The National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) is dedicated to the preservation of Corvette history through the use of a comprehensive judging process. This process enables the NCRS to verify how accurately owners have restored and returned their cars to its original state. Corvettes that meet these requirements are presented with a Top Flight Award. Eligible cars for judging must be at least 15 years old (1953-1999). Formed in 1974, the NCRS has a treasure trove of information that documents details of a Corvette’s original assembly in St. Louis, Missouri or Bowling Green, Kentucky. Judges are selected and trained from within the ranks of the general membership. The training process enables judges to confirm the car’s originality using the “Top Flight” Certification program.
The Florida Chapter chaired by Ed Augustine was formed in 1978, and for the past 38 years it holds the Society’s first event each year in January at a location in Florida. The Winter Regional Meet has had many homes since 1978 including Cypress Gardens, Disney World Sports Park, Hyatt Orlando and Old Town in Kissimmee. In 2015 the event moved to the Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Florida. The meet’s previous site (Old Town) was unable to accommodate vendors due to its lease expiring on a large lot next to the attraction. The Lakeland site is adjacent to the home of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) SUN ‘n FUN headquarters. The site has ample room for growth for this annual event.
Corvettes have their own dedicated parking area as well as a separate Corvette For Sale section. Vendors were on hand to sell new and old parts with plenty of space to give potential buyers room to shop. A large aircraft hangar was emptied so that Corvettes undergoing the NCRS judging process would be kept out of the elements. Speaking of elements, the day of our visit was cold and windy, but that did not seem to faze Corvette enthusiasts. A total of 33 Corvettes were judged and 25 received the “Top Flight Award.” Here is a breakdown of how each generation performed.
Six Corvettes received the coveted Performance Verification Award. The NCRS created this award in 1985 to confirm that a restoration operates properly. After an owner obtains a Flight Award the Corvette undergoes a rigorous performance test. This includes all mechanical and vehicle functions, including a road test, without any failures. The six selected at this year’s event join only 1,456 other Corvettes who have passed this test.
The NCRS meets are a great way to closely inspect Corvette’s heritage and learn how they have evolved since 1953. If you get a chance to visit one of these events, we recommend planning on stopping by for a closer look. For more information on the NCRS 2016 schedule, visit www.ncrs.org.