Hidden gems found at Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals
With a name like the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals, it's fairly obvious what eventgoers anticipated last weekend at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
However, beyond the plethora of familiar Detroit steel and rows of gleaming Vettes, there's always unexpected rolling gems to discover.
1979 Dodge Li'l Red Express Mark Coates, Blountville, Tennessee
One such example was this 1979 Dodge Li'l Red Express. These eye-catching rigs were only built for two years and in 1978 it claimed the title of fastest domestic vehicle to 100 mph.
This particular ride was being shown by Mark Coates, of Blountville, Tennessee. He informed us his truck, one of less than 8,000 made, was unrestored and in all original condition. Sold new in Connecticut to a woman and her boyfriend, it was rarely seen and never on the market again for the next 20 years.
The Dodge resurfaced at an estate sale in the very same town, not far from the dealership. Two "young kids" bought it to flip. Not fully aware of its rarity, in 2005 they sold it at an ultralow price to one of Coates' buddies, who passed it on to him.
1972 AMC Hornet Sportabout Tom and Tommy Zoernor, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
Speaking of go-fast haulers, another usual moving machine is this 1972 AMC Hornet Sportabout. The brand released a muscled-up version of its Hornet coupe in 1971, dubbing it the SC360. Tommy Zoernor envision the end result had AMC extended this performance-oriented trim to the wagon variant.
He sourced a suitable bone-stock candidate from a seller in Darien. Surprisingly, it was rust free and the Butterscotch Gold paint is all original. Aided by his dad, Tom, they installed a souped up 360-cubic-inch V-8, a correct hood scoop, re-imagined body stripes, Rocket Racing wheels and new suspension components, which lowered the car several inches.
The nine-month project wrapped up in time for the duo to participate in this year's Hot Rod Power Tour, traveling from Madison, Wisconsin, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
1968 Chevrolet 'Sunoco' Camaro, Adam Moore, Livonia, Michigan
Camaros on display aren't anything new. But one posed screeching around a turn at the famed Road America -- now that's a seldom-seen show sight.
This vehicle was built by Moore and resembles the handful of similar Camaros raced in the Trans Am race series during the late 1960s at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, racetrack.
Ron Fournier was instrumental in putting these racing Camaros together and, through his friendship with Moore, helped him with his tribute vehicle. In 2011 they got to work, utilizing Fournier's original build specs.
The project wrapped just four months ago and was officially unveiled at the show. What caught our eye was its creative diorama. Moore credits his dad, John Timberg, with the novel idea. It's a vision of things to come as Moore reports he'll be mashing the throttle and hitting area tracks for real come springtime.