The National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) is a nonprofit group dedicated to the restoration and preservation of Corvettes that are at least 15 years old. The society utilizes strict guidelines and uses highly trained judges to determine if a Corvette is authentic. If it meets the society's criteria, it's awarded a "Top Flight" certificate. This certification enhances the car's value and is sought after by many vintage owners.
Each year the NCRS holds meets around the country, and for the past 32 years the NCRS Florida Chapter has held the society's first show of the year. Good weather and a beautiful location have helped to make this one of the group's most popular events. Called the "Winter Regional Meet," the show has had many homes since 1978, including Cypress Gardens, Disney World, and the Hyatt hotel in Orlando. Early in the last decade it was moved to the Old Town complex in Kissimmee. Old Town is a small entertainment center filled with '50s architecture and quaint streets that lend themselves to cruise nights. With ample parking and plenty of nearby hotels and entertainment, it's a perfect home for the NCRS. A large vacant field adjacent to site provides ample room for vendors to sell parts.
Owners brought well over 140 Corvettes to this year's show, a record for the event. It was hard to pick a favorite, but a few caught our attention this year. The first was a one-owner '58 Vette with more than 400,000 miles on its clock. This car, owned by Chet Tibbils, wouldn't win an NCRS award for authenticity, but it does represent an amazing story about how one person has owned and loved his Corvette for 52 years.
A rare '53 Corvette-the 29th built-was unveiled at the show. It had been in storage in Brooksville, Florida, for many years. The second owner, who passed away in 2002, purchased the car from its original owner in1964. His widow is currently having this important part of Corvette history restored. As you can see in the accompanying photos, this will be a major undertaking.
Ed Schultz Jr., meanwhile, showed off his immaculate black '56 Corvette, fitted with a 225hp, 265ci engine and a three-speed transmission. This radio-delete Corvette was in perfect shape and was a real attention getter.
The vendor's field was packed with Corvettes for sale and booths laden with hard-to-find parts. You could even buy classic-car insurance for your Corvette at a booth on the midway. One car that caught our attention on the For Sale lot was a pristine red '03 Z06 with 29,000 miles on its clock. The owner was asking $23,900, which is quite a drop from its original sticker.
The Bowling Green Assembly Plant was well represented by plant engineers Tom Hill and Damian Zink. Both held seminars and made themselves available throughout the event to field questions from owners. They arrived in a red '10 Grand Sport convertible, which proved to be a crowd pleaser. Other noteworthy entries included a multi-colored blown '80 Corvette coupe and a Vette-powered '63 Ferrari sitting in the parking lot. Both drew large crowds with their impressive craftsmanship of arresting looks.
Come along now as we revisit some of the more notable sights from the 2010 NCRS Winter Regional Meet. And if you're in Florida next January, we highly recommend experiencing this "Old Town Delight" in person.