This year marked the 30th anniversary of the hallowed Corvette event known as Bloomington Gold. Over the years, through ownership and location changes, thousands of enthusiasts continue to migrate to southern Illinois in late June to celebrate classic Corvettes. And this year was no different, except that the weather was better than usual. Despite rain all day Thursday (when most of the activity was indoors anyway), the rest of the weekend felt like September, bringing more of the local population into the show than is typical.
And there was plenty to see and do. In addition to a wide variety of seminars, attendees could roam through acres of Corvettessome of them for sale, most just on displayor connect with a myriad of vendors to shop for parts. The Special Collection, this year a salute to Corvette Power, was packed with visitors, all coming to pay homage. They feasted their eyes on beautiful straight-axle and mid-year specimens including a 57 fuelie, a couple of rare L88s, big-blocks, and race cars. Also displayed were some special newer models, including a rare, dark green ZR-1, wild tuner cars from Mallett and Rippie, and a fully restored 65 pre-production 427 cut-away engine display from Mike Yagers collection. No wonder the display room stayed packed!
The auction tent was filled to capacity with nearly non-stop auctioneering. If you managed to get all that in, you still werent through. You had to see the five Corvettes inducted into the Bloomington Gold Hall of FameChip and Judy Millers 59 Purple People Eater race car; Irwin Kroiz 62 Sebring race car; Mike and Laurie Yagers 68 convertible Le Mans race car; Frank Stechs 69 L88; and the 2001 C5-R Competition Corvette owned by GM Racing.
The newest honor Bloomington Gold offers is the Historic Award. Four Corvettes captured it this year: the wild shark that was featured in the 70s movie Corvette Summer, now part of Mike Yagers collection; the 94 Pace Car from the Brickyard 400, which was driven by A.J. Foyt; the 67 big-block built specially for Bill Mitchells wife that included air conditioning; and the now-green Greenwood racer with an even more colorful past.. There were judging and awardsGold, Benchmark, Survivor, Historictake your pick! My personal favorite is the Survivor judging, with its 40-mile road test. This year, I was paired up with Cindy Foss in her Glen Green 65 that showed exactly 1,600 original miles as we began the road test. Cindy and her husband Ed from Roanoke, Indiana, have a goal: They want to own a perfect specimen from each year between 63 and 72. So far, all theyre lacking are a 63, a 64, and a 66. Theyd owned a 64 and a 66, but they werent in award-winning condition, so they sold them and are continuing their hunt. Ed took their white 68 L89 on the same road test, and the Fosses are happy to report that both cars made the grade. Congrats to all of the folks who took home prizes that weekend, and thanks to all those judges who worked so hard to certify all those Corvettes.
Some of those judges deserve special recognition. As mentioned in last months On The Marque, there were nine of them who met Benchmark standards themselves back in 1993. They are Ron Goduti, Kevin Mackay, Brian Pearce, Don Deam, Terry McManmon, Jay Stahl, Lewis Russell, Helene Zasadny, and John Hibbert.
After all that, there was still the road tour Saturday afternoon. A new route through twisting country roads wound many Corvette lovers to the end of a busy day.
At Bloomington Gold this year, if you couldnt find anything to do, you had no one to blame but yourself.