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What The Awards Mean

Could Your Corvette Take Top Honors?

Ronnie Hartman Jun 1, 2000

Step By Step

’59 Benchmark

The slight deterioration in the finish of the steering wheel and the paint only add to the ageless beauty of Steve Hendrickson’s Benchmark-winning ’59, meaning it epitomizes the standard by which other ’59s should be judged. To earn this highest honor, it needed to corral a Gold Certification and pass all four categories of Survivor judging on the same day in Bloomington.

Steve has one of the most impressive collections of Corvettes in the world, and he knew this car would only enhance it. He bought the car from Carter Perkle, who’d had the foresight to remove the original Firestone 6.70-15s and have them hermetically sealed when he’d purchased this Corvette in the early ’80s. They’re slightly weather-cracked, but still serviceable. Under the hood, a 270-horse, dual-quad 283—intact and completely original—has seen just over 20,000 miles of wear.

Partly by luck and partly by design, this special ’59 is absolutely, totally unchanged by time, earning it the right to set the standard for its peers, of which there are very few.

Judge For Yourself

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that this ’71 LT-1 has captured honors from one end of the Corvette hobby to the other. She’s belonged to longtime NCRS judge/Bloomington Gold Benchmark judge and workshop instructor Ron Goduti since she was barely three years old. He has used his expertise to run her through the gamut of NCRS and Bloomington honors. To date, she’s collected Top Flight, Performance Verification, Duntov, Gold Certification, and numerous other awards.

What separates this restoration from others is Ron’s painstaking research into things like the original finishes from GM, A.O. Smith, the Flint Engine Assembly Plant, and even data from personnel from the St. Louis Assembly Plant. Ron left no stone unturned in putting this Corvette back to the way she was right off the assembly line.

Award-Winning Mid-Year Muscle

Rated at 435 hp at 5,800 rpm and 460 lb-ft of torque at just 4,000 rpm, the ’67 L71 was both admired and feared in its day. And those numbers were what GM would admit to at the time. This stellar Marina Blue example belonged to Frank Stech of Pitman, New Jersey, when we shared it with you in our May ’96 issue. He’s got a non-published number, so we were unable to find out what he’s accomplished with this very special Corvette since then.

We can tell you, though, that this powerhouse had already captured Bloomington Gold certification and had amassed eight Top Flight Awards at the time we published it. Frank had plans then to go back to Bloomington (we can only assume in search of Benchmark status), and to continue the East Coast NCRS circuit.

Frank, if you’re out there and still own this tiger, give us an update!

Triple-Crowned ’57

Chuck Spielman of Great Neck, New York, owns this ’57 that the Bloomington Gold judges named a Benchmark®. It has also received awards from the NCRS including 12 Top Flight at regional and national levels, and a Duntov award. It has also been awarded the Triple Crown award which consists of winning a Bloomington Gold, Vettefest Gold Spinner, and an NCRS Top Flight Award.

What probably helped this beauty win was that the original owner was meticulous to the point of recording all fuel purchases, and the second owner, from whom Chuck bought the car, was a paint chemist for DuPont who not only knew how to get the most from the original paint, but passed the tips on to Chuck.

We call this ’57 a restoration handbook on wheels.

Month after month, year after year, you’ve seen exceptional Corvettes on the pages of Corvette Fever. They sometimes have awards noted, like Survivor or Bloomington Gold certification, a Bowtie, Top Flight, or Duntov award, Gold Spinner or Triple Crown. What do all of these coveted awards mean? And more important—what does it take to achieve them, to rank among the “best of the best?”

In the sidebars listed below, we’ll explain the basics of what these cars and their owners must go through to claim those prizes. For the minutia, we refer you to the respective organizations. Many local Corvette clubs have members who know the ropes, so don’t overlook them in your quest to take your Corvette to the top.

The Corvettes shown here are just a sampling of what’s out there. If you’d like to witness Corvette majesty en masse, you can’t get a better sampling than at any of the summertime extravaganzas, especially Bloomington Gold and Corvettes at Carlisle. For sheer numbers of award-winning cars, these shows can’t be beat.

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