We’ve just returned from a whirlwind weekend in Indianapolis and the 47th annual Bloomington Gold show. For 2019, the event moved 1 week earlier than its traditional last weekend in June slot. While the dates changed, the venue did not as the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway once again hosted the Granddaddy of Corvette shows.
We arrived at the speedway bright and early on Wednesday morning. Wednesday is setup day and it was interesting to watch the show slowly take shape over the course of the day. The day began with abundant sunshine which eventually yielded to some rain. All the while vendors, swap meet sellers, and judging cars trickled into their respective areas. The vast majority of our day was spent watching the Gold Collection – which showcased 1968 – 1972 Corvettes – take shape. We loved watching and hearing the old racers, the 1956 SR2, and the Manta Ray being driven into position from their haulers.
Thursday was a cool day with on and off rain. The weather did provide an opportunity to spend more time checking out some of the covered and indoor portions of the show. Over the course of the day we wandered the Gold Collection, checked out vendors in the various trackside garages, and cars for sale in the GoldMine. Weather permitting, we hit the swap meet looking for treasures. The Survivor candidates took their road test early in the day.
Friday was another story. The weather was nearly perfect all day with barely a cloud in the sky before mid-afternoon. This gave a great chance to study cars undergoing Certification judging. This year the judging field was once again in its traditional location in the plaza at the base of the pagoda. Judged cars ranged from some early C1’s up through a C6. C2’s were the most populous (led by a silver 1967 L88), followed by the C3’s. The judges, in their blue shorts and white shirts slowly worked their way through their respective classes.
Next it was off to the Gold Autocross. This year’s course ran clockwise around the track area as owners put their rides through their paces. Meanwhile, the swap meet was busy with eager shoppers. The Corvette and Camaro tents showed off the latest performance cars from General Motors. We did miss the ride and drive and Corvette ridealongs which weren’t offered this year. We’ve got our fingers crossed that they come back next year. GoldLaps did remain on the agenda and Corvettes lapped the track pretty much all day every day throughout the show. Friday also featured GoldSchool seminars from Ken Lingenfelter, Harlan Charles and others. Over in the garages we stumbled across a prototype C2 L88, the 1965 VIN 003 GM styling car, and even the famous Corvette SS racer.
Survivor and Benchmark judging led Saturday’s activities. We love unrestored cars around here and seeing so many well-preserved cars together is always a great learning experience. The weather was cloudy, warm, and stayed dry virtually all day. The IMS grounds were alive with activity, but we think the clouds may have kept some people away. Saturday’s highlight was the parade, photo op, and track laps by the Gold Collection cars. Hats off to the owners that actually drove their cars on the track. It was really cool seeing some of the best 1968 – 1972 Corvettes out there running at speed in a large group. Even the Manta Ray hit the speedway. After the Gold Collection crew was done it was over to the Pagoda for the awards ceremony. There, owners drove their cars across the yard of bricks to receive their Survivor, Certification, and/or Benchmark awards from show owner Guy Larsen or one of the judges. We still love seeing and hearing these cars cross the historic yard of bricks. Later that evening the GoldTour did a lap around the speedway before setting out on the annual jaunt into the Indy countryside.
Overall Bloomington Gold 2019 was another great event. The addition of Camaros was a nice enhancement to the show and we’re hoping to see more of them next year. Other than Thursday, the weather wasn’t really a factor. The rain didn’t show up until very late both Friday and Saturday and barely impacted show hours. Mother Nature, we’re looking at you to deliver perfect weather for next year’s event. You owe us one.
With the perfect car show venue in hand, we’re already looking forward to the 2020 Bloomington Gold show at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Until then, you can enjoy our gallery from the 2019 show below.
Photos by Steve Burns
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