Muscle Car Review - - Contents - Drew Hardin mcreview@sbc­global.net

Back in our March 2010 is­sue, Arvid Svend­sen in­tro­duced MCR read­ers to a brand new indoor car show, one “that soon be­came the mus­cle car buzz of 2009 in Chicagoland.” The show’s name was some­thing of a mouth­ful, so the Mus­cle Car and Corvette Na­tion­als soon earned a nick­name, its acro­nym, pro­nounced mi-KAK-en.

MCACN had its roots in an­other show with, frankly, a catchier name. The Chevy Vet­teFest may have been eas­ier to say, but the sin­gle-mar­que show it­self wasn’t get­ting the trac­tion that its “ring­leader,” Bob Ash­ton, thought it could. He told Arvid, “For many years it has been my goal to pro­duce a world-class, mixed-make car show with an em­pha­sis on mus­cle cars and dealer-built su­per­cars, along with Corvettes. I wanted to fo­cus on the high-end, rarest, best-of-the-best cars in the coun­try.”

In Novem­ber 2009, Bob, along with his wife, Vicki, and a board of like-minded mus­cle car en­thu­si­asts, gath­ered 518 cars for that first MCACN show. “What is more im­por­tant” than the raw car count, said Ash­ton, “was the over­all qual­ity and di­ver­sity of cars rep­re­sented.”

That still holds true to­day, as MCACN cel­e­brates its 10th an­niver­sary. The Chicago-area con­ven­tion cen­ter where the show is held can fit about 500 cars, give or take, plus ven­dor ar­eas. A lot of other shows have higher car counts, but none of­fers the con­sis­tent level of qual­ity, rar­ity, and de­sir­abil­ity that you see at this show.

What’s more, Bob set out to en­sure that each show would be dif­fer­ent from the pre­vi­ous, en­cour­ag­ing re­peat busi­ness among par­tic­i­pants and spec­ta­tors alike. Some of the most pop- ular dis­plays, like Ryan Brutt’s Barn Finds and Hid­den Gems, or the Vin­tage Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion area for un­re­stored cars, were additions Bob and com­pany made over the years. Bob comes up with fresh themes for the show’s in­vi­ta­tional dis­plays each year to go along with those that re­peat, like the model-year an­niver­sary in­vi­ta­tion­als. He also care­fully se­lects par­tic­i­pants, so about 80 per­cent of the cars in the hall are new to the show.

Ev­ery time we go to MCACN we heap praise on the show, won­der­ing just how Bob and his team can top that show next year. I think MCACN X is go­ing to set the high bar even higher.

For one thing, Bob has been promis­ing for the bet­ter part of a year that he’s go­ing to “pull out all the stops” for this 10th an­niver­sary show. Plus, time is on his side. While each year in mus­cle car his­tory is im­por­tant, 1968 was a wa­ter­shed for many rea­sons. MCACN’s cel­e­bra­tion of the 50th an­niver­sary of the 1968 model year will also en­com­pass dis­tinct in­vi­ta­tion­als for spe­cial 1968 mod­els:

Hurst Hemi Su­per Stock Darts and Bar­racu­das hosted by Jim Kramer (whose own Hurst Hemi Bar­racuda is on the cover of this is­sue). Hurst/Olds cars.

Chevy II/No­vas hosted by

Brian Hen­der­son and the Su­per Car Work­shop.

The Olds Ram Rod/W-31 In­vi­ta­tional spon­sored by Garner Cus­toms & Restora­tions. (That’s the shop be­hind the restora­tion of Stephen Mi­nore’s W-31 that we’ve been fol­low­ing for a cou­ple of months, and that car will be un­veiled at the show.)

You can also ex­pect to see mem­bers of Michi­gan State Univer­sity’s Project W-31 race team, who are pro­filed on page 44.

The 1968-re­lated in­vi­ta­tion­als barely scratch the sur­face of what to ex­pect at MCACN X. The Shelby and Mus­tang Pin­na­cle Dis­play, hosted by Bob Perkins and Rick Camp­bell, puts SAAC and MCA Gold Cer­ti­fied cars through an in­tense round of judg­ing. Buick mus­cle fans will want to check out the “GSXTacy” dis­play. The Amer­i­can Mo­tors’ tribe will dig the Nash­nutz AMC In­vi­ta­tional. For a third year, Stude­baker lovers will have a niche of the hall in the Stude­baker Le­gends in­vi­ta­tional. There’s an in­vi­ta­tional this year for orig­i­nal and long-term mus­cle car own­ers. The Nickey Gasser Shop will have a spe­cial dis­play of the gassers it has built and re­stored, in­clud­ing Bill Thomas’s orig­i­nal Novel Nova. Pure Stock Mus­cle Car Drag Race par­tic­i­pants will be there. And in some­thing of a teaser for next year’s 50th an­niver­sary of the 1969 model year, there will be a dis­play of 1969 RS/COPO Ca­maros.

All this and more will be found at the Don­ald E. Stephens Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Rose­mont, Illi­nois (O’Hare Air­port-ad­ja­cent) Novem­ber 17-18, 2018. Come early, as the show’s first day starts off with spe­cial un­veil­ings. And wear com­fort­able shoes! Visit mcacn.com for more show and ticket info.

“1968 was a true wa­ter­shed”


n This AMX was Mike Spina’s first car. He bought it when he was 16 and parked it in 1985. That meant hos­ing off some 33 years of dirt and grime this sum­mer to start the prep for MCACN’s Orig­i­nal and LongTerm Own­ers In­vi­ta­tional.

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