In this blog post, we are looking back to Vette Vues Magazine September 2008 coverage of the Bloomington Gold Corvette Show.
Photographer: William C. Wolf, IV
The 35th Anniversary Bloomington Gold Show was held at Pheasant Run Resort and Spa, just outside of Chicago in St. Charles, Illinois on June 26 – 29, 2008. This was the seventh year that the show has been held at this spectacular location. Bloomington Gold is America’s original and longest running Corvette show with participants and spectators coming from across the world to attend. Those who attended this year’s event saw some of the most collectible and beautifully restored Corvettes in the world on the most beautiful setting of green fairways, trees, and a lake. This Corvette show is unlike any other in the hobby. Bloomington Gold’s primary mission is the preservation, history, and research of the Corvette and this is evident throughout the show. The show starts off on Thursday, with Educational Seminars (The Gold School) being available. There are several classes to choose from. The qualified instructors are Corvette enthusiasts themselves and are passionate about teaching. In many of the classes, they use real-life factory original Corvettes to show you up close and personal what to look for. There is a fee for these classes, but it does include two four-day passes. There are a limited number of seats available in each one of the classes, so if you want to participate next year you will want to register early.
Probably what makes Bloomington Gold the most famous is its judging. Many of these cars come to the event for the Gold Certification. This stringent certification is one of the most respected achievements a car/owner can receive. There are three types of judging: Certification Judging, Survivor Judging, and Benchmark Judging. Not to make it oversimplified, the judging is on the basis of your car‘s authenticity. Unlike traditional car shows, your car is not being judged against someone else’s car. “Your car needs to appear within 95% of the way they did when they left the factory. No better, no worse, no different.” Cars meeting these criteria may be Gold Certified. For more details about the specifics of these different types of judging go to the Bloomington website www.bloomingtongold.com and click on the drop-down menu marked Event Links in the center of the page. You will find links for all three types of judging there, or for judging information you can call 309-888-2588.
Granted, not everyone wants to be judged or has a car that could ever qualify for certification. There still is a welcome place for you at Bloomington Gold. The Gold Field is a place for you just to park and have fun on the beautiful golf course and enjoy “the other guys’ cars”. There is a Gold Club area for clubs to park, put up a tent and just hang out. Each year there is a Gold Year, where Corvettes that are 50 years old are parked together to celebrate their 50th anniversary. For those that are celebrating their 30th anniversary, there is the Silver Salute event. This year they recognized the Corvette Indy Pace cars of all years as thirty years ago (1978), Corvettes came to Indy. And in celebration of Bloomington Gold’s 35th anniversary, the 35th anniversary Corvette was on center stage. All owners of 35th Anniversary Corvettes received Free Admission with their cars. It was a breathtaking sight . . . hundreds of all-white Corvettes displayed on the Green of the luxurious Pheasant Run Resort golf course.
The highlight to me at this year’s event was The L88 Invasion at the Special Collection. Only twenty (20) were built in 1967, eighty (80) in 1968 and one hundred and sixteen (116) in 1969. Bill Locke, Event Director of the Special Collection & Bloomington Gold Hall of Fame (and Editor Emeritus of Vette Vues Magazine) along with David Burroughs, CEO of Bloomington Gold probably put together the best collection ever! David Burroughs put together a video presentation that deserves an award (we will let you know if it becomes available on YouTube, or somewhere else as it is a MUST SEE).
This year’s Special Collection was an exhibit of the largest collection of L88s ever assembled. By invitation only, there were 57 of the 216 L88s ever made, the highest horsepower Corvettes previously produced. Each of these Corvettes boasts over 560 HP! These unique cars were built without heaters or radios, as they were built for pure force! “These ground pounders were barely street legal.” I could go on, but we will be featuring these cars in our next issue of Vette Vues as this year’s collection was too vast for one issue to properly cover.
Chevrolet also attended with a display of the 2008 Indianapolis Pace Car and the E85 Ethanol Corvette. Tom Hill, Engineering Quality Manager at Bowling Green Corvette Assembly Plant, was available to discuss this most powerful and expensive Corvette ever built, The NEW 2009 ZR1. There were TWO 2009 ZR1s at the show. Chevrolet displayed these newest high-performance Corvettes – a Jet Stream Blue and a Victory Red! The Red ZR1 was a hands-on car and is a pre-production model as the ZR1 will not be built at the factory until August.
Another event at the Bloomington Gold show is the Gold Auction, conducted by Mecum Auctioneers. One of there feature car(s) were three of the serial #1 Corvettes: #001 1955 – The first V8 Corvette; #001 1956 – The first redesign Corvette; #001 1957 – The first high-performance Corvette. See more details this issue on the auction on page 32.
The Gold Market is another area people enjoy. This has over 400 vendors and exhibitors selling everything for Corvettes. This swap meet is for Corvette related items ONLY. Vette Vues was set up in the Mega Center, an air-conditioned convention hall . . . which gave great shelter from the passing rainstorms that were encountered throughout the weekend.
If you didn’t find the car you wanted at the Corvette auction, just inside the main spectator gate was the Gold Mine. This is for Corvettes for sale and gave shoppers a chance to inspect the cars, visit with the owners, and negotiate a fair price.
FREE to all Gold Field Corvettes was the Gold Tour. This started at 6 pm on Saturday night. This year the 50-year-old 1958 Corvettes were the Grand Marshals. This year you could also enjoy the thunder of the L88’s in the parade.
Bloomington Gold’s primary mission is preservation, history, and research as opposed to just being another car show. On Sunday they held the worlds first All Brand SURVIVOR Collector Car Show. This new challenge is to continue rewarding the un-restored original, and authenticity but opening it up to other makes and model collector cars. On Sunday they had over 100 (all brand) cars on display on the show field. They have a three-year plan in place with next year at Bloomington Gold they will start mock judging leading to a full-scale event in 2010.
If you want to bring your Motorhome, you can park in the Gold Coach area. Want to trailer your car, but don’t want to haul your trailer around all weekend. Why not park it in the Gold Lock, a fenced and secured parking area.
By now you may have noticed the word GOLD is important. If you purchase your weekend passes, Gold Pass, in advance, you can save some money. Make your plans to attend in 2009, the show takes place June 25 – 28, 2009 online registration will begin February 15, 2009 (http://www.bloomingtongold.com/). For more info, you can call the Office: 309-888-4477.
Our first group of photos will be from the 2008 Bloomington Gold Certification Field. See if you recognize anyone! Click here to see the 2008 Bloomington Gold Certification Field Photo Gallery
Our next group of photos of the Gold Year for 2008 Bloomington Gold in which the 1958 Corvette was celebrated.
Vendors & 2008 Mecum Auction
Our next group of photos is of the Vendors and the Mecum Auction that participated in the 2008 Bloomington Gold Corvette show. You might recognize Lance Miller, Dick Guldstrand, Mike Yager, Roger Reed, Joe Pruitt, Jack Podell, Al Knoch, Tommy Keen, Dana Mecum, Frank Mecum, Roger Judski, and Terry Michaels just to name a few. Click Here for that Photo Gallery
In the 2008 October issue of Vette Vues Magazine, we cover the Corvette Invasion, the L88’s at the 2008 Bloomington Gold Corvette Show. Links coming soon!
If you enjoyed this flashback in history you are sure to enjoy our current coverage of events in Vette Vues Magazine.