Corvette owners tend to enjoy their cars' performance and styling, and many install horsepower and cosmetic enhancements to reflect their own personal tastes. Older Corvettes usually pass through many owners as they age, and quite a few have been modified more than once during these transitions. It can therefore be difficult to verify a vintage Vette's original equipment, especially since assembly-plant record keeping was spotty in the marque's early days. Fortunately, a group called the National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) exists to address this issue.
Formed in 1974 by seven enthusiasts, the NCRS is a treasure trove of Corvette documentation. The Society, which boasts local chapters throughout the country, provides owners with detailed "original equipment" information for cars built from 1953 to 1996. Among its members are trained judges who can verify a car's originality using the "Top Flight" Certification program. A Corvette that has achieved Top Flight status increases in value while also preserving its history.
The Florida Chapter of the NCRS has been active since 1978 and holds the Society's first event each year. As in previous years, the 2011 meet was held at the Old Town entertainment complex in Kissimmee, Florida.
According to NCRS Florida Chapter Chairman Ed Augustine, 120 Corvettes were displayed on the show field, of which 80 were evaluated to determine their "flight" status. A total of 44 cars were awarded Top Flight when judging was completed on Saturday, with awards presented to the cars' owners at a banquet that night. The dinner also featured a presentation by team members of the '63 "Nickey Nouse" A.J. Foyt Z06 Corvette race effort.
"We were happy with the turnout," said Augustine. "It was somewhat larger than the previous year. Our annual Sunday non-NCRS show had over 180 cars in attendance. This portion of our show is open to all Corvette owners and is growing in popularity each year."
The show field was packed with noteworthy Corvettes of all generations, including a pristine white '56 called "The Chief" that caught our attention. This second-owner car has been driven a total of 33,818 miles and was a bequest from the original owner to his son in 1995. It's unrestored, fully documented, and well cared for.
In addition to the NCRS show, the meet also featured a large vendor area. It was jammed with Corvette suppliers from around the U.S. selling items that ranged from hubcaps to complete cars. It was a great place to shop for those hard-to-find items for your Vette.
Meanwhile, a large For Sale area featured Corvettes of every vintage and provided an excellent opportunity to get an up-to-date look at typical selling prices. Based on the prices we saw at the show, this seems like a great time to buy a Corvette.
If you get a chance to attend an NCRS event in your area, be sure to take it. These meets are a great way to enjoy Corvette's rich heritage, or even get your own car certified. For more information on certification standards visit www.ncrs.org.