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Forge Invitational Musclecar Classic - No Forgeries At This Forge!

Priceless Muscle Gathers In Tennessee

Photography by Steve Magnante

Tim Lopata has done it again. For several years, Tim has successfully gathered together the nation's rarest muscle machinery for an annual car show that's unlike anything else out there. Originally held in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the event has come to be known as the Forge Invitational Musclecar Classic-even though the show relocated recently to nearby Kingsport, Tennessee, to accommodate the massive growth.

As with years past, there's a show theme, and this time it was Boss 429 Mustangs. Attendees were treated to the spectacle of a cluster of Boss Nines-one in every factory-available color. There was lots of Mopar and GM machinery on display, too.

Let's hit a few of the highlights. If you want to see next year's Forge Show in person, it'll once again be held at the Meadow View Marriott convention center in Kingsport, Tennessee, September 11-12, 2009. Tim says the theme is '60s and '70s Super Stock, Factory Experimental, and Pro Stock racers. To learn more, log on to forge musclecarshow.com. We'll be there. Will you?

Jerry and Janet Huffman have owned this '65 Chevelle Z16 since day one. Jerry's family ran Huffman's Chevrolet in Farmington, Illinois, and figured the inaugural-year big-block Chevelle would make a good B/Stock contender.

Lettered up as the Dynamite Chevelle, it was campaigned at legendary Midwest tracks such as Peoria, Cordova, Byron, U.S. 30, and Union Grove. Though the original 375-horse 396 was swapped for an L88 crate engine long ago, Jerry found another Chevelle Z16 mill to set things straight. This one's been restored but still has its original exhaust system, side glass, Z16-specific dual-snorkel air cleaner, and interior.

Mike Flash of Beaumont, Texas, is the lucky owner of this 18,000-mile COPO 9560 ZL1 Camaro. Of the 69 built, this was the second one out the door and has the original two-page buildsheet to prove it. There's a typed memo on the second sheet that reads, "Estes request red-hot pilot 427 engine opt. 9560BA." That's shorthand for the fact that Chevrolet Division President Pete Estes wanted this thing built pronto.

We're amazed at the column-shifted Turbo 400 and nonconsole bucket seat interior. Don't confuse this COPO 9560 ZL1 Camaro with its COPO 9561 cousin. The latter came with an iron L72 427 and sold for just over $4,000 versus the ZL1's all-aluminum 427 mill and staggering $7,400 sticker.

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