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Bloomington Gold 2013: History, Heritage, and the Future

C7 convertible and coupe

C7 convertible and coupe

 

GM built right hand drive 1963 Z06

GM-built right hand drive 1963 Z06

I am a Bloomington Gold virgin; there I said it, so I have nothing to compare and contrast it with. This year, Bloomington Gold was actually held in Champaign, Illinois having moved from St. Charles, and obviously previous to that Bloomington, Illinois. Why is it not Champaign Gold? 

Anyway, naming aside, we had booked through our local Corvette club for the club parking and were directed to the field across the road from the display area at the University of Illinois. I could have spent all day just walking around the club parking field or the car park opposite, which held hundreds more Corvettes which had not booked through a club. The majority of the cars in the club areas were later model cars – C5 and C6′s – but there were also a good representation of earlier cars, too.

I am led to believe that it is not untypical for it to rain during Bloomington Gold, and this year did not disappoint in that respect. The weather actually reminded me of Le Mans the previous weekend as it was dry, wet, sunny, cloudy, and windy at various time throughout the weekend. The display areas for the various cars were like a Corvette enthusiasts best dream; ZR2 anyone? Want to see a ZL1 or L88? All were there, along with pretty much all of the other super rare Corvettes you could think of. The whole town of Champaign seemed to be alive with Corvettes all weekend, which was a bit surreal as at pretty much every stop light there was another Corvette owner to wave at! I’ve decided I’m going to design an auto-wave for my car with a cardboard hand that will be operated from a button on the steering wheel.

Super-rare 1 of 12 ZR2

 

ZL1 and L88

 

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A real-life Grand Sport Registry

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ZR-1

ZR-1

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GM had a huge presence at the show, including at least 6 C7 Corvettes, two of which were open to the public to touch, sit in and generally inspect in close detail.

C7 interior

 

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Touchy-feely C7 with stripes!

 

C7 LT1

C7 LT1

 

Indy Pace Car C7

Laguna Blue Indy Pace Car C7

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Callaway Sledgehammer

Callaway Sledgehammer

Inside the Great Hall there were a small group of stunning cars that represented some of the Corvettes being inducted into this year’s Bloomington Hall of Fame, or the people behind them. This included one of the five 1963 Grand Sports – this particular one was displayed as it ran at Sebring and is owned by the Collier Collection of Naples, Florida.

I last saw this car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2003 over in England, where I discovered that all of the Grand Sports were actually built to 7/8th scale of the ’63 Corvette that they were based on, and Zora Arkus-Duntov gave strict instructions that under no circumstances were any of the Grand Sports to ever be parked next to a road car just in case someone took a picture and noticed! Another of the cars was the Callaway Sledgehammer, the fastest Corvette (at the time) ever. Reeves Callaway was one of the inductees this year, hence the car.



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