Firing Up – Respect the Resto–Appreciate the Modified

By Nick Licata

It is truly remarkable that original, rare muscle cars hidden in the depths of obscurity and under decades-old layers of dust and grime are still being discovered. Every so often, a rare gem emerges in an unassuming garage or barn left behind by the original owner and handed over to a family member who has little knowledge of the car’s history or value. Some of these cars could be compared in rarity to a 1911 T206 Honus Wagner baseball card. They are still out there waiting to be rediscovered and worth a great deal of money—the baseball card and the vintage car.

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Some of these rare rides can be seen at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN) held every year the weekend before Thanksgiving at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. Over the years many rare and original COPOs, Yenkos, and various other vintage super muscle cars have been on display at the MCACN show. It’s a treat to see these uncommon cars in person.

On another side of the hobby, the Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS), which will be held February 2-4, 2024, at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, is where high performance and endless amounts of customization and fabrication comes together inside multiple buildings full of vintage automotive prominence. The GNRS is considered one of the most significant indoor car shows in the country as every year top builders from around the world bring out their latest creations, vying for one of the prestigious GNRS class awards. Although the coveted America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award is reserved for the topless types, the Al Sloanaker Memorial Award is high up on every builder and owner’s list created to recognize the best non-roadster vehicle at the show.

The 2024 event will be special to us as All Chevy Performance will be one of the sponsors of the “Street Machines–Then & Now” exhibit held in Building 9. This special display will feature some famous ’55-and-up vintage street machines. We’re talking about the wild Street Freaks, Pro Street, Muscle Machines, Pro Touring, and Street Beasts from the past you may remember seeing on the pages of prominent automotive magazines that are unfortunately no longer in print.

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Also, on display will be some of the most amazing muscle cars from today, with some being featured on the pages and on the covers of All Chevy Performance magazine. This will be a great opportunity to see these cars in person so you can take in all the slick nuances and trick details that helped make these cars magazine-feature material.

I appreciate Chevy muscle cars of all types and years and recognize the historical importance of an original COPO, while at the same time I’m blown away by a wild Street Freak that has maintained its ’70s-built freakish nature and I also appreciate the ingenuity that goes into making a vintage car handle like a modern sports car while possessing the horsepower and reliability that 20 years ago was unheard of in a daily driver.

It’s great to be part of this car hobby as it continues to move forward, while at the same time it recognizes the past and pays homage to original muscle cars from over 50 years ago or custom-built hot rods from the more recent past.

As muscle car builders continue to explore creatively diverse avenues, whether it’s restoring a classic to honor a car’s original heritage or taking a restomod to the next level of performance, we are in the midst of a hobby that is experiencing an exciting evolution that offers unrivaled momentum that shows no signs of slowing down, so strap in, tighten up that harness, and throw on some shades as the future of hot rodding looks brighter than ever. You in?
See all my Firing Up Editions here!

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