Monday, September 1, 2014

Corvette Caravan brings thousands of enthusiasts to the 20th Anniversary of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green

It seems like lately everyone knows about the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. Well, they know a sinkhole opened up under the fancy yellow dome and snarfed down eight Corvettes that were on display. I even wrote a feature about it not too long ago. What people might not realize is that this is the 20th anniversary of the National Corvette Museum, or that they just opened up a brand new road course next to the property. They should know it after this weekend, though, because the National Corvette Caravan hit town, bringing some 5,000 fiberglass two-seaters from all over North America.

I’d say 99-percent of these were late-model cars from 1997 and up. That makes sense, because the older you get with a Corvette, the less suited they become for long-distance travel. I saw very few from the Midyear period of 1963 to 1967, and absolutely no straight-axle first generation cars older than 1963 among the outdoor participants. I’m not saying none showed up, because there had to be plenty of cars that I didn’t see. But this was essentially a modern Corvette gathering.

Since I recently wrote about the inside of the museum, I’m not going to cover that right now. But there were lots of things happening in the lobby, and a few notable cars as well. This ’55 Corvette really stood out. You don’t see many red Corvettes of this vintage. The story goes that this car was drag raced early on my Dave MacDonald in Southern California. It even had some custom touches and pea green paint. MacDonald later raced in the Indy 500, where he was killed in 1964. This was a very pretty car with an immaculate restoration.

Sitting next to the ’55 was another Dave MacDonald-raced Corvette; this a 1963 Z06. These are the Holy Grail among Corvette collectors, and this one has a serious pedigree. This is the very first of six initial Z06s ordered by Zora Arkus Duntov. Not only was it competitive back in the day, but it has been more recently shown at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, and it was featured on a U.S. Postage stamp. The car is likely priceless, but if you had to put a dollar amount on it, expect it to be worth north of two-million dollars. It even has a Barris Kustoms badge on the nose, so it should appeal to the custom car crowd as well.

Here’s a 2015 Z06 that was in the Chevrolet display. When I first saw the C7 unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, I thought it was really radical. I mean, rectangular taillights on a Corvette—are you kidding me? But now that I’ve seen them around, and especially when you see them scattered among a bunch of other Corvettes, they seem to fit in just fine. The new Z06 has lots of appearance, braking, handling, and aerodynamic improvements over the standard Corvette, and the 6.2-liter, supercharged V8 is good for an otherworldly 635-hp. Two words: Bad. Ass.

In the right hands, the base Corvette is no slouch, either. I spent about two hours of my time standing in line at the new NCM Motorsports Park for a chance to ride with a professional driver in a new Stingray. First, I drove a new Malibu around the cone-covered course, which was sort of lackluster due to the fact that I’m not much of a driver. Then, I earned my place in the passenger’s seat of a blue Corvette with an accomplished SCCA racer. Even before I sat down, the car was just radiating heat. These cars were really getting a workout. He definitely gave me a serious ride. I never could have driven a car like that, although my guy never broke a sweat.

This event was more than just a car show. Corvette owners are like a big family. And even though these people were from all over the continent, they all had one thing in common—the love of America’s sports car. I took 267 photos, which you can see in the slideshow below, or click this link for a nicer version.


  1. It's amazing how you always seem to find the most fantastic cars .

  2. Great photos as always, but where's dads know how I like the "OLDOG"

    1. That's a little far for dad to drive in that old car. The real question is, where were you?