Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals

Yesterday, I went to the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals convention here in Rosemont, IL. If you know me at all, you’d know that I’m definitely not the target market for this. However, I had a friend that was going to sketch. I also heard that it’s a big deal. This was enough reason for me to allocate a few hours and check it out.

Continue scrolling to follow my little adventure. Please be forewarned, you are going to see comments and observations coming from a more design-centric and absolutely non-gearhead perspective. :)

Photo by Mike Herbert

Photo by Mike Herbert

Right off the bat, even from the parking lot, I saw that this event drew a cool type of crowd. Compared to more general-attracting events like the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick, there was a stronger and older car-culture presence here that felt refreshing.


Here I am sketching a Roadrunner. We had just started sketching, and already someone came up to ask us some questions about what we were up to! This was her car! She was incredibly friendly and enthusiastic to share some knowledge and comparisons between a few vehicles there.

Following up is a purple Roadrunner… with something clever underneath:


These mirrors are genius. Seeing the guts totally gave this car another dimension. There were some other owners that used mirrors in a similar way, but what sets these apart are their black frames and good alignment. From a quick glance, I thought the floor had windows that revealed some internal floor mechanisms. I did a double take and become completely enthralled by both the idea and the contrast of complexity against the smooth exterior form.

Engine looking better than it would out of the lot.

Engine looking better than it would out of the lot.

Here we area in the barn lot area where some owners prefer car preservation over restoration. On the left is Aaron from the Studebaker Museum blessing us with the most elaborate history lesson that ties together many of these muscle cars. He was so generous with his time and really elevated the experience for us!

One point that Aaron made was that muscle cars used to be made so poorly that by the time one hit the dealership, its engine paint would already be chipping off. People just accepted mediocrity when it came to muscle cars. When muscle cars are restored today, they tend to be restored too well and definitely far from the “historic perfection” that they would initially have the unfortunate quality of.


The back windshield blades drew me to this car - honestly I hadn’t seen a feature like that before. The angular nature of this Cobra emitted some hardcore retro vibes. This would’ve been really fun to sketch!


It’s neat to see the connection between the taillights and wheel design.


A beautiful and raw evolution of the Corvette. You really had to be here to experience something at this scale!


Triple the tail lights, triple the cool.


The hood and fenders are formed together so it could pivot out like this. I wonder if it’s a better way to access internals?


Circles everywhere. I can’t fathom what it’s like to have a row of gauges responding as you drive, but I imagine it helps you be “in the moment” of the experience. Perhaps a more engaging way to read information.


I can absolutely see this as a hovercraft. Wheels for scale.


… and that’s a wrap! This show was incredibly engaging and I got more out of it than I expected. Car culture is not something I am very involved in, so it’s fun to learn more about it through these experiences and the people I meet along the way.

InspirationLinda BuiComment