Welcome back to On the Campaign Trail where you get to ride shotgun as I pursue NCRS Top Flight, Bloomington Gold, and MCACN Triple Diamond awards with my Targa Blue 1972 Corvette Convertible. When we left off last time the car had earned a Bloomington Survivor Silver award. Now it was time for a whole new level of judging once again covering originality, condition, and operations.
You can catch up on the previous articles in this series here:
- Follow Along as I Campaign a 1972 Corvette Convertible (Part 1)
- Preparing for Flight (Part 2)
- The NCRS Motor City Regional (Part 3)
- Survivor Day at Bloomington Gold (Part 4)
If you’re familiar with the Bloomington weekend schedule you’ll know I’m going slightly out of order here. Certification judging, in reality, happens before Survivor, but I think it’ll make for a better recap this way.
Having just missed a Gold Certificate in 2016 with my 1972 LT-1, I felt I had some unfinished business going into this year’s Bloomington Gold event. After reviewing my NCRS judging sheets, the only thing I decided to tackle between the regional and Bloomington was that pesky windshield washer system. I knew the issue was in the valve body somewhere as I’d proven everything else in the system was working as intended. After consulting with several folks smarter than me and buying a couple of rebuild kits I got to work. I took apart and reassembled that valve body probably a dozen times or more swapping O-rings in and out, adding silicone for better sealing, and even swapped in hoses in hope of finding potential leaks. All to no avail. I swapped in new valve body pieces (keeping in mind I needed preserve the 46-year old pieces here) one at a time hoping to find the issue. Then, finally, around 10:30pm on the Tuesday night before leaving for Bloomington – success! After finishing my happy dance and a delicious adult beverage I dragged Mrs. Motor City bureau out to the garage so she too could behold the miraculous sight of a functional washer system. Somehow I don’t think she was quite as excited as I was. Strange.
Bloomington Gold judging is similar to NCRS judging in that all cars are judged against the standard of how the car was initially built by Chevrolet. Deductions based on correctness and condition are then taken based on how far you deviate from that standard. C3 Corvette owners begin with over 8,000 points which are taken away in 5, 10, or 15-point intervals based on each judges’ originality and condition assessment. It takes a 95% score to earn a Gold Certificate. If you earn Survivor Gold or Silver and Bloomington Gold in the same weekend you also earn the prestigious Benchmark award. That Benchmark award was the one I was after.
Certification day began with the 7:30 owner’s meeting where show owner Guy Larsen thanked everyone for bringing their cars, discussed how the day’s events would take place, and what to do if you had a disagreement with any of your scoring. He also touched on how the awards ceremony would go both if it was or wasn’t raining.
As I returned to my car the judges were once again already there waiting to get to work. I handed over my judging sheets at 8:20am and the 4-man team began scouring my ole blue car. Bloomington Certification judging goes fast. It’s a whirlwind of activity as the judges have just over 30 minutes to get through each car and all 4 judges work at the same time. For the most part I like to kind of stand in the background and listen to their discussions as they run down through the judging sheets. It’s a great way to potentially learn something and also get a sneak preview of the scoring. Having just gone through the judging process 2 weeks prior I was pretty sure that this day would pan out much the same as it did at the regional. Around 8:50 all 4 judges had completed their reviews and one-by-one showed me where they had taken deductions. I was happy to see that there were no real big surprises this time around. The car scored very well on the originality side of the scoring as I knew it would. Just some of the usual deductions for the reproduction tires, battery, and some other small items. Like the regional, most of my points were lost on the condition side. Here, again, the judges were fair in their deductions. I really had nothing to comment on.
The last judging section was operations. I had no worries here and even a bit of swagger thanks to my newly functioning washer system. We buzzed quickly right down the list of operations testing the alarm, horn, windows and others before arriving at the washer system. I confidently pressed the button at the top of the dash and, in a “hold my beer” moment, told the judge to “watch this”. The wiper door promptly opened, the wipers moved back and forth across the windshield, and….pfffft. Nothing else happened. No fluid on the glass. The pump wasn’t even clicking to signal that it was even attempting to move fluid. Stupid old car. Remember how I previously mentioned that you’ll almost always have a judging day surprise? Well, here was mine. Of course I was bummed out, but just kind of laughed it off and we completed the rest of the ops judging. The washer system points were the only ones I lost in the ops section once again. At 9:00am my Certification judging experience was over.
By my math I had lost few enough points to qualify for a Gold Certificate, but I’d have to wait for the awards ceremony to find out for sure. I’m a big fan of Bloomington’s award ceremony. Owner’s get to drive their cars to the base of the pagoda and receive their award on the yard of bricks from show owner Guy Larsen or one of the judging team leaders.
Midafternoon the cars lined up and slowly made their way from the grandstands to the pagoda. Being a C3 I was later in the procession and took the waiting time just to decompress from a hectic Corvette weekend. After a good 30 minutes or so in line it was time for me to cross the bricks. As I approached the awards area with adrenaline pumping the announcer called out my name followed by Survivor Silver, Gold Certification, and Benchmark.
As I pulled away from the awards area, Bob Ashton from the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals stopped me and handed over an invitation to his November show in Chicago. There I’d vie for a Concourse Gold award and the subsequent Triple Diamond award. And that is where we’ll pick up with part 6 of this adventure. See you next week.
Photos by Steve Burns
On the Campaign Trail with a 1972 Corvette: Survivor Day at Bloomington Gold (Part 4)
Follow Along as I Campaign a 1972 Corvette Convertible (Part 1)
Preparing for Flight (Part 2)
On the Campaign Trail with a 1972 Corvette: The NCRS Motor City Regional (Part 3)