The next several blog articles will discuss the different categories of provenance that you might uncover during your treasure hunt to recreate your Corvette’s history. Click here to start reading the “Corvette History” series from the beginning.
Is your Corvette an award-winner?
Has your car won any Corvette awards? If so- document it! Everything, including a “Best of Show” from a local Chevrolet Dealership, should be included. Awards earned through national organizations or at nationally recognized automotive events like a well-known Concours d’ Elegance are particularly valuable. You can expect that many of the awards are not passed along to the new purchaser. Owners can spend years searching for parts and restoring their Corvettes. When they finally achieve the award, it’s often impossible for them to part with it. Don’t give up. You can still use copies of the award certificates and photos of the award ribbons, plaques, and trophies in your collection of provenance.
Concours d’Elegance Corvette Awards
The more important the nationally recognized Corvette award is; the better chance that the car’s VIN (serial) number will appear on it as well as the current owners’ name. All of the major Concours d’ Elegances distribute professionally designed and created identification materials to the participants. These include personalized license plates, signage describing the car’s history, event programs, etc. Gather and save them all. An invitation to a national Concours is an award in itself. Document it. If your Corvette also received an additional honor- all the better!
Bloomington Gold and NCRS Corvette Awards
If you have received an award from either of these companies, your car earned it. Each judge to exacting standards and proudly adheres to them. Bloomington Gold and the National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) are the Corvette organizations recognized as having the most influence on the Corvette market. Unconvinced? Watch any Barrett-Jackson auction. If the Corvette rolling across the auction block received an award from NCRS or Bloomington, you would know! Both organizations formed in the early 1970’s as for-profit companies and grew up together and influenced each other. The core ideals of both are also identical- namely, they judge Corvettes based on originality. The judges for both groups are mostly unpaid expert volunteers.
Further Corvette award similarities
We showed a C2 Corvette at Bloomington in the late 1980’s (and others afterward). The NCRS National Convention followed only a few weeks later. The same Bloomington judges also appeared as the Judging Team at the NCRS Convention. While the overlap is not always 100%, many people are still involved in both. Consequently, Bloomington certification and NCRS Flight awards are pretty much interchangeable- especially at a “National” level NCRS event. If a Corvette earns a Bloomington Gold certificate, it’s extremely likely that an NCRS Top Flight is achievable and vice versa. Philosophical differences in the unrestored classes result in less of a correlation. If there is interest, I’ll do a future post and go into depth on the two organizations. I created the NCRS award database back in the 1980’s and maintained it for approximately a decade.
The highest NCRS awards involve far greater travel-related effort and expense. The most prestigious Bloomington Gold Corvette awards take place entirely in one weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. NCRS awards like the Duntov, McLellan and Hill Mark of Excellence require attendance at a minimum of three different judged events spread far across the United States and held over the course of several years.
People get funny ideas about Corvette awards
In your search for Corvette awards, you must be careful to separate fact from fiction. Unscrupulous people create fake documentation and even fake awards. Almost as dangerous are people who spread incorrect information concerning awards. The damage can be similar. If I had $1 for every person who told me that their Corvette “must have won an NCRS award” because there was an NCRS crossed flag decal on it, I could purchase a fully-loaded new Corvette. I gave away thousands of decals in my time with the NCRS. Current members received a free one for every Corvette. A recent listing on eBay illustrates the same problem. An item was selling with an NCRS award logo screen printed on it. Their ad stated that the item was an award for “judging winners for 1975-1982 Corvettes”. Not quite. I sold them to any NCRS member who had $20, plus postage!
Organizations and their Corvette awards
Here are links to a sampling of the organizations that offer awards. The US hosts more than 50 Concours d’Elegances every year. I chose some familiar ones instead of attempting to list all 50+.
- Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance: Best of Show; Class awards and dozens of awards in special categories.
- Ault Park Concours d’Elegance: Best of Show; Class awards and dozens of awards in special categories.
- Bloomington Gold: Gold Certification; Benchmark Certification
- Corvette Chevy Expo, Texas: Vette Vues Magazine Tri-Power Award
- Concours d’Elegance of America: Best of Show; Class awards and dozens of awards in special categories.
- Corvettes @ Carlisle: Chip’s Choice, Celebrity Picks, NCCC awards
- Mid-America Motorworks Corvette FunFest: Celebrity Choice
- Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals: MANY different awards
- National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS), Flight Awards; Duntov Award; McLellan Award; Hill Award
- National Council of Corvette Clubs (NCCC): Gymkhanas and racing-related awards
- Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: Best of Show; Class awards and dozens of awards in special categories.
- Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance: Best of Show; Class awards and dozens of awards in special categories.
- Western State Corvette Clubs (WSCC): Competitive driving awards
Keen Parts. Big enough to have what you need. Small enough to care.
As always- post any questions, and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction!
Because awards can add so much value to your car, our next blog will discuss what you can do if you have lost an award. There is hope!