Tuesday, August 13, 2019

8th-Annual 2019 KCCA Vettes on the Plains Show draws rare Corvettes to Bass Pro in Independence

When I was five years-old, my dad bought this ’61 Corvette. This unrestored, original car has been a part of our family for more than 40-years now, but lately, it was feeling neglected. Dad hadn’t been able to drive it for more than a year, so I thought it would be fun to drive up to Kansas City from Nashville to get it ready for the 8th-Annual Vettes on the Plains show, which was held this year at the Bass Pro Shops in Independence. Not only did we have a great day hanging out together, but dad’s Corvette earned a trophy—the first one he’s ever gotten for it! This wasn’t a huge show; maybe 90 cars total. The lower car-count probably had a lot to do with a last-minute change in venue. But it was still enough to raise some healthy donations for St. Jude and Camp Quality. And if you like looking at nice Corvettes, this was definitely the place to be.

The best-of-show award went to this bad-boy. This pristine Fathom Green ’69 Stingray was loaded with features such as a Saddle leather interior, rally wheels with redline tires, and a lil’ old 390-hp 427-c.i. V8 under its intimidatingly sculptured hood. This is the kind of car that best-of-show awards are made for. I mean, how can you fault a car like this? I guess if you’re a real purist, you might want to see bias-ply tires instead of these modern radials, but these actually looked great on here, and you want a car with this much power to drive as well as possible. Other than that non-issue, this car could be used in a how-to book to show how to restore one.

You rarely see ’54 Corvettes at any show, but this event actually had two from the sophomore year of America’s sports car. One was Polo White, which is the most common color for one of these, and the other was this Sportsman Red example. Chevy only cranked out 100 of these in this color, so running into one in person is quite a treat. I think some stuff, like the paint, had been restored. But the overall bones of this thing looked pretty original. Little things like pitted chrome and ancient parking permits gave you the impression that much of this car’s history was still intact. I know these early Corvettes sometimes get a little flack because of their Stovebolt power plants. But they really were elegant, beautiful show cars for the street. I love studying the details on these babies.

As far as the older cars go, I think this Onyx Black ’57 was probably the nicest one at the show. I can’t imagine that any Corvette ever left the factory this slick in 1957. It was just as smooth and pristine as anything could be. 1957 was also the first year that the Corvette was offered with fuel injection, although not many of them actually had it. Fuel injection was a $484 option, which helped keep production down to just 240 units. This one did, though, and again, it looked absolutely perfect and correct to me. Chevrolet advertised it at 283-hp, which was supposed to equal one horsepower per cubic inch. This car was so nice that I don’t know how you could ever stand to drive it again. It’s more like a piece of art than a car at this point.

When people think of later Mid-Year Corvettes, fire-breathing big-blocks often come to mind. This stunning Rally Red ’66 leans more toward the luxury side of the Corvette spectrum. No 427 here. This one gets by with a very capable 300-hp 327-c.i. small block. Don’t like breaking a sweat? That’s fine, because power windows and factory air conditioning will keep you calm and dry. You don’t even have to hold the clutch in, because the Powerglide automatic transmission does the shifting for you. The leather interior, aluminum wheels, and side pipes only enhance an already great looking car. This is another one of those cars that was treated to an out-of-this-world restoration. Go ahead and try to find another one this nice with this kind of equipment.

Like most Corvette shows, this one was made up of mostly late-model examples. I love all Corvettes, but I tend to feature the older ones on this blog. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some newer ones worth noting. For example, here’s one of only 500 Corvette pace car replicas made for the 2007 Indianapolis 500. They were painted Atomic Orange, and the graphics were somehow both subtle and bold at the same time. The LS2 V8 under the hood of these pumped out an effortless 400-hp, and these pace cars also came with the Z51 handling package. A stock Corvette had no trouble keeping ahead of the field in 2007. Chevrolet has a long history of providing pace cars for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” and still do to this day.

One thing I still do is take lots of car show pictures. I took 244 of them at the 2019 Kansas City Corvette Association’s Vettes on the Plains show, and you can see them all by clicking this link.


  1. What power plant and transmission does your ?Dad's 61 have? It sure is a beautiful Corvette.


  2. Thanks, Dave. It's a base 283/230/Poweglide. Just a solid, nice running old car.