You don't need much of a reason to visit vibrant Chicago, especially during the Midwest doldrums starting in late fall and continuing through early spring. The cold air that moves in, invariably with moisture in either liquid or solid form (snow), saps the energy of most enthusiasts.
The expansive (and recently expanded) McCormick Place just south of Chicago's skyline is the traditional host to around 300 Chevys and Corvettes twice a year-once in the fall and again in the spring. The tangerine-flavored Vette in the foreground has color-coordinated fuelrail covers and twin nitrous bottles. Nice detail!
Most park their Vettes by late fall, but some put them on a trailer and head to Chi-Town's McCormick Place for the twice-yearly Chevy Vettefest.
Here's a rare piece of aftermarket indulgence: This Stingray wears the Spyder one-piece nose (with tunneled headlights) offered through Motion Performance in the '70s. The Spyder graphics were from the short-lived Chevy Monza model of the same name and were part of the Motion kit. Though not as brash as Eckler's Can Am kit, it nonetheless reflected the customization craze of the time.
Held in the fall and again in the spring, the indoor events give weather-challenged car nuts an excuse to ditch their spouses for one more weekend-that is, until the next summer's show season starts.
One of the Chevy Vettefest's recent events brought together a terrific collection of competition cars billed as the "Corvettes of the triple crown of racing." These historic racers at Le Mans, Sebring, and Daytona included everything from the '60 Briggs Cunningham Corvette raced at Le Mans and Sebring to one of the iconic '02 C5-R Pratt and Miller factory racecars. Another favorite was the '68 L88 Heinz-Johnson Rebel Le Mans car, now owned by Mid America Designs' Mike Yager.
For the production-based cars, their were plenty of great entries vying for Gold Spinner awards, as well as dozens of nicely polished drivers displayed by other enthusiasts.
Of course, no foray to Chicago is complete without a trip to a blues club and one of the seemingly hundreds of deep-dish pizza joints. Add it all together and you've got Vettes, music, and great pizza set against the bustling backdrop of one of the country's most vibrant urban centers. We never even noticed the snowflakes twirling outside.
Editor's note: For information on upcoming Chevy Vettefest events, visit www.midamericapromotions.com.