Each year at Bloomington Gold, the Gold Collection celebrates a specific genre of Corvette. Past honorees have included L88’s, 50-year-old Corvettes, and others. For 2019 the Gold Collection highlighted 1968–1972 Corvettes, or the Sharks, as they’ve become fondly known.
Cars participate in the Gold Collection strictly on an invitation-only basis. The can be amazingly restored examples or unrestored originals. They can be factory racecars or GM styling cars. If it’s a unique or special Corvette and fits the given year’s theme, an owner can apply to show their car. From there, a selection committee will review the car’s resume and, if it’s it good enough, formally invite it to participate in the Gold Collection.
The 2019 Gold Collection pulled together just under 50 special Corvettes for display. Name the award and you’ll find it in the Gold Collection. Top Flight, Benchmark, Bowtie, and Triple Diamond winners could be found everywhere you turned.
The famous Manta Ray concept car greeted attendees just inside the door. All C3 Corvettes can trace their lineage back to this significant Corvette. The amazing blue 1956 SR2 Corvette sat adjacent to the Manta Ray under the watchful eye of one Zora Arkus-Duntov. Yes, technically the SR2 doesn’t fit this year’s criteria, but it’s just plain cool so we’ll allow it.
The display itself was broken down into 5 groups of 8 cars each. An additional group of racers sat over near the Manta Ray and SR2. Inside were both Owens-Corning racers, the Sunray DX L88, and the orange and yellow Leldon Blackwell L88. A stunning display of Corvette racing prowess!
The nonracers were grouped together by year. For the most part, all the 1968’s were together, the 1969’s were together, and so on. Notably, BOTH of the 1969 ZL1 Corvettes were together in the same building. We don’t recall this ever happening before. Other notable early C3’s included a first time shown silver L88 coupe, a stunning black on blue L71 coupe, and an exquisite Riverside Gold sidepipe coupe. The 1970 and 71 model years were represented by an original owner 1970 LS5 convertible, an unrestored white 1971 LS6 coupe, and the orange 1971 ZR2 convertible among others.
The 1972 group included a blue ZR1 coupe, the only black 1972 Corvette, a rare LT-1 with A/C, and a blue convertible belonging to this humble blogger among the octet of Corvettes. Interestingly 7 of the 8 1972 Corvettes were all in unrestored original condition. Only the ZR1 had been restored.
The Gold Collection remained inside Wednesday morning through about 1:30pm on Saturday. At that time the group exited the building, paraded down Legends Row, and stopped for an outdoor photo shoot. After that, it was off to the Indy oval for 3 track laps led by the Manta Ray and a 2019 C7 Indy festival car. What a great sight to see all of those old Corvettes, most on bias ply tires, out cruising the IMS track!
This was one of the best Gold Collections in recent memory. It’s right up there with last year’s L88 Invasion. All those chrome bumper C3’s together in one spot was quite a sight to see. Throughout the weekend attendees slowly wandered the aisles reading signs, pointed at various items on the cars, and chatted with nearby owners. If you couldn’t be in Indy last weekend, don’t fret. Our gallery from the 2019 Gold Collection awaits you below.
Photos by Steve Burns