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Check Out the Amazing Stories Behind These Barn Finds & Hidden Gems at the 2016 MCACN Show

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 1/11/2017 Hot Rod Network Staff

001-muscle-car-review-lead-photo-mcacn-barn-finds-2016.jpg Check Out the Amazing Stories Behind These Barn Finds & Hidden Gems at the 2016 MCACN Show

There are always a lot of very interesting cars at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals, but regardless of what brand or make you personally appreciate, it seems everyone ends up in the Barn Finds & Hidden Gems section of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Author and Automotive Archeologist Ryan Brutt gets credit for the legwork and persistence that creates this popular display each November.

While “the rarer the better” is a good MCACN creed even here, with these cars it is often the stories that make each one special. How did it get from the past to the present? Where it was found? What will be done to it later? Mr. Brutt kindly showed us around and gave us the backstory on the rare iron gathered in 2016. We expect more in 2017 at what is the greatest muscle car gathering on the planet; go to mcacn.com for more info.

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 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1969 Charger 500

This special aero package was released soon after the 1969 Charger arrived, and had to be built in enough quantity (reported at 500 units) in late 1968 to be legal for the 1969 Daytona 500. Indeed, most of the 1969 Charger road testing in magazines was done with these models. In the end, it is believed only 392 units were actually converted to 500 model trim. When they lost the February 1969 race by inches, boss Bob McCurry ordered up the slicker Daytona. This 440/four-speed car was documented by Mr. Brutt in the summer of 2016 and was the “freshest” of the cars on hand, being uncovered the Thursday before the event opened and brought in from Wisconsin by owner Scott Clausing.

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1973 AMC Javelin

CarTech book editor Wes Eisenschenk displayed his recently bought 1973 Javelin powered by a 401/four-speed combo. Most people forget that this was the only big-block ponycar other than the Pontiac 455 Firebird offered by this time. Though the car was showing signs of outdoor storage, some factory graphics remained. The car is destined for restoration. After friends of his found it on Craigslist in the Chicago area and bought it, Eisenschenk picked it up only a couple of months before the show.

muscle-car-review-studebaker-R2-side-mcacn-barn-finds-2016.jpg© Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt muscle-car-review-studebaker-R2-side-mcacn-barn-finds-2016.jpg

1964 Studebaker Daytona R2

There was a great collection of early 1960s performance Studebakers in their own display at MCACN. This all-original supercharged R2 Daytona in the Barn Finds area was a perfect complement to the group. James Moore is the owner, and the car was still sporting its blown Jet Thrust 289ci engine complete with Paxton blower and STP extras. Alas, the brand’s days were numbered by 1964. It would never impact the overall 1960s performance marketplace.

  © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt   

1970 W-30 Olds Holiday Coupe

Collector Stephano Bimbi had a number of cars at MCACN as part of the growing Nickey collection. This was probably the nicest car in the 2016 display. With just three prior owners and hidden away between 1982 and 2016, the freshly discovered car is an October 1969 build in special-order Rally Red and is unrestored. Plus, that W-30 option was full of guts at this point, and it is one of just over 1,000 built with a four-speed.

muscle-car-review-1968-dodge-short-track-car-front-three-quarter-mcacn-barn-finds-2016.jpg© Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt muscle-car-review-1968-dodge-short-track-car-front-three-quarter-mcacn-barn-finds-2016.jpg

1968 Chargerish Short Track Car

Jim Kramer had one of the few running cars in the display, and it was special. Originally a chassis constructed by Ray Nichels in the first year of his association with Chrysler, 1963, it was upgraded for Hemi power in 1965 and made a run up Pikes Peak. Later it was given a steel 1968 Charger shell with a variety of modifications (like a segmented Newport wraparound front bumper and Plymouth back bumper mounted upside-down) for the Saturday night fights in the Midwest. Parked in the mid-1970s, it was found by Kramer in 1984, and it took him 20 years to buy it. It is now running again. Deciding to ignore the “yeah, that’ll buff right out” crowd, Kramer will be keeping it just as it sits now.

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

The Broncos

On display were two V-8 Ford Broncos from Seth Burgett. One was an incredible survivor with minimal wear, a seldom-seen occurrence since so many were used and abused in remote environments. The other was not stellar in condition but had provenance. Prince Phillip of England had used it on hunting trip in the late 1960s. Burgett founded Gateway Bronco, which is dedicated to preserving these special trucks.

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1967 Shelby Mustang

Burgett also had a running unrestored 1967 Shelby G.T. 350 Mustang on display, whose first owner had installed a Paxton supercharger. While that was removed, the second owner both drag-raced and road-raced the car, giving it historical importance among the Shelby faithful. Known as No. 1933, the car sports its original interior and sheetmetal. It was in storage for 20 years in Maryland before Burgett found it. When contacted, the second owner told him that he had continued looking for the car on eBay, regretting having sold it.

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1967 Corvette

Michael Ely’s big-block Corvette showed some obvious signs of a racing background. Original Corvettes modified for racing often need serious restoration help and, frankly, need to have a final value that justifies the effort. With a penchant for those street machines of the 1970s, we actually kind of liked the way it looks now—but, hey, that’s just us.

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1968 Trans-Am Z/28 Camaro

Of everything that showed up for the 2016 event, this car would have probably been considered the biggest basket case in terms of appearance. As you might remember reading in MCR this past summer, Jeff Makovich’s Camaro was actually a very rare real Trans-Am race car. Hopefully it will one day be so again, wearing its original paint and refitted sheetmetal, and in running condition.

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1977 Mr. Norm's Custom Van

Many of us remember the van craze of the 1970s. This 1977 B200 Long Box with a 440, Dana 60 rear, and power everything not only features crazy paint but a mural of the final 1970s Mr. Norm’s Super Charger funny car in action. Kenny Safford was the driver, but this van was owned by none other than Mr. Norm Krause himself, who had the murals painted on this van and drove it before it was sold in 1979. It then stayed with the same owner for the next 40 years or so. Finally sold to new owner Thomas Burke in 2016, it formally debuted on the Mopar show circuit this past summer and was shown for the barn finds display in its as-seen original paint.

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1966 GTO Funny Car

Among the relics was this very interesting evolutionary altered-wheelbase funny car. The Assassin (formerly Grey Ghost) Pontiac GTO had once raced in the Midwest’s UDRA circuit in the Chicago area but was retired as speeds increased. Powered by an injected Pontiac engine, the car still features some of its original paint, but the fiberglass shell and Plexiglas windows are showing their age. Owner Todd Holzknecht is looking for information on how this car was raced back in the day and how it had an injected 421 Pontiac engine.

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1972 Buick Stage 1 GS

Can you find your own barn find? George and Gary Steele bought this car back in 1992 and tucked it away as a car they would get done one day. That day never came. On November 13, a week before this show, they dragged it out of the shed it has been in for almost 25 years near Nashville to bring it to the event. The California car was built on the San Jose line and is one of 24 ordered without a radio.

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1966 Corvette

Dennis Tracy is a longtime parts man in the Corvette business. This car showed up almost by accident. Show co-owner Bob Ashton also had a display for the Pure Stock Drags here. The section’s manager, Donnie Brass, saw this car that had been sitting in Tracy Performance’s Detroit warehouse for 25 years. He told Tracy that the neglected but preserved small-block car belonged at MCACN, and Tracy replied, “If you want to dig it out, go for it!”

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1964 Chrysler 300

Big is how any Chrysler 300 from the old days would be described, and this one especially fits the bill, but the coolest part of Charlie Lillard’s beast was that it was a factory RB wedge/four-speed combo. Already rare when new, very few of these cars survived into the 1970s due to radical changes in automotive tastes, so seeing one in any condition is unique. They are still out there.

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1962 Olds Jetfire

People rarely talk about this brief foray into turbocharging by GM in the 1960s, but the Jetfire was an attempt at economy-minded turbocharging, done by placing the unit atop a special lightweight aluminum small-block V-8 engine. Eric Jenson not only had an unrestored 43,000-mile as-found example (one of three four-speeds known and actually recovered with help from Ryan Brutt after 40 years of storage) on hand, but also a spare motor for display.

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1963 Shamrock Plymouth Max Wedge

This car is a real Max Wedge that originally was campaigned in Michigan. Some stabilization has already been done to it. Found and now owned by second-generation car enthusiast Adam Bartie, the car was raced in the Lansing area, set records regionally, and was described in a local racing magazine story back in the day by none other than legendary racing announcer Jon “Thunderlungs” Lundburg.

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1969 Charger R/T

The final Mopar in this year’s gathering was Frank McCullough’s running-driving Charger R/T. The type of car we would all like to discover, this vehicle was originally Q5 Turquoise and still had a 440 under the hood. Many 1969-vintage Chargers got “Duke’d” by both the TV industry and enthusiasts, so it is always nice to see one not horribly changed.

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1987 Corvette

A Corvette showing almost 200,000 miles was the most modern car in the display and, moreover, was being auctioned for charity. A 1987 model, this Corvette had come from Michigan and was in need of a transmission but had been stabilized.

 © Geoff Stunkard,Ryan Brutt  

1971 W-30 Olds Convertible

Jeff and JoHanna Stolowski came all the way from Traverse City in northern Michigan to bring this 1971 Olds 4-4-2. Also a W-30, which had seen a compression drop for 1971, this was one of 110 built that year. The original couple who bought it agreed: The man wanted the W-30, and she optioned the car with power extras to allow them to enjoy towing their boat with the Olds.

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