We’re rapidly running out of superlatives to describe the annual Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN) show. After a year off due to Covid, we were more than excited to return to Chicago last weekend for one of the top car shows on the planet.
Each year Bob Ashton and the MCACN team assemble the best-of-the-best Corvettes and American muscle cars on the weekend before Thanksgiving. Rotating themed displays pull together a variety of makes and models with priority given to cars not previously shown at MCACN. For example, just 60 or so of the 500+ cars on display had been seen at this show before. That creates fresh and unique show each year.
Some of our favorite non-Corvette displays included the 1966 and 1967 Oldsmobile W30 442’s and the huge row of Ram Air Firebirds. This was in addition to the “Top Dog” GM display located right up front on the red carpet. That collection featured LS6 Chevelle’s and El Camino’s, Buick GSX’s, and a 1971 ZR2 Corvette. We especially loved the Challenger T/A’s and AAR Cuda’s with all lined up in their wild Mopar colors. Elsewhere there was a Studebaker Avanti display, a tribute to the Hertz Rental cars, and a section for Cobra Jet Fords among other invitationals. The 1970-71 evolution display highlighted same-make cars and their changes between the 2 years. The Barn Find and Hidden Gems section is always the perfect antithesis to glossy paint and shiny chrome all over the building.
All the cool cars were the perfect supplement to the celebrity appearances of Wayne Carini, Courtney Hansen, and an assortment of famous drag racers. Saturday afternoon we sat in on the drag racers discussion panel (one of many seminars held throughout the weekend). What a fun look back at the early days of drag racing! Various vendors were set up throughout the hall so gearheads could get a jump on Christmas shopping.
We could go on and on about all the activities at this show, but let’s talk Corvettes instead. Each year America’s Sportscar gets 2 special displays. The first, and biggest, is the Triple Diamond judging. This is where NCRS Top Flight and Bloomington Gold winners compete for a Concourse Gold award and the coveted Triple Diamond trophy. This year was the biggest field on record with over 30 cars from 1953 to 2004 competing. Included in that mix was a 1957 fuelie, a 1963 big tank Z06, the usual smattering of 1967 big blocks, and several unrestored later-model cars.
Over in the Corvette Legends Invitational, 2nd and 3rd generations showed their stuff. Included in the mix were a pair of LS6 Corvette coupes. 1 of which was an exquisite 8,000-mile unrestored example. Other prime participants were a pair of Daytona blue 1963’s, a maroon 1965 fuelie, and a cool radio delete 1972 convertible wearing rare Pewter Silver paint.
The 2021 MCACN show picked up right where it left off in 2019. No signs of a Covid hangover here. The crowds were back in force thanks to plenty of pent-up demand. With endless activities for both kids and adults plus a fresh take on cars and themes each year, it’s no surprise that the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals grow in popularity each year. While we’re strictly a Corvette site, we know most of our readers are “car people” at heart and can appreciate the quality of cars on display here. If you haven’t been to this show yet, you owe it yourself to get there. You won’t be disappointed.
We can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2022!
Now, enjoy our gallery from the 2021 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals below.
Photos by Steve Burns
[GALLERY] Midyear Monday – Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals Edition
Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals Returns November 20th and 21st
[GALLERY] The Corvette Legends Invitational at The Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals