A high-end muscle-car show doesn’t normally fit Roadkill’s general aesthetic, we’ll admit. While we like nicely restored and preserved classics, of course, they tend not to get a whole lot of use. However, with the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN) in Roadkill contributor Eric Rood’s backyard near Chicago, he thought he’d give it a whirl, especially since Roadkill friend and Auto Archaeologist Ryan Brutt curates an annual Barn Finds and Hidden Gems section full of Roadkill-waiting-to-be. Let’s take a look at some highlights from MCACN from the Barn Finds display and beyond.
Eric dropped in for a bit on Friday’s set-up day and his arrival corresponded with that of Bill Sefton and his 1969 Savage GT. If you’ve never heard of the Savage GT, we can understand. Wisconsin’s Auto Craft essentially took a ’68 or ’69 Barracuda and modified it with a new grille, wire wheels, chrome exhausts, and a fiberglass trunk lid with a special spoiler. Auto Craft built only about 13 Savage GTs and Sefton told us this was the sixth one left, as best as anybody can tell.
He dug this one out of a field in 2006 and has let it sit inside for the last 11 years. It looks virtually as it did when he plucked it from its 30-year resting place. In addition to the obvious surface rust, the front frame has rusted in half right above where it sits on dolly jacks and the drivetrain, either a Chrysler 340 or a 383, is also missing.
Nevertheless, the interior looks in far better shape and Sefton even owns the awesome original wire wheels. Sefton had all of the Savage GT documentation on display, but Hooniverse also has it on their website from several years ago.
Gary Kozlowski’s pink (Moulin Rouge, even) ’70 Roadrunner Convertible also grabbed a lot of attention…and air. This one featured the original Air Grabber hood scoop and was really a stunner with that color, despite the obvious rough life it had lived.
Ryan Brutt is a bit of a Mopar guy—one of many reasons he’s our friend—so the Barn Finds section included a heavy dose of classic Chrysler’s pulled from field, barns, garages, and wherever else people put cars when they need work. This Superbird looks primed, literally and figuratively, for some Roadkill action, don’t ya think?
With all the news this year about the modern supercharged Demon, we were pretty intrigued by this ’72 Demon with a blower on its 340.
You might notice the “Mr. Norm’s” indicator atop the Paxton supercharger. That indicates this one of the specially built Demons sold by Chicago’s Grand-Spaulding Dodge in ’72. Like Don Yenko Chevrolet modifying dealership cars (see below), Norm Spaulding added performance to these Demons as they showed up into his inventory. Joe Oldham wrote of running 13s even on the small stock tires with a test loaner in 1972, so this was a properly Demonic car.
In 1969, our friends at Car Craft Magazine turned this Dart Swinger GTS into a properly badass drag car project. When they were done with it, they handed it over—sweet paint job and all—in a contest giveaway. The car came with a 340 cubic-inch V8 and and a whole pile of bolt-on goodies.
The Muscle Car show didn’t feature too many trucks at all, but this Sweptline Dodge Dude was a complete showstopper. It’s a work in progress and is apparently a late-model Dakota underneath. However, the body panels and wheels are all original.
Like many other cars in the show, this one was parked after it took a little bang-up or 10. We suspect this was a hard-working pickup in its day, judging by the sheer number of dents, bruises, bangs, nicks, and rust spots.
We could spend several hundred more words talking about the other awesome Mopars—a Hemi GTX Convertible, a prototype Hurst ’70 Chrysler 300C, a Super Bee that was stolen and recovered—but we thought Katie Doerschinger’s ’74 Plymouth ‘Cuda might have been our favorite. Her parents were the car’s second owner and they drove it to their wedding. Katie remembers riding around in the car as a kid for more than a decade, but it was parked in the mid-1980s.
Earlier this year, Katie decided she wanted a classic car, so her mother said, “Well, why not the ‘Cuda?” She and her partner Jason recovered the car on July 4 and then spent some time getting the Chrysler 360 back in shape. On her first drive with it, Katie put the limited-slip rear end to work by laying rubber for a solid 100 feet.
Did we mention this car has lived in Wisconsin its whole life and is somehow rust-free? Whatever Plymouth did to this car, they did it right. Katie has spent the last four months driving the ‘Cuda daily, dropping her kids off at school, blasting tunes on the original 8-track deck, and torching her way through a set of tires already. She took home the Car Chix Hottest Car award for bringing it out. And when we say “took home,” we mean it. Katie drove the car four hours each way to the show from central Wisconsin.
How about one last Mopar? This one belongs to Ryan Brutt and wasn’t in the show, per se, but it’s great anyway. How good do the Omni GLH wheels look on this Caravan? We’re lining up a head-to-head with Eric’s wood-paneled Oldsmobile station wagon for next spring, so stay tuned.
This orange Camaro SS was one of two L78-package F-Bodies on display. It was all original with the 396 cubic-inch Big Block V8 and the cool white stripe that follows the fender’s fantastic contours.
Logghe is a name synonymous with the pioneering days of Funny Car racing. The company, officially the Logghe Stamping Company Competition Products Division, built fiberglass bodies to drape over chassis, which they also would come to build. This, however, was an early “Street Roadster” that was recently sold to a Detroit junkyard.
The entire cabin is basically gone, but the fiberglass could be in worse shape. The rear end is about the only thing mechanical bit left in the car, but the current owners are taking it for a restoration at AAA Restorations in Minnesota. Read more about Logghe from Hot Rod Magazine right here.
We mentioned Yenko Chevrolet above and this show featured a plethora of original Yenko cars. Originally, Don Yenko built a number of cars to compete in SCCA road racing. The original SCCA-comp car was the Stinger, a hot-rodded Corvair with a rear-mounted, flat-six engine. The performance numbers on Yenko’s cars doesn’t stray far from contemporary Porsche 911s and by all accounts, they did quite well. MCACN featured three of the 115 Yenko Stingers built in the ’60s.
Yenko’s most famous cars are Camaros, but in ’69 and ’70, the Cleveland dealership built 213 Yenko Novas. This one looks completely menacing in triple black with dog-dish hubcaps. And of course, Yenko shoved in the L72-spec 427 V8, which made 425 horsepower.
Ironically, Yenko Chevrolet made and sold more Vega-based Yenko Stingers than anything else in their performance inventory. This early ’70s Stinger features a huge chin spoiler and tape stripes.
Yenko’s plan originally called for a high-compression version of the 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with turbocharger. Neither ended up being sold, although Yenko sold the turbo as an aftermarket part that could be fitted to the 2.3-liter mill.
We’re big fans of the Nostalgia Pro Stock group in the Midwest. They maintain many classic, awesome Pro Stock cars and build recreations of others. Then, they do what everyone with these kinds of cars should do: They race the hell out of them.
If you’ve read our interview with Brian Lohnes about the most recent Put Up or Shut Up episode, you’ll remember we touched on some of the origins of funny cars. Mecum Auctions brought a number of factory lightweight cars, including one of Dick Landy’s altered-wheelbase Dodges. You’ll notice that both axles have moved well forward. With the engine closer to the rear axle, that meant better weight distribution for traction. [Fun fact: One of Dick Landy’s D700 ramp trucks lives at Elana Scherr’s house.]
The Gas Ronda Mustang is also part of Nick Smith’s Factory Lightweight drag-car collection, which heads to auction at Mecum Kissimmee in 2018. This Mustang runs the single-overhead cam (SOHC) Ford 427, an engine that NASCAR banned but that found a comfortable home in NHRA drag racing.
We could go on forever, really, because the depth of this show is unbelievable. From the very first Pontiac Trans Am produced to rows of Yenko Camaros to nearly all of the classic 1960s Ford Drag Racing Team, the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals really has it all if you like classic American cars. Check out the enormous gallery below for far, far more and we’ll have a bit more on a particularly awesome nostalgia dragster that we’ve run into twice this year. Read Car Craft’s coverage here with their Top 25 picks.