by Bill Stephens
This week, the 40th edition of the most prestigious Corvettes-only event in the country will get underway at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois and anyone who has ever had even the slightest affection for Chevy’s fiberglass sports car institution knows which event I’m referring to.
This is truly the one and only Corvette exposition that has it all. The Bloomington Gold phenomenon began in 1973 in Bloomington, Illinois the same way so many iconic automotive events were born. It goes a little like this: A handful of enthusiasts organize a simple, fun-filled show devoted to whatever segment of the special interest automotive clique in which they belong, and as the years pass, the size and scope of that simple event multiplies beyond anyone’s expectations.
There are many, many Corvette shows being held from coast to coast throughout the year but Bloomington Gold is without question the premier Corvette wingding. Thousands of Corvettes and Corvette owners will gather for this four-day bash and every year Corvette, beginning with its first year of production in 1953, right up to the most recent 2012 issue, will be duly represented. And the level of condition of those Corvettes will range from daily-driven “beaters” to breathtaking, high-end restorations to fastidiously preserved, unrestored examples.
As someone who has owned a fair number of Corvettes in the past, I can recall how fervently I wanted to attend Bloomington Gold having been tenaciously bitten by the Corvette “bug” as a teenager. For any number of reasons, I never made it to Bloomington Gold as a Corvette owner and it wasn’t until three years ago, when the all-Corvette Mecum Auction in St. Charles was televised on Velocity that I finally got there. I wasn’t disappointed.
Of course, what makes Bloomington Gold a cut above any other Corvette-based event is the longstanding tradition of Bloomington Gold judging, which bestows various levels of certification to all years of Corvettes according to their originality, authenticity, and condition. There are few greater accolades and acknowledgements which a Corvette can earn than documented recognition from the judges at Bloomington Gold. In fact, if you are a regular viewer of Velocity’s coverage of the Mecum Auctions from all over the country, whenever a Corvette crosses the block and has received Bloomington Gold certification, we’re sure to make mention of it during our commentary. It’s a lock that the value of that Corvette will greatly benefit from Bloomington Gold paperwork.
I’ll be traveling to St. Charles to attend this year’s event and to moderate one of the many seminars which are offered to Corvette owners as part of the event’s festivities. “The Corvette Market” seminar will begin at 8AM on Thursday morning and will feature Dana Mecum, the man behind Mecum Auctions, noted Corvette brokers Terry Michaelis and Rick Barrack, and Lance Miller, an accomplished Corvette collector and whose late father, Chip, was one of the founders of “Corvettes at Carlisle” in Carlisle, PA.
If Corvettes are your thing, I don’t have to tell you what Bloomington Gold is all about, and if you’re coming out, there’s a chance I may run into you. Oh, and if you’re looking to pick up a Corvette to take home, the Mecum folks would love to have you attend their auction Friday and Saturday. You’ll have 500 Vettes to choose from!
If Des Moines, Iowa is a bit more convenient for you than St. Charles, IL, you can Corvette shop at Corvette Mike, on the web at CorvetteMike.com