda shown on this page, it was created by the team at Mr. Norm's Garage--and it will be raffled off for charity. The Challenger-based 'Cuda is actually a tribute to legendary Ronnie Sox, who succumbed to prostate cancer in 2006. Even if you can't be here in Chicago, you can still buy a ticket to win this car. Tickets are $25 ($40 for two) and benefit the Ronnie Sox Foundation, which supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and other organizations that support cancer research and awareness.
Automotive Traveler now has two galleries of photos that we will be updating throughout the weekend. The first album will be an upload of all the images taken here in Chicago, unedited, right from my camera. The second album will consist of what I think are the better shots, such as those that make up the pages of this report. These have benefitted from a bit of work in Photoshop to compensate for the difficult lighting conditions here at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in the shadow of O'Hare International Airport.
If you love high-octane American iron from the Fifties to the present day, I guarantee you'll enjoy this exceptional collection of muscle cars and Corvettes that Bob Ashton has assembled. If you live within driving distance of Chicago, consider experiencing this event for yourself. For complete details, visit the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals website.