On June 1st and 2nd the Michigan Chapter of the NCRS hosted its annual chapter judging meet. I and about 15 other Corvette owners subjected our cars to the rigorous inspection of the NCRS judges. Over the course of judging day 5 teams of 2 judges each descended upon our Corvettes measuring their accuracy compared to their as-new condition.
The NCRS evaluates cars based on historical accuracy. That is, how closely do they resemble a new Corvette as delivered to its original owner? In a nutshell, each car starts off with 4,500 points. Points are then deducted based on originality (how closely the specific part resembles the factory original?) and condition (how has the part been restored or preserved?). Once the dust settles and scores are tabulated, cars scoring 94% or higher receive the Top Flight Award. You can read more about the NCRS, its scoring system and various awards on the NCRS website.
Some liken the judging process to visiting the dentist or experiencing a full cavity search by the TSA. Others say it’s fun and very informative. There are lobbyists for both schools of thought. I tend to think of it as a little of both.
Ok, now it’s onto my day which began with the 8am Owner’s Meeting. The judging chairman walked us through the events of the day ahead, the judging system, explained the appeals process if you disagree with the judges, and reminded everyone to just have fun and enjoy some really nice Corvettes.
About 8:30am the chassis team showed up as my first visitors of the day. This was the section I was fretting the most as my 1972 coupe was undercoated at some point in its 40 years of life. Most of the original finishes are now covered in a black asphalt-ish paint-like substance not of earthly origin. Surprisingly, this section went better than expected and the only unexpected event came when one of the judges rolled out from underneath the car and handed me a fastener asking if I was looking for it. Um, no. they should all still be attached to the car…
A little over an hour or so later the exterior team arrived. Again this was better than expected and I learned that my car did indeed have lacquer paint reapplied to it when it was repainted in 1987. I suspected it was lacquer when I bought it, but had since changed my mind. Now I’ll change my mind back again.
About 11am the mechanical team, who would scrutinize the engine and under hood areas, approached. No real surprises here either and again one of the judges did hand me another random fastener from inside the car. Who’s leaving these things in there?
The interior team made the penultimate inspection of the day beginning around 1pm. I knew this section would score well since the interior is still largely original and in great shape.
Finally about 2:30pm the operations team stopped by to subject my car to the ultimate annual doctor’s physical. This section of the judging process is where points evaporate the fastest. Items either work or they don’t. Other than a stubborn alarm system and a sticky glove box lock, the operations checks were over faster than a Kardashian marriage.
Just after 3pm my judging day was done. Based on my calculations, a Top Flight award was within my reach. And so, at the awards dinner later that night my name was called and I walked up to accept my Top Flight certificate and blue ribbon. The final tally was for my 1972 Corvette was 96.2%, much higher than I was expecting. Not too bad for a car I never intended to run through NCRS judging.
So what’s next? Well it’s nearly summer so those boulders known as bias-ply tires are coming off and radials have already taken their place. Next stop Woodward Avenue, it’s cruising season!