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Some Cool Sights And Sounds From Bloomington Gold 2024

If you missed this iconic show, we have pictures from the Gold Certification process, the last C4, the OG 1953 VIN 001, and more...

A Bloomington appearance for the 1953 VIN 001/Photo Credit: Mark G, Corvette Forum

The first Bloomington Corvette Corral event took place in 1973, and by 1977, it had grown to be the largest Corvette show in the country. Soon renamed Bloomington Gold, the iconic event has moved around the state of Illinois throughout the last 51 years. After its first 19 years in Bloomington, the event relocated to Springfield, St. Charles, Champaign, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, eventually returning to its roots in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois.

Guy Larsen with Bloomington Gold described the longest-running Corvette event best when he recently said:

I talk a lot to our judges and to the car owners about just enjoying the day. Talk to the people who come to see your car. Tell them all the neat things about it, and everybody learns from it. Some people just like looking at pretty cars. So everybody has fun.

Now, without further ado, let’s dive into some of the coolest sights and sounds from this year’s Bloomington Gold. If you were one of the fortunate 10,000+ enthusiasts who made the pilgrimage to Illinois State University this year and would like to share something we missed, please reach out to us on our Facebook page or in the comments section below!

1) Bloomington Gold Certifications In Progress

Mark G. from the Corvette Forum made the trip to Bloomington Gold for its 51st show, and one of his must-see events was the Bloomington Gold Certifications. Below Mark’s pictures is his firsthand perspective of this year’s show and how it has changed over the years.

While doing some research on the difference between NCRS Top Flight and Bloomington Gold Certification, I found this interesting comparison from the Corvette Forum:

Although most Bloomington Gold judges are NCRS judges, the time factor is different. At Bloomington Gold, a 4-man judging team is expected to completely judge the car in less than 30 minutes. In NCRS Flight Judging, there are five separate two-man teams, and each team spends about 45 minutes on the car. You can do the math. Posted by John Z.

“Waiting for Gold Certification” Photo Credit: Mark G.
“C2s for Gold (or other) certifications” Photo Credit: Mark G.
Photo Credit: orlandjoe

Mark G.’s perspective of this year’s show and how Bloomington has changed over the years.

The show was spread out amongst a handful of large University of Illinois buildings/stadiums/venue’s either next to each other or within a couple blocks. And show cars and sale cars were in different lots not even next to each other. Therefore it was difficult to judge how many people were actually in attendance. Compared to like Pheasant Run where you could see and knock elbows with people you knew, or just met, and look across and see all the car there. But it sure didn’t seem like very many attendees, or even spectator cars…even at noon on Sat. And a $35 entrance fee kept casual observers away. A lot of the ‘old guys’ who’ve been the Corvette die-hard guys (from the 60’s/early 70’s) I suspect have passed on, or sold their cars…or just don’t come anymore. But OTOH, this venu offered a more protected environment for rare/expensive cars. The air conditioning was nice.

There were some good chrome-bumper sharks, a handful of rubber bumper cars. I think I saw maybe one shovel-nose shark, lol. I saw a grand total of ONE Camaro (late model one). I was hoping I’d see more. I think that would really help save the show *if* they could attract more Camaro and Firebird cars. But ultimately they’re a different kind of owner…always have been.

The number of vendors and swappers was down a lot. Just about everyone we talked to seemed concerned how long the show could go on like this. Two vendors I spoke with, guys who’ve been doing Bloomington for 40 yrs, said even though there were not very many people at the swap area, they still sold quite a bit of stuff. And my brother bought a couple items for his C1’s he’d been looking for (lot cheaper than ebay he said). But overall, my brother and I had a great time talking to other owners and looking over their cars. You don’t often see that many nice older vettes in one spot like that. I would have liked to have seen more rubber bumper cars, but we still had a good time.”

Meet a restored 1954 that earns its first Bloomington Gold Certification.

Chris Sherman from TiN Restorations, who specializes in restoring 1953-1962 Corvettes to NCRS and Bloomington Gold standards, brought a customer’s 1954 Pennant Blue C1 to this year’s Bloomington Gold. I’ve been in contact with Chris, and we’ll soon have a full feature highlighting the build on this beautifully restored 1954 Pennant Blue C1. In the meantime, enjoy a couple of pictures of the newly awarded Bloomington Gold Certified first-generation Corvette. Here are some introductory words directly from Chris:

We were at Bloomington Gold this weekend. It was a hot one inside but nice and cool on the inside of the Redbird Arena at ISU (now called the CEFCU arena). Great day of judging on Thursday. Car did really really well !!! My customer is super thrilled to get his first Bloomington Gold. Lots of really really nice and rare Corvettes at the show…”

Photo Credit: Chris Sherman
Photo Credit: Chris Sherman

2) Mid America Motorworks Displays The Last C4

This last year fourth-generation Corvette shows just 47 clicks on the clock, and despite the crazy low miles, founder Mike Yager led the annual road tour with this remarkable collector-grade C4. Read more about this 1996 Corvette at Mike’s dedicated web page.

Unloading for the show

Photo Credit: Mid America Motorworks via Facebook
Photo Credit: Mid America Motorworks via Facebook
Photo Credit: Mid America Motorworks via Facebook
Photo Credit: Mid America Motorworks via Facebook

Mike Yager nearly doubles the miles after the annual road tour!

From 47 miles to 88! Photo Credit: Mid America Motorworks via Facebook

Mike’s last C4 has many notable signatures, including these two from Jim Perkins and Dave McLellan.

Photo Credit: Mid America Motorworks

3) The OG: 1953 VIN 001 Corvette Makes a Bloomington Appearance

This 1953 VIN 001 Corvette was one of the show’s highlights and drew some of the largest crowds. If you want to take a deeper dive into this remarkable survivor, the video below the pictures gives great insights from owner Corey Peterson.

“Corvette #1 seminar” Photo Credit: Mark G.
“Corvette #1 close-up pic (believed)” Photo Credit: Mark G.
Photo Credit: orlandjoe
Submitted to CorvSport’s Facebook page by Paul C.

4) Corey Peterson Answers Everything You Need To Know About His 1953 VIN 001 Corvette

Not surprisingly, one of the highly anticipated headliners for this year’s show was the 1953 VIN 001 Corvette. Owner Corey Peterson revealed this rare C1 to the world in February of 2023 and has been proudly making the rounds since then.  This remarkable piece of Corvette history was presented without paint and in running and driving condition in an effort to show the bodywork that had been performed over the years. The video is a bit long but will give you the details of Corey’s search, purchase, and research of the C1, with questions from enthusiastic fans.

I hope you have enjoyed some highlights from this year’s Bloomington Gold! If you want to keep up to date with all the fresh Corvette news and maintain a pulse on the lifestyle and culture of this exciting, iconic brand, CorvSport has the fastest-growing Corvette community on our Facebook page, with over 173,000 followers (54,000 since January 2023!). Come join other hardcore enthusiasts and say hello, Douglas B.

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