Show Coverage: 2012 Hershey Fall Meet

Judging by the demographics and psychographics of StreetMuscleMag, it’s likely you may not know much about the fall meet at Hershey – after all, you are all about American performance cars and everything great about going fast, right? In contrast, the Hershey meet is run by a regional division of the Antique Automobile Club of America, an organization that “started with a small group of people getting together to share their love affair with early automobiles.”

The Hershey meet has been going strong since 1955, so many of our favorite cars had yet to be built. As time marched on and the original enthusiasts were superseded by younger enthusiasts, our favorite cars have become regular guests at this event.

With 9,000 flea market spaces, over 1,000 car corral spaces, and approximately 1,500 show cars, Hershey is America’s original old car event, and it regularly attracts people from everywhere in the US and the world (to amuse yourself, listen to the accents and see). And with a thousand vehicles in the car corral, there’s bound to be American Muscle to complement the Model A’s and Packards. Which of the below cars would you choose?

The first car I saw upon entering the grounds was this Spanish Red 1967 Olds 4-4-2 with the W-30 package, of which  approximately 503 were built. W-30s were only available on the 4-4-2 Holiday hardtop coupe and the Sports Coupe (with the B-pillar) – no convertible W-30s were built.

The package included a 400 with a 308-degree duration camshaft and special valve springs, special air cleaner sitting atop a big Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel, battery in the trunk, and large black air induction tubes going from the air cleaner to the cavities surrounding the parking lights. This air induction system was a W-Machine hallmark starting the year before and lasting through 1969 until Olds went to a fiberglass hood for 1970.

Advertised as an all-original 35,000 car yet having had a complete frame-off restoration with no expense spared (I suspect he means “restored back to stock?”) with the Hurst Racing Package (whatever that is), seller was asking a cool $65,000 for this Olds. However, I immediately spotted some issues with the data plate:

  • Car was built in Framingham, Massachusetts; W-30s were only build in Lansing, Michigan.
  • “2x” at the bottom signifies this car was built with the Jetaway two-speed automatic, a transmission not available on 4-4-2s.

My next thought was that this Olds was a “Track Pack” car, a latter-day term that means it received a dealer-installed kit of the W-30 package, but to my eyes any claims would require documentation. Regardless, the inclusion of the 2x code suggests that this Olds started off as a Cutlass Supreme without the 4-4-2 package.

Moving on to another Olds, I spotted this unusual Azure Blue 1970 4-4-2 W-30. The color looks like something belonging on a Delta 88, not a performance car. The blue stripes are quite rare, but the rarest feature of this car was the two-tone trim combo, meaning the white painted top.

The seller claimed he was employed by a dealership in 1970 and helped the original owner order this car, then bought it from him 5 years later. He claimed that blue stripes were the only choice for Azure Blue as he had spec’d out white stripes and the order was bounced back, but factory literature contradicts this.

He also claimed it was the only two-tone W-30 built, and that you could not get a vinyl top on a 4-4-2 equipped with the W-30 package, both of which certainly aren’t true. This Olds is quite unusual, but the owner is misinformed by a lot of things.

1969 GTX convertibles are quite rare, with 700 having been built. Standard was the 440 Super Commando rated at 375 horses. Other than the incorrect wheels, this Plymouth looks quite stock. In Mopar-speak, the color is T3 Honey Bronze, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the V21 hood stripes certainly help things visually. With the 727 automatic and 3.23 gears, it would make for a great top-down cruiser. Asking price was a hair under 50 grand.

There weren’t many mid-sized Ford muscle cars for sale at Hershey, but this 1970 Torino GT was one of the more interesting ones. Standard motivation for the GT was a 302-2, with a 351-2 as the next step up. From there things got interesting with the 351 Cleveland, which put out 300 horses and could be equipped with the optional Shaker hood scoop. This Dark Ivy Green example doesn’t have any of the eye candy that was offered that year, such as hidden headlights, Laser stripes, fancy wheels, or Sport Slats, but sometimes it’s nice to see a car completely unadorned.

Here’s another interesting Olds. The 4-4-2 reverted to option status in 1972 after enjoying four model years as its own model. However, now the W-29 4-4-2 package was available on a myriad of models, from the Cutlass Holiday hardtop coupe, Cutlass S Sports Coupe (with the B=pillar), Cutlass S Holiday hardtop coupe, and Cutlass Supreme convertible.

This is a Cutlass S Sports Coupe with the 4-4-2 package is one of 123  built, which contrasts nicely to the several thousand Cutlass S Holiday coupes built with the W-29 package – quite unique! Standard with the W-29 package was a 350-2. but this one has a 455 paired to an automatic (“U” in the VIN) which makes it a strong runner that only pales next to a four-speed or a W-30.

In 1962, Buick introduced a sub-model to its mid-level Invicta line and called it the Wildcat. It was a buckets-and-console two-door hardtop much like the Pontiac Grand Prix, which came out the same year. For 1963, the Wildcat usurped the Invicta, becoming its own line and expanding to several body styles. Standard engine was Buick’s “Nailhead” 401 but a 425 was available with both single and dual four-barrel carbs. This one has the latter which was rated at 360 horsepower. This engine is quite rare – try to find one with a four-speed!

The Camaro Z/28 took a hiatus after 1974 but returned in 1977. During that time, the Pontiac Trans Am gained a lot of steam and, buoyed by the success of Smokey and the Bandit, the Camaro was #2 – quite a turn-around for America’s #1 car brand. The 350 V-8 put out 175 net horses (170 for California), which was a far cry from the LT-1 cars from 1970-72, but if you liked disco and gold chains, you probably didn’t care. This one caught my eye due to its unusual color, which is simply called “Beige.” Chances are it was popular with Camaro Berlinetta buyers but it’s likely rare for a Z/28.

GTOs are always popular, but some are more desirable than others. The 1965 is considered the quintessential version, and it looks tough with those unusual Radir wheels. For $27,000 it could be yours, but the two-speed automatic transmission certainly hurts. The ’66’s styling was more sensual, and it also hold the distinction as being the biggest-selling muscle car ever at over 96,000 units.

This one has Tri-Power, which is a plus. The gold ’67 was the last of the first-gen cars. Cubic inches increased from 389 to 400, but the standard engine remained rated at 335 horsepower. A two-barrel was an unusual option that was new for ’67, while the replacement for the Tri-Power was the 400 HO, also rated at 360 horses. Top Dog was the Ram Air 400. Judging by the air cleaner from this car, it has the standard 400. Which one would you pick?

The 1969 GTO Judge origins was to compete with the Plymouth Road Runner, but it ended up being a super-GTO of sorts. It was intended to be a kick in the rear to GTO sales and was going to last only one model year, but Pontiac product planners decided to let it continue into 1970. Stripes moved from the beltline to just over the wheel wells and were available in crazy pink/orange/blue hues for certain color choices, one being Atoll Blue like this ’70. Standard motivation was the 400/366, otherwise known as the Ram Air III. Only about 3,600 Judges were built in 1970, with about 1,000 of them coming with the RAIII/auto combo like this one.

When the Barracuda went from being a compact A-body in 1969 to a true ponycar as an E-body in 1970, it left a void. What Plymouth did was create a semi-fastback coupe and call it a Duster. If you wanted to go fast, a Duster 340 was a cheap and fully capable a giant killer of more powerful cars. Mid-year in 1970, Plymouth released two High Impact colors: Sassy Grass Green and Moulin Rouge. This car is one of the latter, a wild color that wasn’t terribly popular back then but today it’s at the top of the heap of desirability. Only 414 US-spec Duster 340s were painted this color.

Another mid-year High Impact color was 1969’s Bahama Yellow (which also made a reappearance in 1971). It’s not so common on regular Super Bees but it’s quite common on Super Bees with the A12 package, which is otherwise known as the 440 Six Pack. It was perhaps the ultimate street racer because Dodge did everything for you, from blackening the hood to removing the wheel covers. And that hood! Wind tunnel tests showed that there was a static boundary of air on the hood, so engineers raised the scoop so it would actually scoop.

In 1963, Mercury had three car lines: the big Monterey, the mid-size Meteor, and the compact Comet. Each line had its own specialty buckets-and-console model: Monteresy S-55, Meteor S-33, and Comet S-22. Here are two of them, both equipped with a four-speed and Ford’s fresh thin-wall small block 260. The Meteor in particular is quite interesting because it debuted in 1962 with Ford’s Fairlane as the industry’s first mid-sized car, but Mercury discontinued it after 1963 and didn’t have another car in the mid-size class until 1966. Only 4,865 of the S-33 were built.

The Comet, in contrast, was Mercury’s version of the Ford Falcon but with a bit more style than the usual utilitarian compact. This S-22 is a convertible, one of 5,757 built, and while marginal inclusion amongst the 400 cid cars here, their sporty pretensions certainly were a precursor to big block Cyclones a few years later.

The Pontiac Firebird was almost cancelled in 1972 due to poor sales but, for the performance Trans Am model, sales picked up for 1973. While the 1972 Trans Am had the 455 HO with round port heads, the ’73 was downgraded to a “regular” 455 with D-heads. However, the former HO was updated and called 455 Super Duty, making for arguably the best Trans Am ever.

The Trans Am was only available in Cameo White, Buccaneer Red, or Brewster Green, and the soon-to-be-famous “Screaming Chicken” decal on the hood was a popular option. This “investment grade” ’73 has the base 455 and is claimed to be numbers-matching. It’s quite stunning too in its triple white scheme.

The Boss 302 Mustang was introduced in 1969 to compete with the Camaro Z/28 in the Trans-Am circuit. It was available in only four colors, but the facelifted 1970 model was available in every Mustang color plus had a new stripe scheme. Additionally, Ford’s Shaker hood scoop was now optional for the Boss 302, which made the Mustang look super-tough when complemented with the front chin spoiler, rear spoiler, and Sport Slats on the rear window. The 302 continued to put out 290 horses, but those horses may never have looked as good as between the fenders of a Grabber Blue example like this one.

When the Road Runner debuted in 1968. Plymouth was a minor player in the muscle car scene – the HEMI was expensive and complicated, the 383 wasn’t competitive, and the 426 Street Wedge was few and far between. The 1967 GTX with its standard 440 helped things a bunch, but only around 12,000 were sold.

The Road Runner changed things for the brand, as its price was just right for the kids, its revamped 383 had the suds to compete with GTOs and SS 396 Chevelles, and its cheeky image helped sell almost 45,000 units. The Road Runner emerged in 1969 in even better shape, adding a convertible and, eventually, the 440 Six Barrel motor. Lots of new options like this V6R red side stripe and N96 Air Grabber hood help push sales to over 80,000 units.

Pontiac was third in sales in 1962, ahead of the traditional #3 player, Plymouth. It’s easy to see why, as 1962 Pontiacs are handsome and sporty with plenty of character to back it up. The 389 and 421 motors were competitive on the street, and the 421 Super Duty was competitive in racing. The Bonneville was Pontiac’s luxurious model, sitting on a wheelbase three inches longer than the value-rated Catalina.

That makes this convertible somewhat unusual because it’s equipped with all the sporty options like four-speed, 425A 389 Tri-Power, Positraction, and 8-lug wheels – according to the GM Heritage Center, only 378 Bonnevilles were built with this engine and a manual tranny, and there’s no saying how many were convertibles.

By 1968, Pontiac’s big cars were appearing a little bloated, and the market today certainly agrees as interest in Pontiac’s big boats drops off drastically after 1966. But that doesn’t mean the big Ponchos can’t exhibit the sportiness that they were known for. Once again, we have a Bonneville convertible, but this time the engine is a 428 rated at 375 horses. It too has a four-speed, which is much rarer in 1968. Out of 3,140 Bonnevilles built with this engine, only 124 came with the manual tranny among all bodystyles. The owner of this Verdoro Green car was asking for a little more than the burgundy Bonne; all things being equal, the ’62 should be worth more.

Here you have three unique takes on the Chevelle SS 396. The ’67 is a convertible, which is rather rare compared to other muscle ragtops like the GTO. There were three 396s available: 325, 350, and 375 horses. Only 612 of the latter were built in 1967, which includes both hardtops and convertibles. If this is a real one, it is certainly a drool-worthy vehicle. But so is this black ’69.

There’s something about a black car with white trim that catches the eye, no?. Interestingly, the interior is red, which still makes sense (black or white match anything) but it looks somewhat busy. Owner claimed only 15 cars were built trimmed in three colors, but that’s just puffery that isn’t documented. Lastly, check out the ’70, which is everyone’s favorite Super Sport. It has the standard 396/350 and is typical in so many ways . . . except for the color. Code 34 Misty Turquoise is among the rarest colors for 1970s but it has aged quite well to contemporary eyes, unlike the greens and golds from the era.

As you can see, Hershey may have a reputation catering to Old Timers, but a visit is well worth for checking American Muscle plus there are plenty of surprises with other cars from the past 100 years.

About the author

Diego Rosenberg

Diego is an automotive historian with experience working in Detroit as well as the classic car hobby. He is a published automotive writer in print and online and has a network of like-minded aficionados to depend on for information that's not in the public domain.
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