Hello Corvette friends and welcome back to On the Campaign Trail where I’m sharing my experiences running my 1972 Corvette through the perils of NCRS, Bloomington Gold, and MCACN judging. When we left off last week I had just left Bloomington Gold with Survivor, Gold, and Benchmark awards in hand. Now it’s off to the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN) for Concourse judging with the goal of bringing home a very cool Triple Diamond Trophy.
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)
- Bloomington Gold Certification (Part 5)
Around 5:30pm on the snowy Tuesday night prior to the show the big orange Reliable Carriers truck showed up at the end of my driveway to pick up my blue car and take it to Chicago. I’ve never actually shipped a car before and really didn’t know what to expect from Reliable other than what I’ve seen on their TV commercials. After speaking with MCACN’s Bob Ashton earlier in the summer and factoring in the rental cost of an enclosed trailer, gas, travel time, and the hit or miss late November weather I decided it was worth the extra couple hundred dollars to have the pros transport my car to and from the show rather than do it myself. Art, the driver, was courteous, professional, and clearly took pride in his job. He walked around the car twice noting various chips and scratches (yes, I do really have some of those) and then guided me up onto the ramp and into the trailer. I was the last car on the bottom row of his carrier.
The car got to the show Wednesday and I arrived midday Friday. Once I located my car in the convention center all I had to do was move it over to my weekend parking spot in the far corner of the Triple Diamond display right in front of the Mr. Norm’s Mopar booth. Later that afternoon there was a short owner’s meeting where judging chairman, Bill Braun, walked us through the judging process, how to contest any disagreements, and gave an overview of the weekend’s events. After that it was off to dinner with my squad and early to bed. Judging was bright and early Saturday morning.
MCACN Gold Concourse judging is kind of a hybrid between Bloomington and NCRS. All of the judges evaluate the car at the same time like Bloomington Gold, but here they can deduct in 1-2 (or more) point increments like the NCRS. Each car begins with 1,000 points and you need a 95% or higher for the Concours Gold award. If you achieve a NCRS Top Flight, a Bloomington Gold Certificate, and MCACN Concourse Gold honors you also take home the Triple Diamond award. The overall judging criteria is the same as the car is evaluated first for correctness/originality and then on condition in the mechanical, exterior, chassis, and interior areas. The configuration section verifies the car’s driveline and color combo are as intended. There isn’t an operations section at MCACN because the show is indoors which is nice since I didn’t have to worry about that goofy washer system. The judging is fast like Bloomington. I’d estimate that the judges spent somewhere around 40 minutes on my car, maybe a little less. Like both organizations, the MCACN judges also review their scorning with you when they are done.
I arrived at the show about 8am on Saturday morning to wipe the car down, drop the spare, and remove the air cleaner and ignition shielding. The show opened to the public at 9am and judging began shortly thereafter. About 9:30 or so the 4 judges, dressed in their red shirts and jeans, summoned me back over to my car. It was game time once again. Having been through this process twice previously with this car I wasn’t really nervous, but you still always have that little voice in your head asking “what did I miss?” or “what if they find something weird this time that no one found before?”. MCACN Concourse judging is much more casual than NCRS and Bloomington, I think mainly because the judges know the Triple Diamond candidates have been through the wringer twice already. Or it could just be that I was more relaxed going into it this time. Per usual, I kind of stood in the background observing what they were looking at, listen to their conversations, and – most importantly – trying to sneak a peek at the scoring.
After about 30 minutes each judge began to review their respective sections with me. As I suspected there were no surprises at all here. I received the usual deducts for age and wear in the usual areas in addition to originality losses for the reproduction tires and battery and the replacement exhaust. The configuration portion received a perfect score as I knew it would. The engine compartment lost 5 points while the exterior lost 7. The chassis team took a very lenient 3 points and the interior judge took 10 condition points and 0 originality points. That’s a total of 25 points lost which converts to a final score of 97.5% which I consider to be a bit of gift compared to my previous scores of 96.6% at NCRS and 95.5% at Bloomington. Concourse Gold and Triple Diamond were mine. By 10am or so my 2018 car show and judging season was over. Overall the MCACN judges were fair in their deductions and explained clearly where they had taken points. Time to exhale.
From there on I took time to enjoy the rest of the show with the Motor City Bureau’s 2 young unpaid interns and the rest of my family who’d joined me for the show. I also took time to kind of reflect on what I’d accomplished with my car in just over a year of ownership. At the 3:30pm Sunday awards banquet, MCACN’s Vicki Ashton called my name and I proudly walked over to pick up my Triple Diamond trophy and judging sheets. After that it was back to the car to pack it up for Reliable to return it the Motor City Bureau storage facility. Packing your car up and then just leaving it at a car show is a really weird feeling (kind of like you left 1 of your kids behind at Target), but on the Tuesday following the show, Reliable called and said the car would be home at 9am on Wednesday morning. Sure enough, it was. Shout out to Reliable Carriers for their professional drivers and great customer service.
From a slightly rough around the edges unrestored car to 6 major Corvette awards in a whirlwind 13 months is pretty crazy. All while working a full-time job and raising 2 young Corvette copilots. Maybe for my next trick, I’ll just take a nap? I made some great new friends along the way and renewed some old relationships as well. In reality, the next stop will be the July 14th – 19th 2019 NCRS National Convention in Greenville, South Carolina for Bowtie judging. I appreciate the feedback from those that have commented online and to me in person at the various shows this year. I’m glad you’re enjoying this series. Enjoy the holiday season and we’ll pick up this story next summer.
Photos by Steve Burns
On the Campaign Trail with a 1972 Corvette: Bloomington Gold Certification (Part 5)
On the Campaign Trail with a 1972 Corvette: Survivor Day at Bloomington Gold (Part 4)
On the Campaign Trail with a 1972 Corvette: The NCRS Motor City Regional (Part 3)
Preparing for Flight (Part 2)
Follow Along as I Campaign a 1972 Corvette Convertible (Part 1)