Corvette is rapidly approaching its 50th birthday and with well over 1 million units having passed through the Corvette factories, it's important to document Corvette's rich heritage. The annual Bloomington Gold Corvette Show has done this since the first event was held on a two-acre plot in Bloomington, Illinois, in 1973. The Bloomington Gold show still holds a special place in the Corvette hobby thanks to its "Gold" certification program that was designed to ensure originality and correct restorations of Corvettes.
David Burroughs introduced the Gold Certification at Bloomington in 1978. Experts who specialized in production details for various year Corvettes are identified and recruited as judge candidates, and once they have passed a rigorous test they are awarded a judging certificate. Groups of judges inspect cars that are brought to Bloomington for certification each year. Certificates are awarded to cars that meet these very high standards of authenticity. This certification program has been the backbone of the Bloomington Gold show since the late '70s. A Bloomington Gold certificate always enhances the value of an original or properly restored Corvette
In 1997, after several years of management turmoil, and one short-lived move from Bloomington to Springfield, Dana Mecum, a successful automotive auctioneer, became Bloomington's new owner. Mecum preserved the core of the event by continuing to offer the Gold and other certification programs. But, faced with an inadequate and non-participant-friendly facility in Bloomington, Mecum moved the show to the Pheasant Run Resorts in St. Charles, Illinois, for this year's show. St. Charles is about 40 miles west of Chicago. The 18-hole, PGA-quality golf resort was a good match for Bloomington certification.
The traditional events were held throughout the resort. A special collection of significant Corvettes was showcased in the convention center. The Mecum auction sold some impressive Corvettes including a rare basketcase factory SR-2 Corvette for $75,000. The car was in pieces, but its rarity drove the price sky high. The survivor category, for Corvettes that are unrestored and at least 50 percent original, was a huge success this year. Notable guests included Corvette race driver John Fitch and retired GM engineer Gif Hufstader. Former Corvette Chief Engineer Dave McLellan and Jerry Burton, senior editor of Corvette Quarterly, introduced their new books at the show. And, of course, a large selection of informative how-to seminars were offered throughout the weekend by various Corvette experts.
Attendance was affected by rainy weather on Friday, June 14th, but Saturday was perfect. The crowds swelled and the golf course filled with Corvettes and fans. The resort has a large building called the Mega Center, which housed many vendors in air-conditioned comfort. Other vendors were able to display their products on a large paved parking lot. A spacious "for sale corral" drew large crowds with a lot of money and cars changing hands during the weekend.
Bloomington Gold's new home got a favorable overall reaction from the vendors, fans, and car owners. While this show was not as large as some previous Bloomington events, the vastly improved quality of the show's new home and the large population around the Chicago area should ensure steady growth of this classic show. The concept of preserving and documentating Corvette heritage is an important part of our Corvette hobby and Bloomington is a key element to preserving this history.
A Cardboard Z06?
David Rusthaven from New Lenox, Illinois, is a certified Corvette enthusiast. At 14-years-old, however, he has two problems: he can't afford a Corvette and he doesn't drive. So what does a bright young enthusiast do to temporarily fix his Corvette lust? Build a model! But, David didn't build just any off-the-shelf model Corvette-he built a full-size replica of his favorite car.
He purchased a 1:18-scale model, took the measurements, and constructed an exact replica of a 1:1-scale '02 Z06. David used cardboard, masking tape, and hot glue for his construction materials. It took 20 rolls of masking tape and 100 10-inch glue sticks to hold the car together. Metal hinges allow the doors to open and they even have operational key locks! David installed an AM/FM radio with cassette player and real seats. It took him 400 hours to build his "Corvette". The car was built for a school science project and David was awarded a First place ribbon. He brought it to the Bloomington show to display his work and the crowds loved it. The model will be displayed at the National Corvette Museum later this year.
Congratulations David, you are a great addition to the Corvette hobby!