Editorial View on Legendary Magazine Feature Cars Display at the 2024 Grand National Roadster Show

By Nick Licata

A while back I did an editorial piece in which I posed the question, “What happened to all the wild muscle cars that appeared in automotive magazines back in the ’70s  through the ’90s?” I always wondered where those cars ended up once they were no longer considered cool due to shifting build trends. Did they get reincarnated in a different build style? Did they get left for dead in a garage hidden under piles of dirty laundry and stacks of old newspapers? Or were they just sold off and never heard from again? Curiosity got the best of me.

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Thankfully, I got quite a few responses, some from the actual owners letting me know their car’s status. Some had gone through a complete makeover, some were sold, while others were still around and in the same condition as when they were built decades prior. I also got a few emails from some folks who were keeping tabs and had information on where some of those famous cars were. I was surprised to hear from so many people who were either in possession or had information regarding some of those legendary magazine cars.

So, in speaking with the promoters of the Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS) about eight months ago, they informed me that many of the very cars I was wondering about would be taking part in the special “Street Machines Then & Now” display at the 2024 GNRS.

The GNRS team hunkered down and did some deep diving and dug up more than 30 historical cars for this special showcase—many of which had not made a public appearance in over three decades.

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Thanks to their efforts, showgoers were able to see these incredible vehicles in person—cars that most of us had only seen in magazines decades earlier. I remember having a few magazines confiscated by one of my high school teachers as during class I was caught hiding said magazines behind a Pee-Chee folder reading about hot rods instead of learning about the top five exports of Bolivia.

I want to give props to the GNRS crew for pulling off this amazing display as it was incredible to be in the presence of muscle car royalty from the past. Having all these cars sewn together under one roof was likely a once-in-a-lifetime experience and judging by the huge number of people enjoying all that these historical vehicles had to offer was truly an event to remember. Seeing those notable cars had me feeling all nostalgic and wanting to dig through some of my old Hot Rod mags. Now I just need to remember where exactly in the garage I put those…

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