At its base definition, a muscle car is a regular automobile with a large horsepower engine mounted in it.
But they served more as one of the last truly great symbols of American car manufacturing, where design and function came together in an awe-inspiring way.
The long bodies, the spoilers, the hood scoops, the racing stripes—they weren’t just meant to get you places, they were meant to be stood around in groups and admired. That grand tradition is being honored this year at the 63rd Lake Forest Antique Auto Show.
In addition to the usual multitude of crowd favorites, like the Model As, Model Ts, and all the classic horseless carriages that people come out to see every year, the central theme of the show this year is those ’60s muscle cars. In honor of Chevrolet’s 100th anniversary, the featured cars are going to be some of Chevy’s highlights, such as the 1969 Chevy Chevelle 396 and the 1955 Motorama Dream Car, the Biscayne. There will also be an appearance by the 2011 Indianapolis 500 pace car, a 2011 special edition Chevy Camaro SS convertible. It was created in honor of the big anniversary, based on the 1969 Chevy Camaro SS Z11 that served as the pace car in ’69. At the auto show they’ll also have a ’69 Camaro Z10 next to the new special edition, for a side-by-side comparison.
The Z10 is a rare specimen itself. After the Camaro convertible Z11 served as the pace car in ’69, enough people expressed interest in a hardtop version that a small run of about 350 was produced. Of those 350, approximately 70 survive to this day. “It’s really quite a car,” says Patrick McAllister, the owner of this year’s featured Z10. “It’s a small block engine. So back in the day, these were known as ‘crusiers’ and the bigger block engines were known as the ‘bruisers.’ You get behind the wheel and cruise down the road and it’s really a lot of fun.” Patrick has always had a passion for cool cars. When he was in high school, he rebuilt a Corvette, an MG, and a Triumph. So when his niece recently said she was trying to get rid of an old car and she pulled the tarp off of a pristine ’69 Camaro Z10, he just couldn’t say no. “It’s been repainted, but the interior, everything’s original. It’s got the original radio in it; it’s got the space-saver tire with the mechanism that blows it up so you can use it. I’ve had Corvettes and I have a Porsche, but when I was growing up in Indiana, this is the car everyone dreamed about. I was very happy to get it.”
People who want to enter their classic car in the show can pre-register for a discounted fee until July 6, but you can also check in on the day of the show. Any car made before 1986 in original or restored condition is eligible for entry. Just bring your car to Deer Path Middle School between the hours of 8 and 10:30 a.m. on July 17 to register and participate. Spectators are welcome as of 9 a.m. for an entrance fee of $10. Judging takes place throughout the day and the award ceremony begins at 3 p.m. “For a lot of guys, muscle cars were their dream as kids, but now they’re older,” says John Looby, chairman of the Lake Forest Antique Auto Show. “If they were 20 then, they’re 50 now, and they’re ready to buy their muscle cars. Their kids are older, they’re looking for a little more excitement, and it’s time to get that car.” For the guys that already have their muscle cars, this is the perfect opportunity to bring them out to be admired. For the guys still waiting to get theirs, this is going to be a great time surrounded by memories with awesome paint jobs.
More information and pre-registration materials can be found at lakeforestcarshow.com.