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Retro Cars

MCACN’s barn finds, hidden gems and more


With a rotating set of themes, there’s always one constant at the Muscle Car And Corvette Nationals in Rosemont, Ill., each November — a wildly diverse display of forlorn muscle car treasures. Since the display changes each year as previous participants get restored and new muscle cars are unearthed, there’s always a new selection of off-the-hook performance machines to ponder.

The Barn Finds & Hidden Gems display returns year after year because it’s also a spectator fave; once the doors open to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center each morning for MCACN, the Barn Finds & Hidden Gems display fills to the gills with guys and gals who see the potential and dream of discovering their own hidden pavement pounders from the past. Until they — and potentially you — uncover that next dream machine, we present this survey of the newly discovered dream muscle machines of MCACN this past Nov. 18-19. 

Looking for more inspiration? We also included some of the finished gems from the show floor.

To see freshly uncovered muscle car gold at next year’s MCACN, mark your calendar for Nov. 23-24 and get the full lowdown at mcacn.com

In the shadow of the Dodge Super Bee and Charger is the Coronet R/T, which had just as much muscle as either of its B-body kin. This 1969 Coronet/ R/T sat in the shadows of a storage unit from the mid 1980s until 2023, when the original owner finally parted with it. The R/T is a numbers-matching 426-cid Hemi V-8 car with a 727 automatic transmission, Y2 Yellow paint and a console among its options. This R/T was ordered without the Scat Pack stripe, so it has die-cast R/T emblems on its rear fenders.

Angelo Van Bogart

Hard to believe, but there are still Shelbys from the 1960s to be found. This 1968 Shelby GT500 retains its born-with 428-cid V-8 and four-speed transmission, as well as much of its original Lime Gold finish. MoPars 5150 displayed the Shelby and noted it was discovered with a 1970 Plymouth Superbird, both of which had been off the road for many years.

Angelo Van Bogart

Panther Pink was rare in 1970, when the color officially became available on a Dodge, but you’re looking at something even rarer — the only known 1969 Dodge, Plymouth or Chrysler that was originally painted pink. The Super Bee carries a “999” special-order paint code and was bought new at Jim Southars Dodge in Barstow, Calif., according to Mopars 5150, which displayed the car at MCACN. (Part of an original 1970 Dodge Super Bee fender painted Panther Pink was displayed with the car, and the ‘70 color appeared darker than the pink remnants on the 1969 Dodge Super Bee.) Mopars 5150 said the car was purchased new by Bill McConnell, and they purchased it from his son. The car originally had a white interior and still carries its original 383-cid V-8 and four-speed manual transmission and is a stripe-delete Bee. We’re looking forward to seeing this unique Bee restored back to its surely striking original body and interior color combination.

Angelo Van Bogart

The ultimate muscle car to many Buick fans — and other knowledgeable gear heads — is the 1970 Buick GS 455 with the factory Stage 1 upgrade to a factory-rated 360 hp, plus a four-speed transmission, and this hardtop checked each of those boxes. Although covered in surface rust with a homemade grille from the scrap pile, the GS 455 was relatively solid overall and will hopefully reappear at MCACN in restored condition one day soon.

Angelo Van Bogart

Real-deal Buick GSXes with concours-quality restorations are easily six-figure cars, so it’s surprising to see one not-yet restored, but it’s downright shocking to see one in daily use. This rough Saturn Yellow Buick GSX is one of just 491 built in this color of 678 total 1970 GSXes, and it isn’t exactly a barn find, but a daily driver deserving of some love. Even its base 350-hp Gran Sport 455-cid V-8 with 510- lb.-ft. of torque probably makes this GSX too much fun to take off the road to restore — and the mere fact that this rare and desirable car remains in unrestored condition surely makes it an attention getter.

Angelo Van Bogart

Recently featured in Old Cars was the one-off 1970 Hurst/Olds “proposal car” recently discovered in the Pennsylvania brush by Bob Moyer. The car was built by Hurst using a loaded, formal-roofed Cutlass Supreme to which a sunroof and gold stripes and Hurst/Olds emblems were added. The special car was built as a possible Hurst/Olds for the 1970 model year, but Oldsmobile didn’t bite, probably due to Dr. Oldsmobile’s already extensive lineup of muscular W-Machines that model year. Just as Moyer told Old Cars, this proposal car is very rough; the frame appears bent on the passenger side and even the cowl has damage on that side of the car. Rust holes were evident where a vinyl roof once covered the C pillar. The unique metal spoiler is rusty and damaged. Unfortunately, restoring the car would probably be like restoring George Washington’s hammer with a new handle and head, which is why the owner expected to leave it in as-found condition.

Angelo Van Bogart

It may be unrestored, but this one-of-859-built 1969 Mustang Boss 429 already has a happy ending. The Candy Apple Red “Boss 9” raced in Pennsylvania early in its life, but was found by Mopars 5150 in Houston, Texas. The car had last been registered in 1972 and somewhere along the line, its original engine ended up in Wisconsin. At this year’s MCACN, the owners of the Mustang solidified a three-year negotiation with the owners of the 429 engine to permanently reunite the two.

Angelo Van Bogart

Another solid, highly desirable MoPar muscle car brought by Mopars 5150 to the barn find section of this year’s MCACN was this 1970 Plymouth Superbird. Although its paint looks close to Plymouth’s Petty Blue color, the car was originally painted FY1 Lemon Twist with a black interior. It was one of 408 Superbirds originally built with a 440-cid V-8 and 727 automatic transmission shifted on the column out of about 2,000 total Superbirds. Despite the ravages of time to its body, the car retains is original window sticker and broadcast sheet. This Superbird was found near Clemson, S.C., along with the 1968 Shelby GT500 that MoPars 5150 brought to this year’s MCACN barn find display.

Angelo Van Bogart

Muscle wasn’t dead in 1972, at least not at Pontiac. It was still building high-output versions of its 455-cid V-8, and this example was one of them. The WW5-optioned GTO (Ram Air 455 H.O.) was one of 290 built with either an automatic or manual transmission, this one having the four-speed manual. Although it has areas of blue paint where it isn’t covered by gray primer, the GTO was originally painted Sundance Orange.

Angelo Van Bogart

Purchased new from Don Allen Chevrolet in New York City by the current owner’s uncle, this 1959 Corvette has traveled just 59,000 miles. It was used as a daily driver until the early 1970s, when it was parked by original owner Jack Alberti shortly before he passed away. Vandals stole the wheel covers and hardtop and damaged the glass before Alberti’s family could store it for safe keeping, and it’s been garage-parked ever since.

Angelo Van Bogart

Dusty and rock-solid-looking 1968 Dodge Charger R/T owned by Don Colbbert appeared to wear its original dark-green paint and period Torque-Thrust mags. It packed the R/T’s base 440 Magnum. Dodge built 96,000 or so Chargers in 1968, of which 17,584 were R/T (Road and Track) models.

Angelo Van Bogart

Clearly built to party, Gary Hayungs’ 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T had it all for a good time. Big-block? Check. High Impact color? Check. Clutch-kicking capabilities? Yes. The FY1 Banana yellow R/T with a V6X black sport stripe was built with the E87 440 Six Pack engine good for 385 hp, the D21 four-speed transmission, N41 dual exhaust with N42 bright exhaust tips, the N96 Shaker hood scoop and the A33 Tack Pak Dana 3.54 rear with H6X9 high-back bucket seats and the rear deck spoiler. The car’s presence in the Barn Finds & Hidden Gems display implies it’s been off the road for some time, yet the R/T looks like it’s ready to rock and roll with just a little detailing.

Angelo Van Bogart

Earning its place in the “Barn Finds & Hidden Gems” display at MCACN was this 1968 Camaro RS 396 car. Weathered and missing some parts, the car had many trappings of a street warrior’s past: wide rear tires, fender flares, a fiberglass hood scoop… the list goes on. It needed everything, but this rare Camaro deserves all of it. There were 40,977 Camaros built with the Rally Sport package in 1968, but there’s no breakdown on how many were built with a six-cylinder or this car’s top dog 396-cid V-8. The car was last licensed in 1982, and is now owned by Kurt Burdick and John Zigler.

Angelo Van Bogart

Gordy Long brought this 1969 Plymouth GTX with a factory 426 Hemi engine to MCACN, and aside from some surface rust on the top of the fenders, it looked ready for the Wednesday night cruise-in. The GTX is reportedly one of just 99 GTXes built with the dual-carburetor “Elephant” engine in 1969. While it had plenty of “go,” it lacked “stop” action with its standard manual brakes.

Angelo Van Bogart

It might look solid in photos, but this 1969 AMC Hurst SC/Rambler had lots of rust issues, but with just 1,512 built for the model year, you’re not likely to find another one, let alone an unrestored and intact example. This SC/Rambler wears the “A” paint scheme and has been hopped up with a cross-ram intake and dual carburetors atop its 390-cid V-8, which might be why the hood’s original “mailbox” is now missing from its top side. Martin Metz brought this wicked gem all the way from New Jersey to MCACN.

Angelo Van Bogart

You’re looking at the first 1970 Plymouth ’Cuda built with the 390-hp 440-cid Six Barrel at the Los Angeles Assembly plant. As a pilot car constructed to test assembly line procedures, the options were piled on it: a four-speed transmission, black bucket seats and vinyl top, the light package, 3.54 Track Pac Dana rear-end, power disc brakes, Rallye instrument cluster, left and right chrome sport mirrors, hood tie-down pins, fender turn signals, drip rail and body sill moldings, deck lid molding, bright exhaust tips, tachometer, Shaker hood, black hockey strip and more. The car was painted the High Impact FY1 Lemon Twist yellow color, and as part of its unique nature, its fender tag stated it was also to have a code Y91 “show car finish.”

Angelo Van Bogart

And now for the finished gems

The 1969 Wally Booth Hemi Super Bee

Angelo Van Bogart

Can’t get enough of Chevy’s First-Gen F-Bodies.

Angelo Van Bogart

2004 Ford Saleen S7

Angelo Van Bogart

The 1974 Hurst/Olds Indy 500 Pace Car in white….

Angelo Van Bogart

…and a 1974 Hurst/Olds production version in black.

Angelo Van Bogart

1973 Buick Gran Sport 455 Stage 1 in light blue

Angelo Van Bogart

1973 Buick Gran Sport Stage 1 4-speed in dark blue

Angelo Van Bogart

1971 Dodge Charger in Panther Pink

Angelo Van Bogart

1971 Dodge Challenger 440 Six-Pack 4-speed

Angelo Van Bogart

1971 Ford Mustang Boss 302

Angelo Van Bogart

1970 Plymouth Superbird 426 Hemi

Angelo Van Bogart

1970 Oldsmobile W-31 Experimental Cutlass with an aluminum 350 V-8

Angelo Van Bogart

1970 Ford Mustang Boss with a 429 under the hood

Angelo Van Bogart

1969 Ford Talladega

Angelo Van Bogart

1969 Dodge Charger R/T 426 Hemi

Angelo Van Bogart

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Angelo Van Bogart

1969 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro

Angelo Van Bogart

1968 Dodge Coronet R/T 426 Hemi 4-speed

Angelo Van Bogart

1967 AMC Rogue in gold

Angelo Van Bogart

1967 AMC Rogue in blue

Angelo Van Bogart

1966 Grant Twin-Engine Oldsmobile Toronado… Power in front and in the rear!

Angelo Van Bogart

1965 Dodge Coronet A/FX tribute

Angelo Van Bogart

1965 Buick Wildcat sporting dual quads

Angelo Van Bogart

1965 Buick Wildcat 4-speed

1963 Buick Wildcat with 425 V-8 and 4-speed with ’64 Wildcat Formula Five wheels

Angelo Van Bogart

The only 1963 Buick LeSabre with a 425 V-8 and 4-speed

Angelo Van Bogart

1962 Pontiac Tempest LeMans

Angelo Van Bogart

1962 Ford Galaxie “Mr. Ford” drag car

Angelo Van Bogart

1961 Pontiac Tempest Sport Coupe “Survivor”

Angelo Van Bogart

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