• Frank Oles

Bloomington Gold 2022


Back in Bloomington! My Father and I have been regular attendees of this Corvette show since the early 90s. Arguably, the show was at its best in those early years in Bloomington, IL. The fairgrounds were the right size, there was a great mix of old and new Corvettes driving around, and the overall vibe felt perfect. Later, the show moved to Springfield, back to Bloomington, to St. Charles at the Pheasant Run Golf Course (beautiful setting!), Indianapolis, and now back to Bloomington. It seems like a lot of folks were happy to see it back in Bloomington, because attendance was back up. In the title image you can see my Dad's 1982 Corvette looking good as always.

There were a lot of new C8 Corvettes in attendance. While this new mid-engine chassis is still relatively new on the streets, it was cool to see how people are beginning to modify and adapt this platform. This Mobil 1-sponsored example had carbon fiber wheels and add-ons which gave a little preview of what the upcoming Z06 will be like.

Every year, one of the highlights of Bloomington Gold is the Special Collection, a curated gathering of some of the best-of-the-best Corvettes in history. This 1956 Corvette SR2 racecar was certainly a stand out, with the polished side cove, driver-side headrest fairing and built-in hood latches, plus dozens of other cool details that make this classic Corvette racer incredibly special to see.

One of the Corvette's greatest domestic rivalries was with Carrol Shelby and his Cobras. To combat that challenge, Zora created the Grand Sport lightweight Corvettes. While reproductions of this car are available, it was amazing to see the real deal in person and gawk over all the special details that made this car uniquely competitive.

While there are lots of rare-optioned and low mileage Corvettes in attendance, the vintage racers seemed to capture my imagination this year. This 1960 Corvette was entered in LeMans by the Briggs Cunningham team. It won its class thanks to some clever engineering and the reliability of the factory fuel-injected engine. Again, great details everywhere you look.

The ISU campus was a great host to the show this year. The Redbird Arena was the home of the Bloomington Gold judging. My Father and I were able to catch the trophy ceremony as owners accepted their trophies for their restoration efforts. It was great to see these prime examples of Corvettes, many of which are still in gold-level original condition.

At the end of every show, I always think "what car would I like to drive home in." This year, it was this pristine 1957 Corvette in classic white with red interior. The 57 Corvette has always been one of my favorites, with just enough detail and chrome plus the fuel-injected engine option. Years ago, Mecum had a special 2-part auction that featured one of every color 1957 Corvette produced with the fuel-injected engine. Maybe that image has stuck with me ever since. One day perhaps one of these beauties will find itself in my care...

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