The fun at Street Machine and Muscle Car Nationals

This show is a great example of a muscle car enthusiast show done right. Rather than just having static examples of the period, this show puts the vehicles through their paces. Participants have the opportunity to enter their vehicle in timed Autocross, The Street Machine Challenge Stop Box, a burn-out contest and an on-site Dyno.

Autocross is a timed competition in which drivers navigate one at a time through the course. Autocross is different from road racing because there is only one car on the track, driving against the clock rather than other cars. The Stop Box is a test of time, speed and the ability to stop in a specific area, known as the Stop Box. For those who want to know their machine’s horsepower, the Dyno (dynamometer) is how you find out. They strap your car on a platform, rear wheels atop a cylinder that is connected to a computer that reads your car’s power through its acceleration.

There were enthusiastic onlookers at every event. At the Autocross, the crowds were treated to all-out displays of raw power from many different types of vehicles looking for their best time on the course. The grandstands at the Stop Box were the perfect place to watch these classics go from a dead stop, to full acceleration, to dead stop and try their best to be within the lines. At the Dyno, people gathered to see what power each machine would produce. I overheard several spectators wagering a beer over their opinions of where the power band would be.

… a great example of a muscle car enthusiast show done right.   

A parade of paint and chrome rolled through the grounds throughout the event

A parade of paint and chrome rolled through the grounds throughout the event

Speaking of beer and such; plenty of vendors to satisfy your cravings. I enjoyed a tasty BBQ sandwich and waffle fries while I sat with others listening to live music by Catch A Wave, a Beach Boys cover band. Many shopping opportunities at this event as well.

With all the action of the Dyno, Autocross and Stop Box, one of the more laid-back activities at the Street Machine and Muscle Car Nationals was the cruise. All participants who entered their cars to display and compete were able to start up and leave their designated parking space and go for a leisurely cruise around the grounds passed all in attendance. To hear the rumble of these beasts rolling by is exhilarating.

Having been a young boy in the 1970s, this show brought many of the sights, sounds and smells (remember the smell of leaded gasoline?) of the era straight back to my consciousness. Seeing these classics in motion at Street Machine and Muscle Car Nationals was a treat. After all, they look great standing still. But they were made to move.

And they did!

… they were made to move. And they did!     

Both static and cruising examples of the muscle car era were everywhere you looked

Chevys in all directions including these spectacular, Chevelles

Beautiful examples of the Ford muscle car breeds

This mean looking Cuda looked fast just standing still

Some breathtaking examples of trucks on hand to excite

… the crowds were treated to all-out displays of raw power from many different types of vehicles…

Pristine examples of Type 3 Volkswagens, including a rare Notchback

The Dyno lets you know the real horsepower numbers your car makes

At the Dyno, people gathered to see what power each machine would produce.

The Stop Box tested both machine and driver reflexes

Overhaulin’ co-host, Chris Jacobs, signing autographs at the Overhaulin’ Exhibit


Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the July 2017 print issue of the Drive Magazine.