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NOV 30, 2023 | Photo Courtesy Bill Cook and Mark Storm

Ford & Mercury ‘Show ’Em Who’s Boss’ Invitational Revs Up Muscle Car Nats

Boss Mustangs indoors at Muscle Car Nationals

ROSEMONT, IL – Each November, enthusiasts gather in suburban Chicago to ward off pre-winter classic car withdrawals by attending the annual “Muscle Car Nats” – drawing car people young and old who have the passion for classic Detroit horsepower. Although this indoor show is headlined by a Brand X two-seat sports car, the show is open to all makes and models of muscle cars. The two-day event held the weekend before Thanksgiving showcases hundreds of collector cars, barn finds and parts, plus industry celebrities and sponsor displays. Naturally, there’s always a big Blue Oval footprint each and every year, and 2023 was no exception.

The show rotates its big “Red Carpet” Invitational Display among Detroit’s “Big Three” up-front at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont each year, and for 2023 it was Ford’s turn to be in the spotlight with the Ford & Mercury “Show ’Em Who’s Boss” Invitational, presented by The Brothers Collection. It included some of the rarest and most desirable Boss 302 and Boss 429 Mustangs on the planet. It was headlined by the one-and-only 1971 Boss 302 prototype, plus the announcement that both of the original Kar-Kraft-built Boss 9 Mercury Cougars would be side-by-side at the same show. While Eddie Schartman’s Super Stock Boss 429 Cougar was there, Ed Meyer's Boss 9 Cougar did not appear – but there were plenty of other attractions to interest Ford fans. A “Better Idea Big-Block Invitational” put together by Marty Burke of Texas drew some spectacular Cyclones, Torinos and Talladegas, and there was also a 40 Years of Saleen display, just to name a couple.Boss 429 Cougar in yellow with hood offWhite Ford Talledega on display

As you might expect, our own roving photographer, Ford retiree Bill Cook, made the trip just outside of the Windy City to attend the event with his pal, well-known Detroit-area enthusiast Mark Storm, and his son-in-law, Daniel Teoh.Ford GT1 on display

“I first attended the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN) show back in 2016,” Cook told us, “and I’ve been able to attend most every year since. With 570 amazing cars registered, the Muscle Car Nats is, indeed, as advertised – ‘The Center of the Muscle Car Universe.’ If the weekend before Thanksgiving next year is off-limits for you, the MCACN Muscle Car Meetup takes place June 8-9, 2024, at the fabulous Gilmore Museum complex in Hickory Corners, Michigan. (See the Gilmore website at https://gilmorecarmuseum.org for details.”

In the meantime, we picked out some of our favorite shots from the hundreds of photos that Bill and Mark took at this year’s Muscle Car Nationals, and are sure you’ll enjoy our selections in the gallery below:Beige 1950s Ford

Customized Ford Explorer STPair of 2005 Ford GT'sYellow ford broncoRed First generation Mustang on displayBoss 429 engine on displayWhite Ford with hood openYellow Boss MustangBlue Boss 302 MustangFord Broncos on displayFord GT with Orange center and white outer paintSeveral Mustangs at showGrabber Blue Cougar eliminatorGrabber Orange GT500 MustangMercury Cougar on displayGrabber Green Boss 302 Mustang