Milestone Program Takes MCACN Judging To A New Level

1967 Chevrolet El Camino 396 L78, Owner Jeff Helms, North Carolina
1970 Plymouth Superbird 426 Hemi, Owner Jack Hartung, Illinois
2021 MCACN Inaugural Milestone Award Winners
Photo Credit: Ryan Brutt


 Launch of the MCACN Milestone Judging Program

As we enter the new year, we just want to send out a big thank you. Thank you to all who show with us, all who show your wares and services and those who are Official Sponsors. We would also like to thank all of our staff and our valued spectators, as we could not do this without your enthusiasm and passion! We are poised to dive in and create another outstanding, family friendly and FRESH Show, so, here’s to us, here’s to you, here’s to having an outstanding 2022!

MILESTONE JUDGING: One of the new features added to the show in 2021 is our new Milestone Judging program. While in the "beta" stage, we invited four vehicles that we know are among the very best. Three had shown with us previously, and one was shown for the very first time. We had two Chevrolet products; the truly over the top 1967 El Camino, owned by Jeff Helms from North Carolina and restored by Jeff and Terry Davis and the gorgeous '69 Camaro Z/28 presented by restorer Frank Arone and Matt Barczak, who joined us from Pennsylvania. Representing the Mopar camp was the beautiful 1970 426 Hemi Plymouth Superbird, restored by AMCRI and owned by Jack Hartung. Representing Ford, and more specifically Shelby, is the very first Shelby GT350, previously Pinnacle Certified with us in 2019, owned by Nick Smith from Florida. Each of these cars take restoration to another level, utilizing nearly all original and new old stock parts, right down to the tires, wiring, electrical components and so much more.
Photo Credit: Matt Barczak
1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. Presented by Frank Arone & Matt Barczak, Pennsylvania
2021 MCACN Inaugural Milestone Award Winner

While undertaking a Concours level restoration is not for the faint of heart, in nearly all Judging arenas, quality reproduction parts are allowed and of course, nearly all cars that are restored to show have paint that far surpasses anything that General Motors, Chrysler or Ford ever did back in the day. Fact is, they weren't building collector cars back then, and most prefer to have a super shiny and smooth example of what came off the assembly line! The term "over restoration" is one we all know and what has quite honestly, become the norm for our hobby. I know this, as the company cars my Father brought home, including several GTX's, Roadrunner convertibles, a 340 Dart GTS and many Imperials were nowhere near what we see on the MCACN show floor today, and he was a Senior Vice President!

We have found, however, that each year there are a select few who go above and beyond in their restorations, actually duplicating factory build techniques. While spending years researching for the proper date coded original spark plug wires or even tires is not for everybody, (not to mention the expense!), we feel that those who do deserve to be recognized, not only for their passion and investment, but for their enthusiasm and commitment. And that is what the MCACN Milestone Judging and Certification program is all about.

Led by Dave Wise and our Judging Supervisor Bill Braun, Dave called upon Bob Perkins and Rick Campbell for input on Ford and Shelby products, Dru Diesner, Mike Slaughter and Larry Christenson for Chevrolets. The combined knowledge and respect of these gentlemen is unsurpassed in our hobby, and we are honored to have them among our Milestone team. Of course, with our access to so many knowledgeable marque experts that join us every year, we will be calling on others to assist with the various makes and models in the future.

What really makes this program different is the intensity of the judging and criteria. With awards presented in several levels, vehicles are inspected inside, outside and even underneath as they are put on a Titan lift. Understand that this program will always be a "work in progress" as we all are constantly learning more and applying or adjusting standards as needed. The Judging book, created by Dave Wise specifically for the Milestone program, is over 80 pages long, intensely covering every square inch. With an emphasis on using original parts, reproduction parts will incur point deductions, as will non factory paint procedures and even chassis and suspension details. Even duplication of factory paint runs, undercoating drips and what many consider "flaws" are considered. is that intense!

Pre-Qualification is a must, and very few will meet the criteria. Since the process takes many hours of inspection by several marque specialists, we will limit the number of candidates each year.

Photo Credit: Ryan Brutt
1965 Shelby GT350 #003, Owner: Nick Smith, Florida
2021 MCACN Inaugural Milestone Award Winner

SO HOW DID THEY DO? So this year the goal was to do a "soft launch" to learn how to make this work. We learned a lot, and we thank the four owners and their restorers for their cooperation and understanding as we work out the details. For 2022, we will meet and compare notes to make sure we have the most intense and properly executed program possible. With that being said, knowing that our first four candidates were truly among the very best of the best, they were all outstanding, and ranked to the highest standards. In fact, Mr. Helms El Camino was clearly among the finest vehicles we have ever judged at the MCACN show since our inception. The Superbird, which was a previous Gold Concours award winner, again took things to another level, with details underneath that were so well researched they set the standard. For Mr. Smith's 1965 GT350, the amount of research into the smallest detail proved that adding Milestone Certification to his portfolio, in addition to the Pinnacle Certification, MCA Trailered Gold and various SAAC awards, while by no means an easy task, was achieved. The Camaro Z/28, fresh from a full restoration utilizing an incredible amount of NOS parts along with a vast majority of original parts, again set the standard for first generation Camaros. We are truly honored and proud to say that these four vehicles are undisputedly the finest of their kind and may well be the best restored cars we have ever had the honor of judging since our inception in 2009, and we congratulate Mr. Helms, Mr. Hartung, Mr. Smith along with Mr. Arone and Mr. Barczak for allowing us to spotlight what taking it to another level is all about. Congratulations Gentlemen!

While this program is certainly not for everyone, in fact for very few, we are pleased to once again "raise the bar" for not only the MCACN show, but for our hobby. If you have a potential candidate for 2022 Milestone Judging and Certification, please send information to


MECUM KISSIMMEE: The year kicks into high gear this week with Dana Mecums HUGE Kissimmee Florida auction. This is not only the biggest, it is the best! With more cars, more variety and all kinds of Road Art, it is a great way to start the year. The auction starts Thursday, January 6 and continues for a full TEN days to Sunday, January 16. Seriously, if you can't find it in Kissimmee, you aren't looking hard enough! From entry level Malaise era cars (hint-hint) to multi-million dollar Muscle and Exotics, it's all there. With over 3,500 lots crossing the block it is truly an incredible opportunity, whether you are buying, selling or just checking it out. And remember, if you aren't able to head south, you can catch the auction action on their new home on the Motor Trend Channel and don't forget to sign up for the Mecum Infonet to get real time live coverage of every minute of auction action. Click Here for more information on the Mecum Kissimmee Auction. 


MCACN 2022 INVITATIONAL & SPECIAL DISPLAYS: As always, we will celebrate the best Anniversary years for American Muscle and Corvettes, which means we will host a Class of 1967 and a Class of '72. As previously announced, we will have a "display within the display" featuring the '72 "X" Code Oldsmobiles. Of course, our Corvette Central Triple Diamond Certification program along with our Vintage Certification program, Sponsored by American Performance, LLC return. Barn Finds & Hidden Gems also return, Sponsored by Miller Auto Care, Stock Restorations and Restomods, as that is always a hit. We have some truly unexpected Special Displays being finalized now and we will announce them in the next few eblasts. For the big "Red Carpet" display up front, the spotlight will shine on Mopars this year, with our "Wings over America" Invitational, Sponsored by The Brothers Collection devoted to the Dodge Daytona and Plymouth Superbird. This is just the beginning, and get ready to be surprised with some truly unique and downright FUN Invitational displays that we have never done before with us, or anywhere else that we will be announcing soon! Stay Tuned...

CAR ENTRY: Applications are now being accepted online through our website here: To Pre-Qualify, email pictures and information to Priority is always given to cars that have not been previously shown, have never been to the Chicago area or are rarely (or never!) shown to the general public.

MCACN OFFICIAL HOST HOTELS: It is never too soon to start planning! We have locked in great deals with extra perks at all SIX of our Official Host Hotels. As you know, the DoubleTree and the Embassy Suites are always the first to sell out, and in 2021, we had well over 2,000 room nights booked among the six. These folks know us and what we are all about. I can't emphasize this enough; we work hard directly with each of these hotels to secure great rates, reduced rate parking and extra perks. All six are convenient to the show with five directly across the street and the aLoft just a couple blocks away with free door to door shuttle service. Booking links are up NOW for the DoubleTree, the Embassy, the aLoft, and the Hyatt. The booking link for the Hilton and Crowne will be up very soon.

As always, we truly appreciate the continued support and passion that you all share with us, whether as a participant or a spectator. Put the big red circle on your new 2022 calendar now for November 19-20, when we return to the beautiful Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, (suburban Chicago) Illinois.

The MCACN Team is Geared up and Ready for the New Year.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy and BE NICE!

Bob Ashton
Managing Member


Our Title Sponsor


Other Items of Interest