The weekend before Thanksgiving for the past 13 years (except 2020), the town of Rosemont, just outside of Chicago, turns into the Mecca for Muscle Car lovers.
The Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals has been stationed the weekend before Thanksgiving since its inception in 2009. Imagine if you will, a large open convention center, filled from one end to the other with the highest quality Muscle Cars in North America (and a few coming from abroad).
Bob and Vicki Ashton are the heads of the show. They work 365 days per year focusing on just this show to make sure it is of top quality and new every single year. This isn’t like other shows where you will see the same cars over and over, year after year. They have a policy that a car can only be shown there twice, unless some sort of circumstances demand it come back, such as a restoration.
Every year they have a make that is the focus of the red-carpet area when you walk in. They rotate through the makes, and this year was Mopars. But not just any Mopars, Wings over America. They had two dozen of the highest quality Superbirds and Daytonas in the country in attendance. Don’t worry Charger 500 fans, they had a large grouping in Tim Wellborn’s special Aero Warriors Invitational in the center of the show.
That was just the beginning of the show. As you walked the steps to the main show floor, you were presented with the Hellucination 1968 Dodge Charger owned by Ralph Gilles, and directly next to it was the recently uncovered 1970 Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible.
As you made your way through the show, there was the Maple Lead Muscle display, which was a variety of rare muscle cars from Canada, which included a 1971 340 Dart Swinger, which was only available in Canada.
Yes, you could get the 340 in a Demon or Duster, but after 1970 the 340 was only available in the Dart lineup in Canada. It wasn’t alone holding the Mopar flame, there was a 1970 Hemi ‘Cuda, 1970 Six Pack, Panther Pink, Dodge Charger and a pair of 1971 Sassy Grass Green Hemi ‘Cudas as well.
There are a few displays that reoccur every year. The “Anniversary Year” displays are always setup but, they display different years for each show. This year was dedicated to 1967 and 1972.
There was a bit of everything in these displays including the Silver Bullet. The Woodward Avenue back door factory test bed 1967 GTX was on full display in the 1967 Invitational.
Next to the 1967 cars was the 1972 cars, and they had a few standout Mopars in there, including a 1972 Rallye Charger and 1972 Rallye Challenger.
One of the more surprising small displays was across from the Silver Bullet. It was a recreation of the infamous cover with the Buick GS State 1 and the 1970 Hemi GTX. They were the actual cars from the original article, back together for the first time, probably since the original article.
Up front in the Magnum Restoration booth had an extremely rare 1971 Plymouth Fury GT with factory sunroof, which was cool. But what really stood out was the now infamous “Hurricane” 1970 Plymouth Superbird.
This is the upside down Superbird that was found after Hurricane Ian and has been seen all over the internet. We even had an article, found here, covering what exactly happened.
Also, due to a chain of events this author set into motion, the Superbird ended up at Magnum Restoration on the Monday before the show, and is going to be restored and unveiled at the MCACN show in 2024.
We have only scratched the surface of the show. There was a whole Mr. Norm’s invitational with a wide variety of cars sold new at Mr. Norm’s originally and a few of the tribute cars done by other shops.
In the Mr. Norm’s display was a few extremely rare examples, including a 1974 Dodge Dart Sport, sold new with a Six Pack intake which was still owned by the original owner.
Just down the row was Mr. Norm’s personal conversion van. You might have seen it on Fast and Loud a few years ago.
It is owned by Eric Walker, who is one of the top Mr. Norm collectors and is also very knowledgeable about about all things Mr. Norm. Not only does he have the van, he has the fiberglass race car shell that is painted on the side of the van too.
Tim Wellborn’s Aero Warrior Invitational was incredible, had a little bit of everything, including the first Charger 500. The first Daytona would have been here but, was up in the red-carpet area.
Everything from a restored Hemi Charger 500 to a Ratty, original Daytona could be seen in the Wellborn Museum booth. Tim also had on display two new cars to the collection that hadn’t seen by the public in a few decades, a 1971 Hemi Challenger and 1971 Hemi Charger R/T.
For the first time, there was a large display of Malaise Era Muscle Cars, basically 1974 through 1985-ish. Mopars were yet again extremely well promoted, especially with the Prototype Dodge Mirada on display.
It hadn’t been seen in a while from what this author has been told. Accompanying the Mirada were some Daytona Chargers, Charger SE, Super Coupes, a Magnum GT and more. The display was run by a long time MCACN staff member Brad Schroeder.
Mopars were well populated through a bunch of other displays in the show. Big Body Muscle had a 1970 Chrysler 300H as well as a Chrysler New Yorker. The Pure Stock display had a few Mopars, including a Duster 340, 1969 ½ Super Bee and more.
Mopar Alley is always chocked full of awesome cars. The famous Vintage Certification area had a few top tier cars, including an original black 1969 Hemi Charger 500 and a Superbird.
With some help from this author, the Barn Finds and Hidden Gems display was full of incredible cars. A few of the cars that could be seen was a 1970 quadruple black Hemi ‘Cuda, A12 Super Bee, Hemi Challenger, Mr. Norms 1969 Super Bee, 1970 Superbird and 1971 GTX.
The pilot 1969 Barracuda Formulas S Convertible was very cool to see. There were a few other makes stashed in there as well.
If you have not had the opportunity to attend the MCACN show, you really should. Everyone who comes is blown away and makes it a note to come back every year. Although this year had a plethora of Mopars, there are other makes and models throughout the show. We can not wait to see what MCAN 2023 brings us next year.